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China’s Gong Lijiao claims women’s shot put gold at last

China's Gong Lijiao ended her long wait for Olympic gold on Sunday with a devastating run of shot put throws, including consecutive personal bests, to take a dominant victory at the Tokyo Games.

Tokyo, 1 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — China’s Gong Lijiao ended her long wait for Olympic gold on Sunday with a devastating run of shot put throws, including consecutive personal bests, to take a dominant victory at the Tokyo Games.

Gong reached a personal best of 20.53m to seal her gold win, followed by a 20.58m on her final throw in the women’s final.

The Tokyo gold medal for Gong came after she claimed bronze and silver at earlier Olympics.

And the 32-year-old now adds gold from the Games to the world championships she won in 2017 and 2019 which saw her enter the event as strong favourite.

“I’m really, really excited to win this gold medal, I’m not only winning this gold medal, I’m also getting my personal best,” Gong said. “I think all my efforts were really worth it.”

Raven Saunders of the US took silver with 19.79m, while New Zealand’s two-time Olympic champion, from 2008 and 2012, Valerie Adams took bronze with 19.62m.

“I am very excited, happy, and proud to win this medal for New Zealand,” said Adams, who also has silver from 2016. “In my fifth Olympic Games it is my fourth Olympic medal, so it is a very special day for me.”

Trackside temperatures reached 40 degrees as qualifiers and heats continued.

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, world record-holder and Olympic champion from the last Games in London and Rio, topped the hammer throw qualifying with 76.99m.

Winfred Mutile Yavi of Bahrain came out on top in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase heat with 9 minute 10.80 seconds.

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic topped the women’s long jump qualifying, hitting the 7-metre mark. Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, the world champion, was close behind with 6.98m.

Meanwhile, Michael Cherry of the US ran the fastest 400m heat with a time of 44.82.

Rio champion and world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa was third in 45.25.

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