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Lee makes first round exit

Wildcard entrant Daniel Lee finished fifth in his men’s 50m freestyle qualifying round to become the sixth Sri Lankan to be eliminated from the XX1Xth Olympic Games here in the Chinese capital on Thursday.

Competing in the sixth men’s 50m free style heat this evening, the Monash University under graduate clocked 24.92 seconds to secure only the fifth place. However, his timing was slightly better than his entry timing of 24.99 seconds.

Based on the entry timings, Lee was placed only the seventh out of the eight swimmers who competed in heat six. Lee was in the fourth place close to the halfway mark, but was later overtaken by Swaziland’s Luke Hall (24.41).

Winning the heat Six was Nigerian Yellow Yei Yai who clocked exactly 24 seconds. In the second place was Rodion Develaar (24.21 “C Neth. Antilles), followed by Anas Hamadeh (24.40 “C Jordan), Hall and Lee.

Lee said it was a great experience to swim at Olympics. “It was a memorable experience which would inspire me to do better in the future. I am looking forward to do better,” the 18-year-old Australian based swimmer said.

“I am not happy with my performance today. I should have done better. But I think my timing today is a new Sri Lanka record,” he said.

Lee said his next aim is to break the Indian dominance at the South Asian Games. “I will train hard to face that challenge,” Lee added.

Of the entire 12 first round heats of the men’s 50m freestyle event, European Championship 100m silver medallist Amaury Leveaux of France recorded the best timing. The 23-year-old lad from Belford clocked 21.46 seconds to win the heat 12 with a new Olympic record.

Meanwhile, China’s Zhang Juanjuan broke the South Korea’s 24-year dominance in the women’s Individual archery event, claiming the gold medal with the last arrow of a riveting final against Sung-hyun Park at the Olympic Green Field today.

To win the Olympic title, No. 27 seed Zhang had to beat all of the top three seeded ROK women, including Park, the Individual gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

In the semifinal, Zhang took out the No. 1 ranked archer in the world, Yun Ok-hee, 115-109. Zhang’s score equaled the Olympic mark Park set earlier in the day. In the quarterfinal, she beat Joo Hyung-jung 106-101.

Yun Ok-hee went on to win the bronze medal against Kwon Un- sil of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 109-106.

Though China had big hopes in shooting with the first gold of the Beijing Games for the hosts expected from shooter Du Li, it became a bitter experience for the host nation at the Olympic Shooting Range as Li finished a poor fifth in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

Chastened by her performance in the first event five days ago, Li did not pass up her second chance of a winning a gold medal as she won the women’s 50m rifle three-position event in style.

Li bagged the gold today with a new Olympic record for the final score of 690.3, while her qualification score of 589 equaled the Olympic record. Li

shattered both the Olympic qualification record set by Renata Mauer of Poland at Atlanta in 1996 and the Olympic record for a final score set by Russian Lioubov Galkina at Athens 2004. Following Du in second and third place were Emmons with a final score of 687.7 and Cuba’s Eglis Yaima Cruz with 687.6.

The final started badly for Li when she shot 8.7, the worst single shot of any shooter in the final. Cuba’s Cruz caught up and took the lead with her first shot scoring 10.3. Li quickly regained the lead, scoring an impressive 10.4 on her third shot, while Cruz could only manage 9.3. Cruz’s last taste of the lead was on her fifth shot when Du scored 9.9 and Cruz made 10.5.

Li’s timely 10.8 on her sixth shot set up her victory and 10.8 on her ninth shot secured the gold medal. Emmons fought back to beat Cruz for the silver medal.

Italian Chiara Cainero won the gold medal in the women’s skeet after being tied on 93 hits with Kimberly Rhode of the USA and Christine Brinker of Germany after the completion of the final.

The three shooters were tied after the 21st shot when Cainero missed the target and gave the other two shooters a chance to catch up. All three hit their last four targets to force a shoot-off.


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