Five world records tumble; Phelps wins again

Beijing, August 11:

Five world records fell today at the Water Cube, with Michael Phelps winning his second gold of the Beijing Olympics.

India won their first-ever individual Olympic gold, China their second straight diving medal and the games were hit by their first doping case. Phelps and his teammates set a world mark in winning the 4x100 freestyle relay, barely beating France in 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds. The US team shattered the world record of 3:12.23 they set in Sunday’s preliminaries. Phelps shattered the 400 individual medley world record to win his first gold on Sunday.

In the first leg of the race, Eamon Sullivan of Australia broke the individual 100 world record in 47.24, beating the previous mark of 47.50.

Kosuke Kitajima of Japan defended his 100-meter breaststroke Olympic title in a record time of 58.91 seconds, and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe shaved two-tenths of a second off the 100-meter backstroke record to win her semi-final in 58.77. Federica Pellegrini of Italy won her 200-meter freestyle heat in a world record 1:55.45, bettering the March 2007 mark of 1:55.52 set by Laure Manadou of France.

Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno was ousted from the games after testing positive for EPO, a blood-boosting hormone that enhances endurance. Moreno is the first athlete caught under the IOC’s Beijing drug-testing program, which includes a record 4,500 doping controls.

In tennis, Wimbledon and French Open champion Rafael Nadal beat Potito Starace of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in his debut in Olympic singles.

Federer also won, beating Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-4, 6-2, while sisters Serena and Venus Williams advanced to the next round.

Libby Trickett captured her first Olympic gold in the women’s 100 butterfly in 56.73 seconds, just 0.12 off the world record, and Britain’s Rebecca Adlington overhauled Katie Hoff of the United States in the final meters to win the 400 freestyle in 4:03.22.

In diving, Lin Yue and Huo Liang of China won the men’s 10-meter synchronized title. The pair led throughout, taking gold with a mark of 468.18 points. In shooting, Satu Makela-Nummela of Finland won the gold in women’s trap, hitting 21 targets in the finals and earning a final score of 91 to set an Olympic record.

Giulia Quintavalle of Italy won her country’s first judo gold in the women’s 57kg division, and Elnur Mammadli of Azerbaijan stunned world champion Wang Ki-chun of South Korea to take the men’s 73-kilogram title.

In fencing, Maria Valentina Vezzali of Italy won the women’s foil, while Zhang Xiangxiang of China grabbed the Olympic title in the men’s 62-kilogram division to win the host country’s fourth weightlifting gold in Beijing.

India celebrate first ever individual Olympic gold

NEW DELHI: India celebrated their first ever individual Olympic gold medallist today, offering the shooter the accolades of a nation desperate for Olympic glory, lots of cash and a free lifetime pass to ride the railways.

Abhinav Bindra won gold in the 10-meter air rifle, ending decades of Olympic misery for India.

Television news channels were giddy in their coverage, showing footage of Bindra receiving his medal and the raising of the Indian flag on a continuos loop, interrupted only by interviews

with his parents from their home in northern India.

Praise poured in from India’s president and prime minister who hailed his “golden performance.” It seemed almost everyone wanted to be associated with him. India’s Madhya Pradesh state announced a prize of $11,900 for Bindra, while the state of Maharashtra awarded him $23,800. The state of Bihar said it would name a stadium after him. His home state of Punjab awarded him $238,000.

Meanwhile India’s Railway Minister Lalu Prasad announced Bindra would get a gold pass to go along with his gold medal — letting him and a companion ride the railways (in the first class, air conditioned compartments) free for the rest of his life.

Bindra’s gold medal ended a long drought for India which has never won an individual event before and last won a team gold at the 1980 Moscow Games in men’s field hockey, a sport in which they once dominated but did not even qualify for at Beijing. India’s powerful cricket board also announced a cash prize of $60,000 for Bindra. — AP