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Day 3 roundup: China wins 1st medal, Dutch dominate speed skating

English.news.cn   2014-02-11 05:48:39

SOCHI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- China claimed its first medal at the Sochi Olympics on Monday in the men's 1,500m short track speed skating while a second clean sweep in speed skating in three days helped the Netherlands secure the second place on the medal table.

Canada tops the medal standings with three golds, three silvers and one bronzes, followed by the Netherlands with a 3-2-2 record.

Han Tianyu gave China their first medal after clocking two minutes and 15.055 seconds, trailing eventual champion and world No. 1 Chales Hamelin of Canada by 0.70 seconds.

"Since it's my first Olympic Winter Games, I'm a little bit nervous and didn't think very much," said Han. "I had never thought I could make it to the finals, let alone stand on the podium. I took every round as my final, and tried my best to compete."

The 17-year-old, ranked 11th after the 2013-2014 season, equaled the best ever result by a Chinese men's short tracker at the Olympics. His teammate Chen Dequan, 18, finished fifth in 2:15.626.

Victor An, who collected the men's 1,000m, 1,500m and 5,000 relay titles for South Korea at the Turin Winter Games in 2006 and now represents Russia in Sochi, had to settle for a bronze in 2:15.062.

Hamelin, 29, won his third career Olympic title in short track and equaled Marc Gagnon's Canadian record of three golds in this sport.

Han and Chen, both from northeast China's Liaoning province, surprisingly reached the final, with Han beating An by 0.142 seconds in the semis.

But another two Chinese youngsters - Mu Zhongsheng and Bai Qiuming, finished in 30th and 35th respectively in the men's 500 meters speed skating race, which was clean swept by the Netherlands through Michel Mulder, Jan Smeekkens and Michel's twin brother Ronald Mulder.

"We knew that it would be a historical moment for us and the Dutch speed skating team," Michel Mulder said.

The Netherlands has dominated the event in the first three day's competitions, finishing 1-2-3 in the men's 5,000 meters and winning the gold in the women's 3,000.

France took its first gold when Martin Fourcade won the biathlon pursuit but Norwegian legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen narrowly missed out on an winter Games medals record.

Fourcade overcame a sixth place start and 14-second deficit to win. His victory also continues a French tradition in the event. A Frenchman has won gold in the pursuit at the past three Olympic Winter Games and a male French biathlete has also won a medal in the event on each of the four occasions it has contested.

"On the skis I was like a boxer, it was a good fight," Fourcade said after the race. "I felt confident. I felt unbeatable."

Bjoerndalen of Norway, who equalled the 12 Olympic medals record by compatriot Bjoern Daehlie last Saturday, finished with a fourth place.

The win in men's 10km sprint on Saturday gave Bjoerndalen a slight head start on the rest of the field. But the 40-year-old Norwegian, who is competing in his sixth Olympic Games, missed shots and he was forced to ski 150-meter penalty loops and fall behind the lead group.

Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic took the silver while Fourcade's teammate Jean Guillaume Beatrix finished with bronze.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, 29, defended her super-combined gold with a total time of two minutes 34.62 seconds after one downhill and one slalom run.

Canada's Alex Bilodeau also retained his title in the men's moguls. The 26-year-old scored 26.31 points for the win, followed by compatriot Mikael Kingsbury and Russia's Alexandr Smyshlyaev.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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