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Xian takes 5th Olympic gold for China
Updated: 2004-08-15 23:30

Chinese female judoka Xian Dongmei claimed the under 52kg title on Sunday, beating Japanese Yuki Yokosawa in less than one minute in the final.

China's Xian Dongmei grapples with Yokosawa Yuki, from Japan, during their judo women's half-light (-52kg) final match in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games August 15, 2004. Xian defeated Yokosawa to win the fifth gold medal for China. [newsphoto]

Xian, 29, gold medalist of both France and Hamburg Super A Tournaments in 2004, won the final by pressing Yokosawa, 24, the bronze medalist of the 2003 Osaka world championships, to mat for more than 25 seconds.

The smiling Xian told Xinhua after the duel,"I am too excited as this is the first time for me to take an Olympic gold medal."

"And this may be the last gold medal for me in world top-level judo competitions as I am nearly 30 years old now," she said.

It was the first time for Xian to compete in Olympic Games. She missed the Atlanta and Sydney Games for injuries on left knee.

Xian entered the final by thrashing 22-year-old Annabelle Euranie from France, who was sliver medalist at 2003 Osaka world championships, in three minutes with Ippon.

"I can not sleep tonight and I will give my heartfelt thanks to my husband who supports me all the time," Xian said.

Fu Guoyi, Xian's coach, said," Before coming to Athens, the Chinese judo team set the target of at least one gold. And Xian's triumph today will greatly encourage other Chinese judokas to get more medals."

Ilse Heylen of Belgium, who came from repechage, beat Euranie to take the bronze shared by Amarilis Savon of Cuba, who lost to Yokosawa in the semi-finals but defeated another judoka from repechage.

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