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China on target with first Olympics gold

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Shooter Yi Siling captures first goldThe London Olympics has moved into competition mode to award the first gold medal and announce its first doping case, a day after a stunning opening ceremony.

British Queen Elizabeth II toured the Olympic Park and Chinese shooter Yi Siling captured gold in the women's 10-metre air rifle on Saturday.

On the negative, the International Olympic Committee banned Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku after he tested positive for a banned steroid, stanozolol, on July 23.

Star swimmer Michael Phelps, meanwhile, barely qualified for his final and Beijing 400-metre champion Park Tae-hwan of South Korea was disqualified in a surprising opening session at the Aquatics Centre.

Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, qualified only eighth-fastest for the night final of the 400-metre individual medley.

"That one didn't feel too good," he said.

Olympic champion Park touched the wall first in his 400 freestyle heat, but was disqualified for a false start. South Korea later filed a protest in an attempt to get the decision overturned before the night final.

Two other finals were scheduled on Saturday night - the women's 400 IM and 4x100-metre freestyle relay.

'Breathtaking and bonkers'

On Friday night, the British monarch was one of the hits of the opening ceremony that was heralded in the local media as "breathtaking and bonkers".

The queen provided the highlight of the four-hour show directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, a tribute to British film, music and history. With film trickery, Boyle made it seem that Britain's 86-year-old monarch parachuted into the stadium with James Bond star Daniel Craig.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the ceremony, featuring about 10,000 performers, was "stupefying".

"The big anxiety we had was, could we do something that would rival Beijing," Johnson said. "I think we knocked the spots off it."

The cycling road race got under way Saturday morning and, with it, Britain's best chance for an early gold medal that would extend the national celebration.

Mark Cavendish, riding alongside fellow Briton and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, was among the starters for the 250-kilometre race which passed some of London's most iconic landmarks and out into the Surrey countryside southwest of London. Huge crowds lined the course.

After Prince Charles was introduced to the British team, the race started on a processional pace from the Mall, near Buckingham Palace with the peloton heading southwest through the city.

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