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France, Georgia get first Olympic golds in Beijing
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22:15, August 13, 2008

Both French and Georgian wrestlers won their respective nations first Olympic golds in Beijing Olympics Wednesday afternoon.

Both winners wore their national flags to agitate hails from their countrymen who arrived at the wrestling venue for cheering up their national heroes.

Steeve Guenot defeated Kanatbek Begaliev of Kyrgyzstan in the men's 66kg Greco-Roman competition before Manuchar Kvirkelia beat the host wrestler Chang Yongxiang in the men's 74kg class.

Guenot, a subway employee who trained part time, said, "I'm really proud and this is my happiest time in my life to win France the first gold in the Olympics. All my family and friends are here and I think the gold medal is the best gift for them."

Guenot's family were also the happiest because the elder brother Christophe Guenot added a bronze for France in the men's 74kg competition. "There is no secret. Our father taught us the value of hard work," Christophe Guenot said.

France sends a strong Olympic team to Beijing but their medal board lacked the color of gold before the Guenot brothers' feats, with only seven silvers and two bronzes in most time into the fifth day at Beijing Olympics.

Similar to Guenot, Kvirkelia obtained a comfortable victory over his Chinese rival with his artful skills and great experience. The 23-year-old Chang, standing tearful on the victory podium, has continued making feats since his first round when he defeated world champion Yavor Yanakiev of Bulgaria, who finished the bronze in today's competition.

Chang said, "I was so upset not to win China a gold although this is the best result of the men wrestlers in the Olympics."

"He (Kvirkelia) was obviously better than I," Chang said. After Chang's securing a final berth this morning, his coach helped him prepare a lot in a bid to get the gold.

China eventually lost the title to a country that has not yet gotten a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics.

A veteran wrestler who won a world championships bronze medal in 2006, Kvirkelia said, "My country is now in a difficult situation and I'm dedicating this gold to the Georgian people who will feel better."

Both Armen Vardanyan of Ukrain and Mikhail Siamionau of Belarus won the bronze medals in the men's 66kg class. Together with Frenchman Guenot, Bulgarian Yanakiev got another bronze in the men's 74kg competition.


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