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Mayumi makes unfortunate first round exit

Sri Lanka swimmer Mayumi Raheem made an unfortunate first round exit in women’s 100m breast stroke on day three of the XX1Xth Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Centre on Sunday.

Competing in lane three of her women’s 100m breast stroke qualifying round heat two, the 16-year-old South Asian Games triple gold medallist returned a timing of one minute, 15.33 seconds. She finished fourth behind Yeketerina Sadovnik (1:11.14 – Kazakhstan), Veleria Silva (1:11.64 – Peru) and Danielle Beaubrun (1:12.85 – St. Lucia).

Singapore-based Raheem who has to survive last minute local tussle to get the wildcard slot offered for Sri Lanka, was far below her brilliant best and finished 4.19 seconds after the Kazakhstan winner.

Out of all seven women’s 100m breast stroke heats, Australian Leisel Jones, who won the heat seven, had the best timing of 1:05.64. The world record holder’s feat accounted for a new Olympic record, erasing the previous mark of 1:06.64 by China’s Xuejuan Luo in Athens four years ago.

Yuliya Efimova of Russia was also faster than Luo’s record, touching in 1:06.08. However, her would-be Olympic record was only second best of the night. Suzaan van Biljon of South Africa finished third, almost two seconds behind the top two.

The semi finals for the event will be worked off on Monday. Raheem said the expectations were too high and that she was unable to come out with her usual rhythm.

“The things did not go well and was unfortunate not to register my personal best. Nevertheless, this was a good experience for me in the big league. I consider this as a stepping stone for the international arena. I am still young and would plan my future with this unforgettable experience,” a determined Lankan swimmer said.

World record by Rice

Earlier in the day, Australian Stephanie Rice bettered the world record by 1.67 seconds to win the gold medal in the final of the Women’s 400m Individual Medley. She returned a timing of four minutes and 29.45 seconds.

Rice took the field out hard and well under world record pace, establishing a good lead. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe had a big Backstroke leg and ate into Rice’s lead but the Australian once again asserted her dominance and swam away from a tiring Coventry in the final freestyle leg to record a comfortable win.

Rice, who holds the 200m Individual Medley world record, also held the world record for this event earlier this year until Hoff broke it in July.Coventry, swimming from lane one, won the silver medal in a time of 4:29.89, also under Katie Hoff’s (USA) old world record time.

Hoff couldn’t match the feats of her teammate Phelps only a few minutes earlier, and finished third for the Bronze medal in a time of 4:31.71. Hoff, world record holder and 2007 world champion, never seemed to get into the race and couldn’t match Rice’s early speed. American Elizabeth Beisel, the fastest qualifier for the final, finished in fourth in a time of 4:34.24.

Rice will now turn her attention to the Women’s 200m Individual Medley in which she is the world record holder and on this form, the hot favorite.

Second medal for ‘golden pair’

China’s ‘Golden Pair’ Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia claimed their second consecutive Olympic gold in Synchronized Women’s 3m Springboard with a score of 343.50 on Sunday, August 10, at National Aquatics Center. Russians Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova finished second, while Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer of Germany finished third.

Meanwhile, China’s Guo Wenjun won the gold medal in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol in Beijing Shooting Range. Twenty four-year-old Guo was outstanding in the final, shooting a score of 102.3 which took her total score to 492.3 – an Olympic record for the final score.

The silver medal was won by Russian Natalia Paderinaa (489.1 points) and the bronze medal went to Georgian Nino Salukvadze (487.4 points).

In order to secure the gold medal, World No. 1 Guo needed to beat Paderina, who shot an Olympic record 391 in the qualification round. The previous qualification Olympic record was 390, set by Russian Marina Logvinenko at Atlanta 1996.

However, Guo, who equaled the previous Olympic record with 390 in the qualification round, shot incredibly well in the final. Paderina gave her Chinese opponent a helping hand by shooting poorly on her second shot, scoring 8.5.

Eight of Guo’s ten shots were above 10 points, with the highest score, 10.8, coming on her ninth shot. Paderina’s performance flailed and she shot below 10 points on her last three shots.

Salukvadze comfortably won the bronze over Belarusian Viktoria Chaika, who

shot a total of 482.0 points. With 387 in the qualification round, Mongolia’s Munkzul Tsogbadrah had a great opportunity to win the bronze medal. However, the 27-year-old Mongolian’s game fell apart in the final with a series of poor shots.

Weightlifting gold for Thailand

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand became the new Olympic champion in the 53kg category of Women’s weightlifting with a victorious total lift of 221kg.

Korean Yoon Jin-hee had the best start of the day, lifting 94kg in her first snatch attempt. However, she failed at 97kg with her last two attempts, Nastassia Novikava of Belarus and Jaroenrattanatarakoon followed the same route as they both succeeded at lifting 92kg and 95kg, but stopped short of lifting 97kg.

With no lifters passing the 100kg mark, the possibility of a new Olympic mark for total weight was small. In the clean and jerk round, all eyes were on 24-year-old Jaroenrattanatarakoon, who lifted 120kg with her first attempt.

She then went on with a stunning attempt of 126kg, which was easily completed and made her an Olympic record holder in the clean and jerk. Although she failed to raise her record with her third attempt, her stellar performance won a standing ovation from all spectators in the stadium.

In the quest for second, Yoon turned on the heat with a successful first attempt of 116kg. Novikava failed to answer immediately but lifted the same weight with her second attempt.

Yoon’s response was to continue on, lifting 118kg and 119kg with little trouble, finishing with a total weight of 213kg. Although Novikava completed her match with a successful 118kg attempt and tied with Yoon in total weight lifted, she was 0.15kg heavier than Yoon at the pre-Games weigh-in. Thus, Yoon took the silver and Novikava the bronze.

Thailand’s Udomporn Polsak was the champion of this weight class four years ago. Jaroenrattanatarakoon not only retained this title, but also claimed Thailand’s first gold medal in Beijing 2008.

The Czech Republic’s David Kostelecky put in a stellar display to win the gold medal in the Men’s Trap in Beijing today. Kostelecky hit a perfect 25 targets in the final. He had the highest score in the qualification rounds, hitting 121 targets. Italian Giovanni Pellielo won the silver medal, hitting 23 targets in the final and 120 in the qualification rounds.

Dongmei defends Olympic title

Chinese judoka Xian Dongmei defended her Athens 2004 golden title by defeating An Kum-ae of North Korea with a yuko in the final of the women’s 52kg category of the Olympic judo competition . Soraya Haddad of Algeria and Nakamura Misato of Japan won bronze.

In archery, South Korean women set a world and Olympic record on the way to winning the gold medal, continuing their domination and making history by winning their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal at the Olympic Green Archery Field today.

The Korea, led China by two points at the conclusion of the first end and then continued to increase their lead throughout the remainder of the final. Only needing a two to win the gold medal with her final shot, Sung-Hyun Park nailed the 10 ring, a flashback to her final arrow against China which clinched the gold medal at the last Olympic Games in Athens.

The Koreans claimed their place in history with a final score of 224-215. Heavy rain after the semifinals had earlier forced a 30-minute delay before the medal matches could take place.

In the men’s soccer tournament of the Beijing Olympics, Brazil thrashed New Zealand 5-0, Nigeria edged out Japan 2-1 and Argentina beat Australia in a one-nil thriller while Cameroon held Honduras for a nil-all draw.

BEIJING, Sunday

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