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China's shot putter Gong Lijiao wins her first Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-08-01 10:44
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China's Gong Lijiao competes in women's shot put at Tokyo Olympics on Aug 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's Gong Lijiao dominated in women's shot put at Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, winning her first Olympic gold medal.

The victory marked China's first Olympic gold in field events.

Raven Saunders of the United States and Valerie Adams of New Zealand took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Gong's teammates Song Jiayuan and Gao Yang ranked 5th and 10th respectively.

The four-time Olympian set her personal best twice in the final, throwing 20.53 meters in the fifth round and 20.58m in her sixth attempt.

"I have waited this moment for too long. I have imagined this scenario countless times but I am still extremely excited when I am actually feeling it today," said Gong after the competition.

Gong came into the competition as a favorite and took the lead from the beginning with 19.95m in the first attempt, a mark that none of her opponents came even close throughout the competition.

Gong extended her lead in the third attempt with 19.98 meters.

The 32-year-old started to unleash her full power in the fifth attempt when she achieved a personal best of 20.53 meters. She let out a roar after the result came out and pointed to the Chinese national flag on her jersey in front of the camera.

"My first attempt was already enough to win the champion, but only feel assured that the champion was mine after I threw 20.53 meters in the fifth attempt," she said, "I felt a little tense in my first 3 attempts and was only able to relax in the last three."

Gong went on to renew her personal best even further to 20.58 meters in the final put.

"My goal is to go beyond 21m, it's a little pity that I failed to achieve that. But this champion is already best proof of what I can do," she said.

Raven Saunders of the United States and Valerie Adams of New Zealand took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Gong's teammates Song Jiayuan and Gao Yang ranked 5th and 10th respectively.

Adams, as a two-time long Olympic champion and a long rival, expressed her regard for Gong's champion performance.

"I have competed against Lijiao for many many games, she's a great competitor," Adams told a press conference after the competition. "I think we are competitors but also friends. I also have a lot of respect for Lijiao, and today she has done an amazing performance and has done China proud."

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