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Mongolia wins first-ever gold medal

  • Story Highlights
  • Mongolia wins its first-ever Olympic gold medal
  • Tuvshinbayar Naidan, took the gold in judo Thursday
  • Mongolian Gundegmaa Otryad also won a silver medal in women's shooting
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From Mark Bixler
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(CNN) -- Mongolia has tasted Olympic gold, at last.

Mongolia's Tuvshinbayar Naidan (in white) and Azerbaijan's Movlud Miraliyev compete Thursday.

Mongolia's Tuvshinbayar Naidan (in white) and Azerbaijan's Movlud Miraliyev compete Thursday.

A sense of national pride has electrified the Asian nation since Mongolia won its first-ever gold medal in an Olympic competition Thursday.

"People were waiting desperately for this," said Chinzorig Chuluundaatar, who owns a car-rental company in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. "I was at the point of giving up personally."

The honor went to Tuvshinbayar Naidan, who won the gold in judo Thursday. Naidan, whose nickname is "Tuvshee," beat Kazakhstan's Askhat Zhitkeyev in the men's 100-kilogram class.

His victory sent thousands of people into a main square in Ulaanbaatar to celebrate. Politicians spoke. Fireworks exploded. People sang the national anthem.

"The feeling was amazing, of course. We were celebrating all together," said Amarzayan Naran, a Mongolian native who works for the nonprofit Asia Foundation. "Mongolians were waiting a long time for this. Finally, we got it."

The feeling of national unity comes a month after a disputed election sparked a riot that killed five, injured at least 200 and deepened political divisions in the nation of about 3 million.

"We hope this is a sign that Mongolians will rally together," Naran said. "We see this as a source of great national pride. It's a big deal."

Mongolia has won medals in wrestling, boxing, shooting and judo at previous Games, but only one other medal during the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Gundegmaa Otryad won the silver in women's pistol shooting Wednesday.

The long-awaited Olympic gold was a top story Friday to Montsame, Mongolia's national news agency.

"Mongolians are celebrating this remarkable event throughout the country with much happiness," the agency said.


And there are still nine days before the closing ceremonies.

"We hope we will get more medals in these Olympics," Naran said.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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