Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games

Beijing Olympic 2008 got off to a grand start in China’s capital, Beijing, on August 9,2008. Beijing Olympics organisers chose 08.08.08 (p.m.) for the inauguration of the Games, as the number 8 is given high importance by the Chinese. The Chinese pronunciation of ‘eight’ closely marches the Chinese equivalent for wealth and prosperity. Hence, in the current century, they chose to bid for 2008 Olympics and selected 8th month 8th day and 8th hour (p.m.) 8th minute 8th 8th second for the spectacular opening ceremony. Amid a mesmerising ambience marked by a resplendent show of colour and splendour, China on August 8,2008 rollet out the red carpet to 10,708 athlets from 204 countries in a grand ceremony at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, signalling the inauguration of the Beijing Olympics 2008. 14,000 Chinese performers, with a combination of colour, light, dance, music and a judicious doese of cuttingedge technology, provided a spectacular opening to the Games that showcased the country’s 5,000 years of civilisation. ‘Lighted’ acrobats, suspended mid-air, hoisted the Olympic ring, thrilling the 91,000 capacity audience to bits and simultaneously regaling an estimated four billion television viewers around the world. China’s Li Ning, 1984 Games multiple medallist gymnast, encapsulated the spellbinding effect of one of the grandest of opening ceremonies in Olympic history, carrying the torch around the perimeter of the Bird’s Nest’s roof, suspended in air before lighting the Olympic cauldron.

The show began with 2008 (marking the year of Beijing Games) drummers peforming in a traditional Chinese formation which dates back to remote antiquity. It was systematically followed by the artistic presentation of various events and eras in the history of the country. A significant part of the show was a splendid Taichi demonstration - deeply embedded in Chinese culure — comprising 2008 performers. After more than two hours of extravaganza, the athletes marched into the stadium with Greece, the first host of the Games, leading the way. The Indian contingent was led by Athens Olympics 2004 silver medallist Lt. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. As the contiingents from all participating countries presented themselves before the audience, Mr. Hu Jintao, President of China, declared the Games open amid loud cheers from spectators. The Beijing Olympics was the 29th edition of the Games, in which the athletes vied for 302 Gold medals in 38 events. During the Games many new and hitherto unsung heroes stole the limelight while some of the veterans had to cat a humble pie. Katcrina Emmons of Czech Republic won the first Gold medal in 10m air rifle shooting event on August 9,2008.

Michael Phelps, the 23-years American swimmer, the hero of the Games, bagged an unprecedented eight Gold medals in various swimming events and overtook compatriot Mark Spitz, whose seven swimming Golds at Munich Olympics, 1972, were the most at a single Games. Competing in his third Olympics, Phelps also took his total of Olympics Golds to a recod 14, including six from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Another great performer of the Games Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won three Gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4 × 100m relay. Bolt shattered all the previous world records in 100m (9.69 sec) and 200 (19.30 sec) events and became the fastest man on the earth. Both the timings were the fastest in the Olympic history. The 26-year-old Russian Yelena Isinbayeva created a new World records of 5.05 metres to win the Gold in women’s pole-vault.

In weightlifting, Matthias Steiner of Germany became the most powerful man on the earth winning Gold in 105 kg men’s event. He lifted 461 kg (203 kg in snatch and 258 kg in clean & jerk). Yang Wei of China won the Gold medal in men’s individual all-around. Samuel Kamau Wansiru of kenya outclassed a pack of top runners in the hot and humid conditions and won the marathon Gold. India’s marksman Abhinav Bindra won the first individual Gold medal for his country in the 10-metre air rifle event. World No. 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal won the Gold in men’s single event. Germany won the Gold in men’s hockey. Argentina clinched the Gold in football bearing Nigeria 1-0 in the men’s final.

For some of the greats like Hurdler Liu Xiang, Tyson Gay, etc. it was rather a forgetable outing. In the Olympic Games 2008, China won 51 Gold medals followed by the USA, which got 36 Gold medals. Russia begged 23 Gold medals. Apart from these countries, there were a few other like Brahrain, Mongolia and Panama, which won their first evr medals. The 29th Olympic Games ended on August 24, 2008 amidst a riot of colour, constumes and entertainment.

