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Australia Tops Medal Table At Commonwealth Games

Nigeria's Augustina Nwaokolo wins a Gold medal in the women's weightlifting event at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, 4 Oct. 2010

The first day of competition has ended at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, with Australia at the top of the medals table.

Nigeria's Augustina Nwaokolo won the first medal awarded at the Games. She defeated favored Indian weightlifter Sonia Chanu Monday to win gold in the women's 48-kilogram division. The 17-year-old Nwaokolo set a new Commonwealth record by lifting a combined total of 175 kilos. In the men's 56-kilogram division, Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim of Malaysia took the gold with a combined lift of 257 kilos.

Organizers were hoping the start of competition would change the focus from the problems in the run-up to the Games. They included filthy conditions at the athletes' village, corruption allegations, security concerns, fears of a dengue fever outbreak, venue construction delays and the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at the main stadium. But as competition began, low attendance at some of the events was disappointing, and new glitches were reported at some of the venues.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the crowd attending Australia's 76-39 netball victory over Samoa could have fit in a bus. And the reporter pointed out that the 58 legitimate spectators in a venue that could hold 4,500 were fewer than the number of points Australia scored.

Swimming was the sport in the spotlight Monday, with five of the day's eight medals awarded in the pool. Ryan Cochrane of Canada won the men's 400-meter freestyle gold, while the top medal in the 200-meter butterfly went to South African Chad Le Clos. Australia picked up the 400-meter freestyle team relay. In women's events, Kylie Palmer won gold in the women's 200-meter freestyle, and fellow-Australian Alicia Coutts captured the 200-meter individual medley.

Australia also won the gold medal in the men's artistic gymnastics team event. At the end of the opening day, Australia led with four gold and two silver medals, while Canada was second with one gold and three bronze. South Africa is third with one gold and one bronze. The 11-day Games bring together almost 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories in the Commonwealth.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.