Sat, February 21, 2009

Russia overtakes S Korea to lead Harbin Universiade medal tally

2009-02-21 11:52:01 GMT2009-02-21 19:52:01 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HARBIN, Northeast China, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Of the 10 finals, Russia took four titles, all from the skiing events, to overtake South Korea in the medal tally of the 24th Harbin Winter Universiade on Saturday.

Russian skiers showed their supremacy in biathlon races in Yabuli, some 200km away from Harbin, clinching both individual golds in men's 20km through Artem Gusev of Russia and Anna Kunaeva in the women's 15km race.

Gusev won the race comprising 20-kilometer skiing and four-round rifles shooting at 56 minutes and 53.4 seconds, despite missing five targets with his superior skiing skills.

French Remy Borgeot, who missed only once, finished second with 11.4 seconds adrift while Serhiy Semenov of Ukraine took the bronze medal in 58:31.9 after missing six times.

In women's race, Kunaeva shrugged aside three missed targets to propel herself to victory in 51:46.1. Her compatriot, Nadezhda Chastina, grabbed the silver in 52:28.1 with three penalty minutes.Franziska Hildebrand of Germany finished third in 52:46.8 though only missing once.

Also in Yabuli, Russia continued to dominate cross-country skiing as Egor Sorin and Natalja Iljina piled up both gold medals in the sprints.

Sorin finished first in men's sprint clocking 3 minutes 3.69 seconds and Iljina nailed the women's sprint in a time of thre minutes 34.48 seconds.

Japan's Nobuhito Kashiwavara was overtaken by Sorin at the last gasp, trailing just 0.41 seconds. Sorin's teammate Konstantin Glavatskikh was in third place 1.90 seconds behind.

In the women's sprint, Betlina Gruber of Switzerland was 1.36 seconds behind and Ukraine's Marina Malets Lisogor in third 1.69 seconds backwards.

Russia pronounced its dominance on cross-country by winning all four disciplines on offer by now. On Friday, Russia swept top places in both men's and women's freestyle events of cross-country here.

On Saturday, China pocketed a surprising first gold of speed skating in the women's 3,000 meters but missed an expected top podium finish in the men's 100 meters sprint in Harbin.

Fu Chunyan, who's competing her first major international event on senior level, clocked her personal best of four minutes and 15.73 seconds to become the first Universiade champion of China in the women's 3,000m.

Her compatriot Dong Feifei stepped on the podium after finishing second with a time of 4:16.33, while Poland's Luiza Zlotkowska settled for the bronze on 4:18.03.

The women's 1-2 finish on podium has been the best result ever in the discipline for China, which only pocketed a bronze medal by Ren Hui two years ago in Turin.

In the men's sprint, pre-tournament favorite Yu Fengtong of China finished with a disappointing third place on 10.05 seconds after stumbling in the final, which was won by South Korea's Lee Kang Seok with a time of 9.61, while Zhang Yaolin of China sit the second at 9.84.

In Maoershan, another venue of the Universiade, French skier Claire Chapotot, the Euro Cup winner in Austria last month, managed to clinch women's snowboard cross, the first gold medal of the event.

The 19-year-old winner looked nearly beaten approaching the final gate but found an extra burst of pace on her board to sneak past the Czech favorite Klara Koukalova.

Klara finished second and Italy's Raffaella Brutto grabbed the bronze medal.

On men's side, Austria's skier Andreas Lausegger raced to victory with a late lighting spurt, beating Polish Marcin Bocian and Swiss Clemens Bolli to second and third.

In the first two sky jumping finals in Yabuli, South Korea Kim Hyun-Ki scored 261 points to win the men's K90 gold medal, beating Marcin Bachleda of Poland and Bastian Kaltenboeck of Austria to second and third.

The women's K 90 ski jumping was won by Misaki Shigeno of Japan with 198.5 points, her teammate Natsuka Sawaya finished second, and Chinese Li Zhenhuan got the bronze.

After three-day finals, Russia led the medal table with six gold, three silver and five bronze, South Korea dropped to second (6-1-2)and China stood third (3-8-6).

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