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Swimmer Du gifts China 1st gold at Beijing Paralympics
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08:52, September 08, 2008


Du Jianping wins first gold for China in the S3 final of the men's 100m freestyle of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 7, 2008.

China's Du Jianping won the men's 100m freestyle at S3 class with a new world record here on Sunday to clinch the first gold for the hosts at the Beijing Paralympic Games.

The 25-year-old Du, who set a new Paralympic record in the morning's heat at 1 minute and 42.95 seconds, took the winning time further down to 1:35.21 in the finals, shaving 5.87 seconds of the former world mark.


Du Jianping (L) of China gestures after winning the S3 final of the men's 100m freestyle of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 7, 2008. Du set a new world record and won the gold medal in the event with 1 minute 35.21 seconds, which was also the first gold medal of the paralympic delegation of China.(Xinhua/Ding Xu)


"I only won a silver last time, missing the gold, which I had wanted badly for three years. This time I competed on the home ground and it made me feel more excited and special," said the winner.

Du led the lane throughout the first lap but met strong challenge from Dmytro Vynohradets' comeback.

The Ukrainian splashed powerfully after the turn and narrowed the gap to about half a body length in the final 25 meters. But Du made a desperate sprint to keep the minor lead and touched the wall first with a 0.44 winning margin.


Du Jianping of China swims during the S3 final of men's 100m freestyle of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 7, 2008. Du set a new world record and won the gold medal in the event with 1 minute 35.21 seconds, which was also the first gold medal of the paralympic delegation of China.(Xinhua/Ding Xu)

"I was in my best shape today. I held my breath all the time and I thought it worthwhile even if I got choked," added Du. His compatriot Li Hanhua grabbed the bronze in 1:44.22.

Du won two golds in 50m backstroke and 150m medley events at Athens Paralympics. He will take part in 200m and 50m freestyle on Tuesday and Saturday respectively, aiming to propel the hosts to consolidate the dominant role in the pool.

In Athens, China finished atop of the swimming medals table with 19 golds.

Beijing Paralympic swimming competitions have attracted 560 athletes in 81 men's and 59 women's events. The nine-day contest, held at the National Aquatics Centre "Water Cube", runs from September 7 to 15.

Source: Xinhua

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