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14 Aug, 2008 07:58

Russia wrestles up its third gold

Russian wrestler Aslanbek Khushtov won Russia's third gold medal at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday, beating Germany’s Mirko Englich in the final of the Greco-Roman wrestling.

Wrestling in the 96 kg category, Khushtov used a gut wrench to leverage Englich for a 5-point throw and a 6-0 win in the first period, then comfortably won the second 3-0.

European champion Khushtov is the third wrestler to bring Russia the Olympic gold, after Nazyr Mankiev at 55 kg and Islambek Albiev at 60 kg.

Gymnastics failure

On Wednesday there was a major surprise in the gymnastics as Russia failed to pick up a single medal in the men’s and women’s team event. Once a gymnastics super power under the Soviet Union, Russia have slipped behind the likes of the United States and China in recent years.

Former Russian Olympic gymnastics champion, Aleksey Nemov, believes the loss of some of Russia's top coaches to their rivals has been a key reason why Russia is unable to compete with the leading nations.

“We must forget about this failure and think about how to overcome the Chinese gymnasts in the future,” he said.

There is still the individual competition to come and Nemov hopes Russia can turn things around and get back on the podium.

Silver run continues

Russia's run of silver medals continued as they picked up second place in the men’s three metre synchronized springboard event.

The veteran Dmitry Sautin and his young partner, Yury Kunakov, were pipped to the gold by the Chinese, and Kunakov said the better team won.

There was a fantastic result for Russia in the swimming pool, where the men’s 4x200 relay side picked up a silver medal, ahead of the Australians, who had to settle for bronze.

The event was won by the USA, which saw Michael Phelps claim his fifth gold of the games.

The young Russian team were a little surprised at their impressive feat.

China score surprise victories

Liu Zige has given China their first swimming gold, as she broke the world record in the 200m butterfly. Both Liu and compatriot Jiao Liuyang touched in a better time than the previous world record, set by Jess Schipper two years ago. The Australian had to settle for bronze in this one.

China is on top of the medals table with 22 Gold medals so far, staking another massive claim at coming out overall winners by taking medals in less fancied events too.

The USA and Korea are second and third respectively, while Russia sit 8th, after picking up just three golds so far.