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Roundup: Host and top favorites all win at Beijing Olympic women's handball
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08:21, August 14, 2008

Host China and top favorites all snatched a victory at Beijing Olympic women's handball event in Beijing on Wednesday.

After conceding two straight defeats, host China finally celebrated their first win in Beijing, with the women's squad trounced Angola 32-24.

Center back Wang Shasha's goal gave China the first lead six minute into the game, after the young team conquered the tension in front of an enthusiastic local crowds. Grabbing the advantage firmly in hand, China ended the first half 14-12 and kept on extending the margin after the break.

"We first adopted a more steady defending system at the beginning. But as the game went on, we found the opponent had several mis-directed passes, which we could make good use of," said Chinese coach Kang Jae Won.

"We added more aggression in our defence, intercepted many passes and scored from fast counter-attacks," added Kang, who is a former South Korean handballer and won the silver in the 1988 Seoul Games.

"This is our first victory in our group play, and it will boost our morale and confidence. We will prepare well for the next game," said Wang Shasha, who scored six goals for China today.

China will play against Kazakhstan, silver medalist in 2006 Asian Games, in the next match. And they need to snatch another win to enter the final eight.

"Kazakhstan is a strong team. Their players are tough and powerful. But we have no other choice, we have to defeat them," said Kang.

Although encountering great pressure from Brazil in the first half, three times world titlist Russia outclassed the 14th placer in 2007 World Championship 28-19, thanks to center back Irina Poltoratskaya who scored five goals to lead the team's 16-9 surge in the second half.

When asked why Russia appeared like a different team in the second half, Trefilov raised another question instead of giving the answer. "Don't you know women are mysterious? I have fourteen women in my squad and their performance is always unpredictable."

With their Olympic journey in Beijing troubled with inconsistency in performance, the Russian side did prove their coach's words. In their opening game against South Korea, Russia enjoyed a comfortable nine points lead midway in the second half, but suffered a nightmare in the final quarter of the game, with all the advantage chipped away and both sides tying 29-29 in the end.

South Korea, silver medalist at Athens Games, eased past Sweden 31-23. Although having studied South Korea's previous game against Germany, Sweden still could not get used to their fast-paced rhythm. After an early resistance at the beginning of the match, Sweden followed Germany' suit to meet Waterloo.

European champion Norway also grabbed an easy win by overwhelming Kazakhstan 35-19, with all Norwegian players but for the two goalies signing their name on the scoring list.

Right winger Ramona Maier scored 11 goals to help Romania beat France 34-26, while Anita Gorbicz led Hungary with nine points to fight back Germany 25-24.


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1 China 17 5 5 27
2 USA 10 8 11 29
3 South Korea 6 6 1 13
5 Germany 6 1 2 9
4 Italy 4 4 3 11
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