Bedrnard is sprint king, Kitajima repeats double, Chinese delight

Host China got a first swim gold at the Beijing Olympics from Liu Zige with a world record 100 metres butterfly performance on Thursday while Alain Bernard gave France its first ever gold in the showpiece 100m freestyle sprint. ( dpa )

Zige led a Chinese one-two to thrill the packed Beijing Water Cube in a world record 2 minutes 4.18 seconds at the Beijing Olympics, smashing the former mark by more than a second for the 17th record of the meet.

Jiao Liuyang, whose time of 2:04.72 was also better than Australia's Jessicah Schipper's record of 2:05.40, which she had set two years ago, won the silver medal. Schipper had to be contet with bronze in 2:06.26.

In the men's 100m freestyle sprint, Bernard gained some revenge for earlier in the meet having lost the men's 100m freestyle world record to Eamon Sullivan as he beat the Australian to the gold medal in a time of 47.21. Sullivan finished second in 47.32.

American Jason Leazak and Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho shared bronze in 47.67 while Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband failed in his bid for a third straight gold in the event by finishing fifth.

"This is the greatest day of my lift. A dream has come true," said Bernard after the final of an event which saw three world records in the heats and semis.

In the first medal event of the morning Japanese breaststroker Kosuke Kitajima repeated his double from Athens as he won the men's 200m breaststroke event in the Olympic record time of two minutes 7.64 seconds.

Kitajima had already won the 100m breaststroke on Monday.

Australian Brenton Rickard won the silver in a time of 2:08.88, while Frenchman Hugues Duboscq was the bronze medal winner, just 0.06 seconds behind Rickard.

American star Michael Phelps had no final final to swim the day after becoming the moost successful Olympian with 11 golds overall.

There was disappointment for the largely Chinese crowd as medal hopeful Pang Jiaying was disqualified for an early start in the women's 100m freestyle after winning her semi-final.

But Zhu Yingwen (53.84) qualified for the final with the third- fastest time behind American Natalie Coughlin (53.70) and Dutch Marleen Veldhuis (53.81). Australian 100m freestyle world champion Lisbeth Trickett, who won the women's 100m butterfly on Monday, just managed to scrape through with the eighth time.

"I probably would have like to have gone a bit faster than that. It felt comfortable so hopefully I can be good for tomorrow and bring something else out."

In the men's 200m backstroke American favourites Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol, who are joint world record holders, topped the list of qualifiers for Thursday's final with 1:55.26 and 1:55.40.

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