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September 17, 2000
China wins its first goldScott McDonald
Tao Luna won China's first gold of the Olympics and former powerhouse India registered an impressive opening win in hockey on Sunday.
But they are expected to have to share some of the Olympic limelight with their Asian neighbours Japan and a boxer from East Timor.
Tao won the women's 10 metre air pistol with 488.2 points to edge out Jasna Sekaric of Yugoslavia by 1.7 points.
"I never thought about the gold medal. It never crossed my mind. I am very happy," said Tao after she was never challenged for the lead throughout the 10-shot final.
India scored two goals late in the first half to cruise to an easy 3-0 victory over Argentina, the team which helped derail the Indians four years ago in Atlanta with a shock opening match win.
India boast one of the most experienced line-ups in the men's tournament, with Mukesh Kumar, Mohd Riaz, Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Dhillon Singh all having played more than 200 internationals.
East Timor's Victor Ramos steps into the ring in a tough first bout against Ghana's Raymond Narh, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Ramos has become a symbol of East Timor's survival after last year's fight for independence when pro-Indonesian militia killed hundreds of people and ravaged his homeland.
"He may not be the favourite in terms of boxing, but he'll be the sentimental favourite in terms of the Australian hometown crowd," said team manager Frank Fowlie, confident Ramos would do himself justice in the 60 kg division.
MORE JUDO GOLDS?
Japan will be looking to add to the judo golds won by Ryoko Tamura in the women's 48 kg class and Tadahiro Nomura then retained his title in the men's 60 kg division on Saturday's opening day.
Noriko Narasaki looks a solid chance in the women's 52 kg judo class, although she faces tough competition from Cuban Legna Verdecia and Laetitia Tignola of France.
Atlanta silver medallist Yukimasa Nakamura will be looking to go one step higher in the men's 66 kg division.
Japan were also off to a quick start in the pool on Sunday, with Mai Nakamura topping the morning heats in the women's 100 metres backstroke.
Nakamura, world short-course champion in 1999 and world long-course bronze medallist in 1998, clocked one minute 00.88 seconds, ahead of 16-year-old Romania Diana Mocanu in 1:01.18 and France's Roxana Maracineanu in 1:01.66 going into the evening's semi-finals.
Nakamura's teammate Noriko Inada qualified eighth fastest.
Japan's Shinya Taniguchi qualified sixth for the final of men's 400 individual medley.
Japan's baseballers were playing the United States in a round-robin encounter while the soccer team is due to take on Slovakia, with a place in the quarter-finals beckoning after Japan's opening victory against South Africa. The rest of Asia also have their own hopes on Sunday.
A lack of wind delayed the start of the sailing and the beginning of Hong Kong windsurfer Lee Lai-shan's defence of the gold medal she won four years ago.
There is also a highly charged women's soccer match between China and the United States, who edged out the Chinese in the Atlanta final and in the last World Cup.
"The match should be entertaining and tough. It could be a sneak preview of the gold medal game," said Chinese coach Ma Yuanan.
The Chinese men's basketball team, led by Wang Zhizhi and Menk Bater, both 2.13 metres tall, and 2.24 cm centre Yao Ming, play against a mighty U.S. line-up.
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