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Russia, China Play for Gold in Volleyball

August 27, 2004|From Times Wire Services

Resilient Russia is going to another gold-medal game in women's volleyball, and it will take on China, which ended Cuba's streak of three consecutive Olympic championships.

Hao Yang killed four of her team's last five points in the fifth set and finished with 23 points for the Chinese, whose powerful attack proved too much for Cuba in a 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 23-25, 15-10 victory Thursday night.

On match point, Hao wound up and hit a powerful spike from the left side that bounced off the arms of Liana Mesa Luaces and sailed out of the court.

The Chinese will play for their country's first gold medal in the sport since 1984.

Russia dropped its first two sets and trailed in each of the last three before coming back to defeat Brazil, 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 28-26, 16-14.

Ekaterina Gamova had 32 points to lead the Russians against a frazzled Brazilian team that blew a 24-19 lead in the fourth set and wasted a total of seven match points.

For the third consecutive Summer Games, Brazil, the only unbeaten team in the preliminary round, heads to the third-place match.



U.S. Comes Up Short

Frenchman Babak Amir Tahmasseb edged U.S. kayaker Rami Zur at the finish line, ending the American team's best hope for a medal.

With a last desperate stroke, Tahmasseb launched his boat so violently that he fell into the water, but he managed to take third in the men's 500-meter single kayak race. Zur finished fourth and failed to advance to the finals.

The medal races today and Saturday will be dominated by the traditional powerhouses in flatwater canoe and kayak racing, Eastern European countries that were once part of the communist bloc.

The U.S. has not won an Olympic medal in these sports since 1988, when Greg Barton was part of two gold-medal winning boats.



Chinese Go One-Two

Guo Jingjing won the three-meter springboard final, her second gold medal of the Games and the Chinese women's fifth straight win on springboard.

Guo, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist behind Fu Mingxia, compiled 633.15 points from her five semifinal and five final dives. Wu Minxia, also from China, won silver with 612.00 points.

Yulia Pakhalina of Russia, the 1998 world champion, dropped from silver to bronze on the last dive and finished with 610.62 points, having led through the qualifying rounds.

Rachelle Kunkel of West Valley City, Utah, finished ninth on the springboard, and Kimiko Soldati, America's top springboard diver, failed to advance from the preliminaries.



Germans Score Upset

Germany defeated the Netherlands, 2-1, in the final for its first medal in the sport since winning silver in 1992 in Barcelona.

After Germany's Anke Kuehn opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a penalty corner, Franziska Gude scored 14 minutes later to make it 2-0. The Dutch women, the European champions, scored on Maartje Scheepstra's penalty corner in the 38th minute.

Earlier, Luciana Paula Aymar scored with less than a minute left to lift Argentina to a 1-0 victory over China for the bronze.



U.S. in Contention

Brazil's Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira clinched the Star class gold medal with one race left, and Americans John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree closed in on at least a silver in the Tornado class.

Lovell and Ogletree finished well in two races aboard their catamaran, putting them within three points of defending Olympic champion Austria going into Saturday's final race.

The silver and bronze medals in the Star class also will be decided Saturday.

American skipper Paul Cayard and crew Phil Trinter are fourth overall with 56 points, nine points shy of the silver.

In the 49er class, Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez of Spain won gold, finishing seventh in the deciding 16th race to win by five points over Rodion Luka and George Leonchuk of Ukraine, who took silver. Britain's Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks won bronze.

Americans Tim Wadlow, from Boston, and Pete Spaulding, from Miami, finished fifth.



Americans in Third

Russia, Japan and the U.S. were 1-2-3 after the Olympic team technical event, the same places they finished in the duet competition a day earlier.

Russia was first with 49.667 points and Japan second with 49.167. The Americans were third with 48.584, giving them a chance for their first team medal since they won the first Olympic gold in team competition in 1996.



Two for Taiwan

World champion Chu Mu Yen of Taiwan won the gold medal in the men's under-128 pound category and his countryman, Chen Shih Hsin, won gold at the women's under-108 pounds.

Chu's foot speed was too much for Mexico's Oscar Francisco Salazar Blanco as he ran out a 5-1 victory. Egypt's Tamer Bayoumi took bronze.

Chen beat Yanelis Yuliet Labrada Diaz of Cuba, 5-4, and Yaowapa Boorapolchai of Thailand won bronze.



Egyptian Takes Gold

Karam Ibrahim won Egypt's first Olympic gold medal since 1948 when he beat Ramaz Nozadze of Georgia, 12-1, in the 212-pound class of the Greco-Roman competition. Mehmet Ozal of Turkey won bronze.

In the 163-pound final match, Alexandr Dokturishivili of Uzbekistan defeated Marko Yli-Hannuksela of Finland, 4-1. Varteres Samourgachev of Russia took bronze.

At 132 pounds, Jung Ji Hyun of South Korea beat Roberto Monzon Gonzalez of Cuba, 3-0, for gold. Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria won bronze.

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