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Amid worries, China seeks golden lining
August 05, 2008 13:07 IST
After weeks of bad news, China can look forward to its one guaranteed publicity scoop: winning one of the first gold medals of this year's Games.
The first gold will almost certainly be awarded in the 10m air rifle contest on Saturday, and Chinese shooter Du Li is a strong favourite to win it, having achieved the feat in Athens four years ago and consistently remained on top since.
If the shooter misses her mark, another Chinese woman stands ready to ensure China a golden start.
Weightlifter Chen Xiexia is a hot favourite for the 48kg category, a competition that has been recently been dominated by Chinese lifters.
The 25-year-old lifter from Guangdong province, who holds the record for the clean and jerk of 120kg, grabbed all three gold medals on offer at last year's world championships.
An early barrage of gold medals could provide a much-needed publicity boost for China and also divert the world's attention from the issues that have dominated Games coverage so far, from Internet censorship and visa restrictions to political turmoil and air pollution.
China has played down its ambitions for the overall Olympic [Images] medal tally, but it is edging closer to the United States in the race between sporting superpowers.
In Athens, China won 32 gold medals, second to the United States, who won 36.
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