By David Owen at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

Yi Siling_L_celebrates_with_her_gold_medal_next_to_compatriot_and_silver_medalist_Yu_Dan_R_and_bronze_medalist_Polands_Sylwia_Bogacka_28-07-12July 28 - Carrying on where it left off four years ago, China won the first gold medal of the London 2012 Olympics at this shooting venue in East London this morning.

At 11.25am GMT, Siling Yi (pictured above), a petite 23-year-old from the southern Chinese city of Guangdong, fired her 10th and last shot of the women's 10 metre air rifle final and triggered an explosion of joy from a small Chinese contingent in the audience.

A few minutes later, the Chariots of Fire music came on and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge was hanging that all-important first gold medal about her neck.

Sylwia Bogacka (pictured above, left) of Poland took the silver, with another Chinese athlete, Dan Yu (pictured above, right), winning bronze.

As a newcomer to Olympic shooting, many things surprised me.

The mainly white finals hall, where a good and knowledgeable crowd had assembled, was emblazoned with scarlet spots, as if it were covered in Japanese flags, or possibly a form of chicken-pox.

The eight competitors were dressed rather like skateboarders.

Siling Yi_28-07-121Siling Yi competes in the women's 10m air rifle shooting final on day one of the London 2012 at The Royal Artillery Barracks

Their weapons looked more like camera tripods than rifles.

When they fired, the noise produced was a dull click, as opposed to a loud report.

This was shooting sanitised for the Olympic Movement.

Another thing: usually one associates sport with motion.

But in this event, all was absolutely still, give or take eight trigger fingers.

This makes it not the greatest spectator sport, the more so as competitors betrayed not the slightest flicker of emotion after a shot, good or bad.

"It was inside me," said Bogacka later.

The competition organisers do their best to inject drama and interest into the proceedings: large screens show extreme close-ups of the centre of targets after every shot; cameras relay images of the impassive athletes each time their score is announced; a man's voice periodically offers pithy comments on the state of play, geared to non-specialists.

One other thing the much-watched screens provide is an advertising opportunity for the Olympic sponsors.

The screens showing the targets were branded Omega; those showing the athletes, Panasonic.

Although the Olympics, famously, has a "clean-venue" policy, my impression is that the big brands encroach just a little further with each successive Games.

coke bottle_at_press_conference_28-07-12A bottle of Coca-Cola awaits Siling Yi for her after competition press conference

In the press-conference room, by the medallists' name-cards, where you might normally expect a bottle or glass of water, was a Coke bottle.

The very purple medal podium carries representations of well-known London landmarks, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Gherkin, but not the Shard.

Talking of branding, this event tells you everything you need to know about the power of the Olympic brand.

"Chinese athlete wins air rifle event" will not, on the whole attract a mass audience.

"China takes first gold medal of Olympic Games" will be flashed around the world.

Because it was the first gold medal of London 2012, today will probably transform the life of the winner, who seemed pleasant if utterly self-possessed.

"I felt like a movie star," she said.

She had better get used to the feeling.

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