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Zhang Ning gives China gold

August 19, 2004 19:32 IST
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Zhang Ning beat Indonesian-born Mia Audina of the Netherlands 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 to give China the first gold medal of the Olympic badminton tournament on Thursday.

Audina, who played for Indonesia before marrying a Dutch gospel singer and moving to Europe, fought her heart out -- saving two match points before having to settle for the second silver of her career.

She finished runner-up for Indonesia as a 16-year-old prodigy at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

China's Zhou Mi took the bronze medal after beating compatriot and world number one Gong Ruina 11-2, 8-11, 11-6 in an earlier playoff.

Zhang hurled her racket high in the air after hitting the winning smash at the net and raced around the court to embrace her jubilant coach as Audina bowed her head.

It was a first ever badminton medal for the Dutch.

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