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China shines on goalball debut

China`s Cai Changgui blocks the ball during the men`s goalball final match against Lithuania. China won 9-8. [China Daily]

With a gold and silver, China`s debut performance in goalball rolled off to a good start on Sunday at the Beijing Paralympics.

The Chinese men`s goalball team picked up gold after defeating Lithuania 9-8 on Sunday night.

Jen Armbruster of the US serves during the women`s goalball final against China. USA won 6-5. [Xinhua]

The women also fared well, earning a silver in the sport designed specifically for blind players or visually impaired athletes.

"Today, our dream came true," said Zhang Yong, head coach of the Chinese men`s team. "When we won the gold at the Good Luck Beijing tournament, I dreamt we would win at the Paralympic Games.

"It was like a movie. For the Chinese team, it is a happy ending," said Lithuania`s coach Karolis Levickis. "Team China`s performance was excellent."

Although China fell behind by five goals in the second half, the team came back strongly, winning the game at the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium.

"Lithuania is a very tough rival," said Chen Liangliang, who scored six goals in the final. "To win gold is beyond my expectation."

Sweden won bronze after defeating the United States, 5-2.

The Americans had better luck on the women`s side, with Asya Miller carrying her team to gold. Though both teams went goal-for-goal near the end, Miller scored the final goal with only 49 sec left. The silver medalists from Athens took the win at China`s expense, 6-5.

Denmark defeated its Nordic neighbor Sweden 3-2 for bronze.

Date:2008-9-15 11:07:00     
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