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MEDAL ROUNDUP

Chinese make a splash

Synchronized divers are golden

China won its first two golds yesterday in what is expected to be a rather large haul of diving medals.

Tian Liang and Yang Jinghui took the men's synchronized 10-meter platform title, and Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing won the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard.

While other teams performed better single rounds than the Chinese in both the men's and women's events, diving's superpower -- China won 10 of 24 diving medals at the 2000 Games in Sydney -- was more consistent.

Tian and Yang won with a score of 383.88 points. Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor of Britain took the silver with 371.52 and Australia's reigning world champions Mathew Helm and Robert Newbery repeated their bronze medal from Sydney with 366.84.

Tian had teamed with Jia Hu to win the silver in Sydney.

"I lost this gold medal four years ago, so today I feel all the hard work the past four years has paid off," Tian said.

Hitting the water at about 34 miles per hour from the highest platform, the Chinese were first or second in each of their five dives, while the British pair started out with a fourth and a sixth before moving into contention.

After the Chinese pair garnered a solid, if unspectacular, 91.80 with their final dive (a back 3 1/2 somersault pike), Waterfield and Taylor needed 102.42 points (a 9.0 average) in the final dive of the night to win. As soon as the Brits left the platform, however, it was clear that their timing was off in a back 2 1/2 somersault 2 1/2 twists pike, and they managed only 90.06 points.

Fencing The top US saber fencers got knocked out yesterday in the round of 16.

Keeth Smart, who last year became the first American fencer to be ranked No. 1 in the world, stumbled early against Aldo Montano of Italy and lost, 15-7. Montano scored the first 5 points of the bout, and though Smart pulled within 1, he struggled with Montano's attacks and the quick pace of the referee.

"I guess I was a little too excited," said Smart, who won his first-round bout against Gael Touya of France. "I was trying to go too fast."

Ivan Lee, who like Smart is from New York, defeated Gianpiero Pastore of Italy, 15-9, in the first round, but then had to face four-time gold medalist Stanislav Pozdniakov. The Russian dominated, taking 12 of the first 16 points en route to a 15-9 victory.

Jason Rogers of Los Angeles lost, 15-3, in the first round to Luigi Tarantino of Italy.

Montano rallied to defeat Zsolt Nemcsik of Hungary, 15-14, for the gold. Vladislav Tretiak of Ukraine defeated Dmitri Lapkes of Belarus for the bronze.

Weightlifting Turkey's Nurcan Taylan pulled off a huge surprise in the opening event of weightlifting at Nikaia, Greece, turning a world-record lift into an upset of heavily favored Li Zhuo of China in the 105 1/2-pound (48kg) weight class.

The loss was a stunning start for China's women's weightlifting powerhouse, whose assistant coach had predicted a sweep of all four events. China was 4 for 4 in the sport's debut in Sydney.

Defending gold medalist Tara Cunningham of the US wasn't a factor, dropping the bar on her left leg on her second lift en route to finishing 11th of 14. Thailand's Aree Wiratthaworn won the bronze.

Taylan, who moved down from the 117-pound class following the European championships in April, broke Li's 2003 world snatch record of 205 1/2 pounds by slightly fewer than 9 pounds.

Taylan followed that with a lift of 248 pounds in the clean and jerk. That forced Li to twice attempt record lifts of 264 1/2 pounds.

She failed both times, and the gold went to Taylan, who was third behind China's Wang Mingjuan and Wiratthaworn in the world championships in November.

Judo Tadahiro Nomura of Japan won the gold medal in men's 60kg judo for the third straight Olympics. Teammate Ryoko Tani won her second straight gold in the women's 48kg class.

Nomura beat Nestor Khergiani of Georgia. Choi Min-ho of South Korea and Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar of Mongolia shared the bronze.

Tani defeated France's Frederique Jossinet.

The 48kg bronze medals went to Julia Matijass of Germany and Feng Gao of China.

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