Mon, February 23, 2009
Sports

Day-5 Roundup: China steps on top of Harbin Winter Universiade medal table

2009-02-23 16:49:23 GMT2009-02-24 00:49:23 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HARBIN, Northeast China, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to a hat trick feat made by China's short track speed skaters, the hosts stepped on top of the Harbin Universiade's medal table for the first time here on Monday.

The Chinese so far have collected 11 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze medals, while South Korea and Russia ranked second and third with 10 and nine golds respectively.

From the 14 finals of the day, the hosts have all their medals won through the short track and the freestyle skiing.

Among few skiing events that China has announced its superiority, the men's freestyle aerials saw a clean sweep made by the host nation.

The 18-year-old Jia Zongyang collected 239.40 points in two jumps for his first title at international competitions, and Liu Zhongqing and Wu Chao finished second and third with 234.91 and 222.89 respectively.

On the short track, Liu Qiuhong, ranked second in the world, beat her teammate Zhou Yang to lift the trophy in the women's 1,000meters final with 1:31.657 minutes.

Jung Ba Ra of South Korea settled for the bronze on 1:33.164, with 1.485 seconds distant from the second-placed Zhou, winner in the women's 1,500m.

Later in the relays, the Chinese women maintained their strength in a re-scheduled final after Japan retired, clocking 4:18.676 for the 3,000m trophy, while their counterparts won the men's 5,000m relay in 7:00.424.

South Korea has been the only other title winner of the sport on Monday when Lee Seung Hoon won his third gold medal, stealing the limelight in the men's 1,000m by clocking 1:28.064.

As the five-day competitions of short track came to an end, China and South Korea even split the gold medals on offer with five golds each, and the hosts just surpassed their neighbors with two more silvers.

"South Korea is a very strong rival. The competition between China and South Korea will become more fierce in the Vancouver Winter Olympics," said Chinese team leader Wang Chunlu.

"Skaters learned lessons and collected more experience through the Winter Universiade. And the medals here will boost our confidence to get prepared for the Winter Olympics," she added.

Israel was the new comer on the Universiade medal tally on Monday, as its ice dancing pair Alexandra Zaretski and Roman Zaretski claimed an undisputed victory after leading all the way in the compulsory, original and free dance for a winning total of 177.43 points.

The Swiss, who continued to show their domination in Alpine skiing by winning two more golds, marked another fast rise, overtaking Japan to be the fourth on the medal table with four golds, two silver and four bronzes.

Following respective victories in Friday's downhill, Sandro Boner and Tamara Wolf celebrated their second golds Monday morning.

Boner clocked one minute and 24.75 seconds for the victory in the men's Super giant slalom while Wolf finished first in the women's category on 1:27.37.

Also in Yabuli, Japan's Takehiro Nagai, Naoki Kaede and Chota Hatakeyama timed 37 mintues and 21.5 seconds to win the Nordic combined team event, while Austria's David Unterberger edged South Korean Kim Hyun-ki for the men's K125 ski jumping gold.

And cross-country powerhouse Russia continued its golden reap as Sergey Turychev and Valentina Novikova emerged triumphant in the men's and women's pursuit to help their team sweep all six cross-country titles till now.

In Maoershan, Russia's snowboard rider Viktor Kulikov made a splash in the parallel giant slalom course to smash the dominant Austrian's double gold dream at the Harbin Winter Universiade.

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