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Gong wins China's first gold medal, surprise victories for Warholm and Francis

(Xinhua)    09:21, August 10, 2017

Gong Lijiao of China celebrates after winning women's shot put final at the World Athletics Championships in London, August 9, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

LONDON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Gong Lijiao finally earned her first major global title as she took the women's shot put gold medal at the World Athletics Championships here on Wednesday.

It was also China's first gold after five days into the London worlds, lifting the world's most popoulous country to fourth on the medal standings with one gold, two silvers and one bronze.

The 28-year-old, who won silver two years ago and bronze in 2009 and 2013, won the title with a throw of 19.94m, Anita Marton of Hungary claimed silver with a throw of 19.49m, and reigning Olympic champion Michelle Carter of the United States walked away with bronze in 19.14m.

Gong, fourth placer at the 2016 Olympic Games, was in tears after the win.

Gong Lijiao of China competes during the Women's Shot Put Final on Day 6 of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at London Stadium in London, Britain, on Aug. 9, 2017. Gong Lijiao claimed the title with 19.94 meters. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

"It is 26 years since China won a shot put gold medal, so it's a very special moment for me," she said.

"My next goal is, of course, the Tokyo Olympics. My memories of London 2012 are mixed because I was third originally, then I was moved to second later. I didn't like the way that happened. So I am glad to show all the hard work I've done in the past with this gold medal."

Gong won bronze and silver respectively in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, but neither time did she get on the podium because both were upgrades after women ahead of her were disqualified for doping offences.

In the day's other finals, two youngsters upset verterans to win the gold medals.

Norway's Karsten Warholm, 21, scored a surprise victory in the men's 400 meters hurdles in 48.35 seconds. Turkey's Yasmani Copello, the European champion and Oympic bronze winner last year, took silver in 48.49 and former twice world champion Kerron Clement of the United States won bronze in 48.52.

"I truly don't believe it," said Warholm. "I've worked so hard for this but I don't know what I have done. This is an amazing feeling."

"I'm world champion, that's crazy. A lot of hard work and dedication has got me here so thank you to my coach for getting me in a position to challenge for a world title.

"I got out well and managed to hold it really well. I'm so proud of my performance. I hope people back in Norway are as happy as I am."

Warholm, a former European junior decathlon silver medalist two years ago, has found that 400m hurdles is his event since this season, winning two Diamond League titles in Oslo and Stockholm.

In the women's 400m final, American Phyllis Francis won her first major individual title after beating star compatriot Allyson Felix.

The 25-year-old clocked a personal best of 49.92 seconds for the gold. Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain took silver in 50.06 and Felix, who had won nine World Championship gold medals, finished third in 50.08.

Francis, who won the relay gold in last year's Rio Olympics, was surprised to win the gold.

"It is amazing," she said. "I am so excited. it is such an amazing feeling. Being world champion sounds pretty cool. This win has not hit me yet, but I guess tomorrow when I will wake up.

"At the finish line I was surprised, I thought I was second or third, but then they told me 'you are first'. That is crazy."

Felix, 31, also a winner of six Olympic golds, managed to equal the rocord of 14 World Championship medals shared by fellow sprinters Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey.

 

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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