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Sports

Chinese bets break ice

Agence France-Presse
Chinese bets break ice
Gold medal winner Yang Qian of China on the podium after winning the women’s 10m air rifle final.
AFP

TOKYO – China claimed the first two gold medals of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday as cyclist Richard Carapaz became just the second competitor in Ecuador’s history to top the podium, with victory in the road race.

As the troubled build-up to the pandemic-postponed Games gave way to the first full day of sporting competition, China claimed victories in shooting and weightlifting.

Yang Qian sparked the mini gold rush in the 10-meter air rifle competition, pipping Russia’s Anastasiia Galashina with a dramatic last-shot victory.

Galashina had looked poised to claim the title heading into the last shot, but stumbled with 8.9 on her final effort to allow Yang to seal victory.

“It’s the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party,” she said. “I’m so happy that this golden medal is a gift to my country. I’m so proud.”

There was more joy for China, with Hou Zhihui taking gold in the women’s 49kg weightlifting event with an Olympic record total of 210 kilograms.

In cycling’s gruelling road race, 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Carapaz outfoxed a heavyweight field led by Slovenia’s Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar.

It was only Ecuador’s second gold at the Olympics after Jefferson Perez’s victory in the 50km race walk at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

South Korea got off the mark by taking gold in the mixed team archery competition.

While Japanese have been barred from Olympic venues due to COVID-19 restrictions, the road race was a rare chance for the host nation’s fans to glimpse the sporting action.

Tens of thousands of cheering spectators lined the route of the brutal 234km (145-mile) course to watch as Carapaz prevailed in a thrilling tactical battle.

CHINA TOKYO OLYMPICS
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