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China breaks S. Korea's dominance in Olympic archery
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19:59, August 14, 2008

China's Zhang Juanjuan on Thursday broke South Korea's dominance in women's individual archery at Olympics for 24 years, winning China's first ever Olympic archery title.

After brushing aside all three South Koreans in her way to the Olympic victory, two-time Olympian Zhang foiled reigning champion and No. 1 seed Park Sung-Hyun's effort to defend her title with a 110-109 win in the final.

"Today's competition was very hard. I had to to face three South Koreans, all the best in the world," said Zhang.

"But I was ready to challenge them, each of them. The gold is just a reward and encouragement for Chinese involved in the sport of archery," she said. "The honor is not just for me, but for all those related to the sport. Many years' efforts from our team resulted in the gold medal."

In the semifinal, Zhang just defeated world record holder Yun Ok-Hee 115-109. The score of 115 was also an Olympic record tying result.

"To my victory, I think that's for the sake of the cheers from my home crowd," said the new champion. "My confidence and composure also played an important role for that."

Before Zhang's victory over Park, South Korea had never allowed the women's individual gold slip away from them since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The individual silver was not enough to meet South Korea's expectation. "Silver is good, I value my silver. But it would be a lie if I say no regret. Of course, I'm regretful. I need to get better prepared for next time," said Park, who was also in her second Olympics after Athens' double gold medals four years ago.

"Of course, it's the winner always has the say. I do regret of the result. I think I can break those archers before me, but not this time. It's a good experience for me and for other South Korean archers in the future.

"It's Ok not to win. In this way, the newcomers will get less pressurized. Our archers in South Korea will compete in better mental conditions and get better results," added Park.

All three Koreans took over the top three positions in the ranking round and Zhang was only managed a lowly 29th place.

The bronze to Yun was not good enough either. "In the past four years I've been preparing for this. Now, it's over, but bronze fell short of my expectation. For 2012 Olympics in London, I need to win more than bronze medal if I am going there," said Yun.

The victory by Zhang was China's first Olympic gold medal in archery and also the first for a non-South Korean since the Los Angeles Games.

In the team's competition here, South Korea notched up both the men's and women's titles.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 22 7 5 34
2 USA 10 9 14 33
3 South Korea 6 6 1 13
5 Germany 6 1 3 10
4 Australia 5 4 7 16
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