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Robles after win: Wish Liu was here
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09:12, August 22, 2008

Dayron Robles must have missed Liu Xiang in the 110m hurdles line-up, for no one pushed even closer to his record of 12.87 seconds, let alone try to break it.

This is precisely where the ace Chinese hurdler could have made all the difference to the Cuban Robles and the others on the track yesterday.

(From L) David Oliver of the US, Cuba's Dayron Robles and David Payne of the US compete during the men's 110m hurdles final at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 21, 2008. Robles won the gold medal.(China Daily/Agencies)

Cuba's Dayron Robles (front) celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of David Payne of the US (L) to win the men's 110m hurdles final at the National Stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 21, 2008. Cuba's Dayron Robles won ahead of US athletes David Payne and David Oliver. (China Daily/Agencies)

Athens 2004 winner Liu withdrew from the heats with an injured Achilles tendon, and two-time Olympic silver winner Terrence Trammell was eliminated in the first round.

The brightly lit Bird's Nest turned gloomy for US sprinters yesterday evening as its men's and women's 4X100m relay teams both dropped the baton in the first round of the heats.

The women's team dropped the baton but continued running to finish last in the heats about 20 minutes after disaster struck the men's team, which was anchored by world champion Tyson Gay.

But it was an evening to rejoice for the Chinese, for their men's quartet put up a super show to qualify for the final for the first time.

History was made at the beach volleyball court, too, as the invincible US pair of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won its 108th straight match to clinch the gold. In second and third spots were two Chinese pairs.

The US pair has won every major tournament since the 2003 World Championships. The two lifted their second Olympic crown, beating China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie.

"They're too strong," said Tian later. "We did all we could but they're just too good." It's a feeling many competitors share.

Xue Chen and Zhang Xi won the bronze.

At the Water Cube, China won its seventh gold in as many events, and it is just one win away from making it eight-in-eight. Yesterday, Chen Ruolin won the women's 10m platform.

In the 20km walk, even a heavy downpour could not stop Olga Kaniskina of Russia from shattering the Olympic record to grab the gold in 1:26:31.

Dutch swimmer Maarten van Weijden won the men's 10km open water swimming, which made its debut at the Games along with BMX biking.

Back at the Bird's Nest, Veronica Campbell-Brown scorched the track to win the women's 200m to retain her crown and complete a Jamaican sweep of the four sprint golds. The 26-year-old exploded out of the blocks and ran a career best 21.74 seconds.

The US defended its gold medal in women's soccer last night, beating Brazil 1-0 in extra time.

In women's softball, the Japanese team stunned three-time world champions the US 3-1 to clinch the gold.

Source:China Daily/Agencies

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