Phelps continues run to record gold

Beijing, August 15:

The sun made a rare appearance at the Beijing Olympics on Friday, a day when it appeared nothing could rain on Michael Phelps’ parade to a record gold medal haul.

Spectators donned sunglasses in the Water Cube to watch Phelps make it 6-for-6, winning another gold medal and closing in on Mark Spitz with another world record. Phelps dominated right from the start of the 200-metre individual medley and won in 1 minute, 54.23 seconds. He knocked off his own mark of 1:54.80 set at last month’s US trials, his sixth world record of the Games.

Phelps is already the most successful athlete in Olympic history with 12 career golds, but his sights are on eight at the Beijing Games. He is just one gold away from tying Spitz’s record of seven golds at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Phelps returned right after the medal ceremony for the 100m butterfly semi-finals, where he qualified second-fastest and set himself to tie Spitz’s total in the final on Saturday. He could break the record if the heavily favored US win the 4x100-metre medley relay on Sunday.

Rebecca Soni of the US set a world record in the 200m breaststroke. Leisel Jones of Australia was out front over the first 100m, but Soni came on strong at the end, finishing a full body length ahead of the Australian in 2:20.22 to beat Jones’ mark of 2:20.54.

Nastia Liukin edged US teammate Shawn Johnson for the all-around gold in women’s gymnastics.

Athletics cranked up at the Bird’s Nest, with some pretty heady qualifying races — the men’s 100 metres. Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell remained on course for an epic three-way battle in track’s marquee Olympic event, all easily advancing into the 100m semi-finals.

Tirunesh Dibaba picked up her first Olympic gold, winning the 10,000m in a competition record 29:54.66. In the other final, Poland’s Tomasz Majewski won the men’s shot put.

Britain beat France for gold in the men’s cycling team sprint, avenging three straight losses at the world championships. Defending Olympic champions Germany won bronze medal.

China’s Tong Wen came through with a big throw in the closing seconds to defeat Maki Tsukada of Japan, winning the women’s over 78-kg gold on the final day of the judo competition. Satoshi Ishii won Japan’s fourth gold medal in judo in men’s over 100-kg division.

Pavol and Peter Hochschorner finished first in double canoe slalom, making it three straight Olympics that the brothers from Slovakia have won gold. Elena Kaliska of Slovakia won the women’s single kayak slalom by nearly 15 seconds, successfully defending her gold.

The French trio of Jerome Jeannet, Fabrice Jeannet and Ulrich Robeiri won the gold medal bout in men’s epee fencing.

Lu Yong won China’s eighth weightlifting gold medal in dramatic fashion, tying the world record set moments earlier by the silver medallist but taking the 85-kg title because of his lower body weight.

Cao Lei of China earlier smashed three Olympic records in the women’s 75-kg division.

Du Jing and Yu Yang won China’s first gold in badminton, beating South Korea’s Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Kyung-won in the women’s doubles final. The second-seeded Du and Yu overpowered their opponents on their way to a 21-15, 21-13 win. Wei Yili and Zhang Yawen of China took the bronze with a 21-17, 21-10 win over Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna of Japan.