India and the Olympics 2008: The performance of the 56-strong Indian squad in the Beijing Olympics 2008 was the greatest so far in the Olympic history of the country. Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian sportsperson to win an individual Olympic Gold medal, scoring an astounding 10.8 in the final round of the 10m air rifle event on August 11, 2008. Bindra’s excellent effort gave India their first Olympic Gold in 28 years after the men’s hockey team won the Gold in 1980 Moscov Games. Abhinav, who was placed fourth with a score of 596 at the end fo the qualification rounds, moved up to second place after the third of 10 shots in the final. Tied for the Gold with Finland’s Henri Hakkinen after the penultimate shot, Bindra scored a near perfect 10.8 India’s Sushil Kumar won Bronze in the 66-kg freestyle event in wrestling by an Indian athlete, the first was won by K.D. Jadhav in Helsinki Olympics Games, 1952. For the first time, three Indian boxes Akhil Kukar, Vijender Kumar and and Jitender Kumar featured in the quarterfinals. After a century in the shadows, the first medal for Indian pugilits came with Vijender Kumar’s Bronze.

Thus Indian athletes put up their best show so far in the annals of Olympic Games.

Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal achievement is the highest an individual sportsperson from India has earned in the Olympic Bronze medals were won by Kasabha D. Jadhav (wrestling bantam weight) in the Helsinki Olympics (1952), Leander Paes (tennis singles) in the Atlanta Olympics (1996) and Karnam Malleswari (weightlifting in 69 kg) in the Sydney Olympics (2000). Major (now Lt. Colonet) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore became the first Indian sportsperson to win an individual Olympics Silver medal when he shot 179 out of 200 in the double trap shooting competition at the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004.

Outstanding Achievers
Athletics: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) emerged as the fastest runner on earth and bagged Gold medal in the 100-metre, 200-metre relay race with the world record time of 9,69 seconds, 19.30 seconds respectively. He also won 4 × 100-metre relay race with a world record time of 37.10 seconds. Bolt teamed up with Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Michael Fracter in the 4 × 100-metre relay race. Shelly-Ann Fraster (Jamaica) put up a Gold Medal-winning performance in the final of women’s 100-metre event with a personal best 10.78 seconds. Dayron Robles of Cuba won the 110 m men’s hurdles Gold medal. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) emerged the undisputed king over the distance events winning both 10,000m and 5,000m Gold medals. Samauel Kamau Wansiru (Kenya) won the marathan Gold in an Olympic record time of two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds in very hot and humid conditions. Wilfred Bungei (Kenya) won the men’s 800m race Gold.

Archery: South Korean women’s team won against China by nine points in the final. The victory gave the Korean women their 12th straight Olympic Gold Medal to maintain their unbeaten record in team event since first competing in archery at the Games in 1984. Viktor Rubon (Ukraine) won the men’s individual Gold medal and jaun Juan Zhang (China) clinched the women’s individual Gold medal.

Badminton: The top-seeded Lin Don (China) won the men’s singles final beating Lee Chang Wei of Malaysia 21-12, 21-8.

Basketball: The United States won the Gold medal in the Olympic men’s basketball with a 118-107 victory over Spain.

Beach Volleyball: Todd Rogers and Philip Dalhausser of the US won Gold bearing Fabio Luiz and Marcio Araujo of Brazil 23-21, 17-21, 15-4.

Boxing: James Degale (Britain) won the Olympic boxing middleweight title with a 16-14 victory over Emilio Correa of Cuba despite being roundly jeered after the bout by a pro-Cuba crowd who felt that Correa had been hard done by. Correa had beaten India’s Vijender Kumar in the semifinals. Vijender won Bronze in the middleweight category.

Canoe/Kayaking: Fanny Fischer, Nicole Reinhardt, Katrin Wagner-Augustin, Conny Wassmuth (Germany) won Gold in the women’s flatwater: K4 500.

Cycling: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) won the Gold medal in the men’s individual time trial. Kristin Armstrong (the USA) clinched Gold i women’s individual time trial.

