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Roundup: China wins two golds on day one of Paralympic athletics
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09:10, September 09, 2008

Host China pocketed two gold medals while the remaining eight were split by diverse countries on the first day of the athletics competition of the Beijing Paralympic Games.

Monday's action saw China's Yao Juan, the gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, regain her title in the women's javelin - F42-46 (ambulant athletes with different levels of amputations and other disabilities).

The 24-year-old had the crowd cheering from the start, with an F44 world record of 40.29 meters, on her opening throw. She bettered her world record on her third attempt with 40.34 meters, and again on her fourth throw, with 40.51.

Bronze medallist at the Athens Paralympics, Andrea Hegen from Germany, secured a silver medal and broke the F46 world record, with her second throw of 39.23 meters. Madeleine Hogan of Australia won the bronze.

The Athens gold medallist, Marjaana Vare of Finland, finished ninth with her best throw of 26.63 meters.

"I am very excited. I feel very lucky to compete in front of a home crowd, which motivated me a lot," said Yao, who described her sporting career as a "platform to demonstrate my personal values instead of becoming a burden to our community."

Yao's compatriot Guo Wei added to China's tally with a gold in the men's javelin - F35/36. The 26-year-old also set a new world record with his best throw of 56.07 meters.

Piotrowski Pawei of Poland won the silver, with the bronze going to Nicholas Newman from South Africa.

"This Paralympics is held in my motherland. I want to perform well. I'm very confident of my abilities, so I didn't have much pressure," said Guo,

a triple gold medallist at the Athens Paralympics.

Triple jumper (F12) Osamah Alshanqiti won the first Paralympic gold for Saudi Arabia with a world record-breaking jump of 15.37 meters.

"I am really really happy because I did it on the last jump," said the 32-year-old, who was extremely excited about his performance after defeating Ukraine jumper Ivan Kytsenko, the leader after the first five jumps.

"My whole country will celebrate together with me. The gold is for the whole country, not for myself alone. Today's match definitely gives much confidence for my next event, the long jump," said Osamah.

In men's discus - F55/56 (wheelchair athletes with different levels of spinal cord injuries and amputations), Leonardo Diaz of Cuba won the gold medal. Ali Mohammad Yari from Ireland won the silver and Tanto Campbell from Jamaica took the bronze.

Jackie Christiansen from Denmark won the gold in men's shot put-F44, Diane Roy of Canada was crowned at women's 5,000m-T54, while Eva Kacanu snatched the gold in women's shot put-F54-56.

The remaining three golds in women's long jump-F42, men's discus -F33/34/52 and men's shot put-F32 went to Christine Wolf of Australia, Aigars Apinis of Latvia and Karim Betina of Algeria, respectively.

On winning the gold and setting a new record, Karim Betina said: "I am very happy. China is a very good place for setting a world record. I want to dedicate this gold medal to both the Chinese and Algeria people."

A total of 14 world records were broken in Monday's athletics events.

About a quarter of the over 4,000 athletes at the Beijing Paralympics are competing in track and field, with about 160 athletics golds up for grabs.

Source: Xinhua

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