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Wu and Gao paddle to make history for China
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11:27, August 17, 2008

Chinese rower Wu You and Gao Yulan put their names in the history of Chinese rowing as they won the silver medal in women's pair here on Saturday, the very first Olympic medal in this event for China.

The two-time Wold Cup winners in 2008 were regarded as hot favorites for the title but they turned out an unexpected third finish in the heats, failing to enter the final A directly. The pair made it up by finishing first in the repechage en route to the final A.

"We had a poor performance in the heats because we were not mentally well prepared for the Games. We had hoped to take the direct final A berth but we didn't row well,"said Wu.

After a poor start, the duo began to adjust themselves thanks to coach's advice.

"In today's race, we were a little bit reserved and too loose in the last part of the race,"said Wu. "And this made us fall behind by a big margin, which is too hard to catch up."

"It wasn't expected that we'd get a medal because the Olympics is such a huge event. We're very honored to take the silver. The Romanians are a very experienced crew and they've already been to two Olympics." added Gao.

The 26-year-old Gao took up rowing in Jiangxi Province, south of China, in 1999, and before that she used to be engaged in athletics specializing in shot put.

In 2003, Gao won women's double sculls champion at the National Championships and in 2004 National Champs, she took a silver and a gold respectively in women's quadruple sculls and double sculls.

Wu, whose first name "You" means "excellence", took up athletics when she was in junior high school.

Though a native of Liaoning Province in north China, Wu moved to Jiangxi in 1998 because she could get more exposure in Jiangxi. She took a long time to accustom to the new place.

"I should thank my family members. Without their support, I can not enjoy such a moment,"said Wu, who revealed that before the race she received a call from her brother, telling her to keep mentally strong.

Wu had a regret over not getting the gold but she really respected the winners as "they have much more experience".

"In the next Olympics, we will surely charge for a gold," added she.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 27 13 9 49
2 USA 17 18 22 57
3 Germany 9 5 5 19
4 Australia 8 10 11 29
5 South Korea 7 9 4 20
6 Japan 7 5 6 18
7 England 7 3 7 17
8 Italy 6 5 5 16
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