Equestrian: Hinrich Romeike, a German dintist, won an Olympic Gold medal in the individual three-day eventing competition. Romeike left 24 rival in his dust, as he completed a perfect round in the final jumping component, to finish the round as he began, with 54.20 penalty points. Anky Van Grunsven of the Netherlands won the Gold medal in dressage individual.

Fencing: Man Zhong (China) beat Nicolas Lopez of France 15-9 in the men’s individual sabre final and won an Olympic Gold medal.

Soccer: Angel di Maria (Argentina) struck in the 58th minute and led his team to victory against Nigeria in the men’s football final. Argentina won the match 1-0 and defended the Gold it had won in the 2004 Athens Olympic.

Hockey: Power-packed Germany won the Olympic men’s bockey Gold medal after 16 years with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Spain in the final. Christopher Zeller (Germany) scored the winner in the 16th minute with a ferocious penalty corner before the German’s warded off repeated Spanish attacks to strike Gold in field hockey’s 100th year at the Olympic.

Judo: Santoshi Ishii (Japan) won Gold defeating Abdullo Tangriev (Uzbekistan) in the final of men’s + 100 kg while Elnur (Mammadli Azerbaijan) clinched Gold beating Kichun Wang of South Korea in the men’s 73 kg.

Rowing: Olaf Tufte of Norway displayed a brilliant performance and won the men’s singles sculles final. In the women’s single men’s single sculls final. In the women’s single sculls final Bulgaria’s Rumayana Neykova emerged victorious and won the Gold.

Sailing: Ben Ainslie (Finland), Gold Medallist, displayed the qualities that have made him the world’s leading all-round dinghy sailor.

Shooting: Abhinav Bindra (India) became the first individual gold medallist of independent India in 10m air rifle shooting event. Katerina Emmons (Czech Republic) won the first Gold medal of Beijing Olympic 2008 in 10m air rifle shooting event. Jin Jong Oh (South Korea) clinched Gold in men’s 50m pistol event.

Softball: Japan beat United States 3-1 and clinched Gold in women’s final.

Swimming: Michael Phelps, 23-year-old American swimmer, bagged an unprecedented eight Gold medals in various swimming events and overtook compatriot Mark Spitz, whose seven swimming Golds at Munich Olympic, 1972, were the most at a single Games. Thus Phelps became the highest Gold medal winner in an Olympic Games. Now, Phelps has a total Olympic medal tally of 16 (6 Golds and two Silver in Athens, 8 Golds in Beijing).

Table Tennis: World No. 2 Ma Lin (China) won Gold and proved Chinese spuremacy in the men’s single table tennis tournament, defeating teammate Wang Hao (China). In the women’s singles Yining Zhang (China) clinched Gold.

Tennis: Rafael nadal (Spain) took one more smart step to decorate his brilliant career as he captured the Olympic Gold with a brilliant 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 victory over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. In the women’s single final, Elena Dementieva (Russia) beat compatriot Dinara Safina 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and won the coveted Gold medal.

Weightlifting: Matthias Steiner of Germany became the most powerful man on earth winning Gold in 105 kg men’s category. He lifted 461 kg (203 kg in snatched and 258 kg in clean and Jerk).

Wrestling: Sahin Ramazan (Turkey) won the Gold defeating Andriy Stadnik (Ukraine) in the final of the 66 kg men’s freestyle wrestling. Sushil Kumar pulled a Bronze out of nowhere. In the recharge that allows early losers a chance to go for a medal, Sushil first beat Albert Batyrov of Belarus 8-4 on technical points and 3-1 on points he then defeated Doug Schwab of the US 7-4 on technical points and 3-1 on points; before downing Leonid Spiridonov (Kazakhstan) 3-1 on points. It was the second ever medal in wrestling for the country, behind K.D. Jadhav’s Bronze in the Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952.

India’s Best At Beijing:
Abhinav Bindra: Gold (10m air rifle, shooting)
Sushil Kumar: Bronze (66 kg men’s freestyle wrestling)
Vijender Kumar: Bronze (middleweight, boxing)
Akhil Kumar: Quarterfinal (bantamweight, boxing)
Jitender Kumar: Quarterfinal (flyweight, boxing)
Saina Nehwal: Quarterfinal (badminton)

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