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Du Li claims first gold in Athens
Du won the silver medal at the 2002 world championships
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- China's Du Li claimed the first gold medal of the 28th Olympic Games in Athens, with a victory in the women's 10-meter air rifle event.

Du scored a near-bullseye to pip Russia's Lioubov Galkina of Russia with the last shot in the women's 10-meter air rifle final as Czech Katerina Kurkova took bronze.

The 22-year-old student scored 104 points in a tense final round to finish with a total of 502pts, an Olympic record.

Shooting, one of nine sports at the first modern Olympics in 1896, has traditionally held the honor of awarding the first medals of the Olympics. It was the first of 17 medals in the nine days of shooting competition.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, presented the medals at the Markopoulo Shooting Centre outside Athens just minutes before noon, hours after the Olympics opened.

"It is unbelievable. I am very excited," a delighted Du beamed after receiving her gold medal.

"I didn't watch the scoreboard at all during the competition," she said. "When I fired the last shot I was very calm and confident in myself."

In other highlights of the opening day:

  • Nurcan Taylan became the first Turkish woman to win weightlifting gold, lifting a world record 97.5 kilograms in the snatch and 112.5 kg in the clean and jerk for a new world record total of 210 kg and victory in the 48 kg category.
  • China enjoyed a golden start to the diving competition with victories in the women's three-meter springboard and the men's 10-meter platform synchronized events. Guo Jinjing and Wu Minxia won the former before teammates Tian Liang and Yang Jinghui combined to add a second gold medal.
  • But China's male gymnasts put in a jittery performance, qualifying in just fourth place in the team competition. Japan were the surprise overall leaders, ahead of the United States and Romania.
  • The United States made a slow start in their women's basketball defense with a 99-47 win over New Zealand. Rivals Australia also struggled before winning 85-73 against Nigeria.
  • In women's volleyball Germany pulled off a stunning upset against reigning champions Cuba, coming from two sets down winning 20-25 24-26 25-22 25-15 17-15

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