Wednesday, January 26, 2022

After 2012 heartbreak, China win track cycling gold

Mirian Welte and Kristina Voegel beat Australian duo Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton for bronze, Denying them a sixth Olympic medal.

By: Reuters | Rio De Janeiro |
August 13, 2016 11:45:01 am
Rio 2016 Olympics, Rio Olympics 2016, Rio Olympics, Olympics 2016, Rio 2016, Gong Jinjie, Gong Jinjie China, Gong Jinjie Cycling, Zhong Tianshi China, Zhong Tianshi Cycling, Cycling, Olympics, Sports news, Sports Gold medalists Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi wave from the podium of the Women’s team sprint finals at the Rio Olympics. (Source: AP)

Four years late maybe, but Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi claimed China’s first Olympic track cycling gold medal on Friday when they outpaced Russia in the final of the women’s team sprint at the Rio Games.

The Chinese broke the world record in qualifying for the final and while the victory margin was only 0.294 seconds in the final they were always too strong for Russians Anastasia Voinova and Daria Shmeleva.

Germany’s Mirian Welte and Kristina Voegel beat Australian duo Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton for bronze, denying Meares a sixth Olympic medal.

It was a joyous moment for China, and Gong especially.

Four years ago in London, riding with Guo Shuang, she was celebrating victory over Germany in the final only to be disqualified for an illegal lane change.

Gong and Zhong were also denied a world championship gold in March when they were demoted to silver behind Russians Voinova and Shmeleva because of another technicality.

That decision left coach Benoit Vetu so furious that he broke his hand smashing it against a table.

This time there was no mistake and he was pumping his fist in happiness as his charges raced home.

“We are like old warriors who have kept fighting. This medal is not just for the two of us, because there are many people behind us who have worked very hard,” Gong, whose helmet was adorned with a Chinese doll mural, told reporters.

“We achieved a dream as cyclists and Chinese people as well. We wanted to conquer the world record and win the gold medal.”

They celebrated by holding a Chinese flag aloft while their French coach Vetu roared his approval.

“We knew that we were ready. We broke the world record twice before coming here,” Vetu said told Reuters.
It was a disappointing day for Meares.

“We are really, really heartbroken. We were agonisingly close. We gave everything we had. Credit to China and Russia, they are in a league of their own,” she said.

The 32-year-old wants to bounce back in Saturday’s keirin.

“Form takes a back seat in the keirin. It’s much more unpredictable. A lot of elbows get thrown, it’s serious competition. We’re pretty good at that,” she added.

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