|London Olympics: US leads gold medal race, China left behind|
04 August 2012
London: United States for the first time in London Olympics 2012 have climbed over China in gold medals race to attain the first position. Wins for China in badminton and trampolining were outdone by an American gold rush in the pool.
The six-day leaders, who also ruled the roost at Beijing 2008, were just one gold behind the United States — 20 to 21 — but with athletics, a rich mine for American medals, only just under way.
China will look to their divers, badminton players and table tennis stars to maintain their flow of medals.
On Friday, world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, who are romantically involved, won the badminton mixed doubles 21-11, 21-17 against team-mates Xu Chen and Ma Jin.
It began what China hope will be a sweep of all five badminton titles — a bid which was rocked when top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were among eight players kicked out of the women’s doubles for playing to lose.
Men’s champion Lin Dan set up a dream final with great rival Lee Chong Wei, who is recovering fast from a serious ankle injury, in what will help organisers move on from the ‘throwing’ scandal.
Malaysia’s Lee downed fourth seed Chen Long 21-13, 21-14, and Lin beat South Korea’s Lee Hyun-Il 21-12, 21-10 to set up a rematch of the 2008 final — and last year’s gripping world title match, won by Lin at Wembley Arena.
“I was not the favourite to win this match,” said top seed Lee, who has battled back to fitness with intense rehab and stem-cell treatment.
“This is not Lee Chong Wei at his best. But I was determined to prove a lot of people wrong.”
China stayed on course for the unprecedented feat of winning all eight diving titles when Wu Minxia, seeking a record-equalling sixth Olympic medal, led the preliminary round of the women’s 3m springboard.
Dong Dong won the men’s trampoline, usurping the title of Chinese team-mate Lu Chunlong, who is also world champion in the discipline and took bronze.
On Saturday, the last evening of pool action, China can bet the house on a gold medal for world champion and world record-holder Sun Yang in the 1500m. Sun, with the 400m title in the bag, topped qualifying with 14min 43.25sec.
It will help counter a flood of US titles in the pool including wins for Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and 15-year-old Katie Ledecky on Friday.
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