By Keith Miller
Sometimes you think you’ve ben dudded, while other times you think you’ve just been desperately unlucky to lose. In the case of the Women’s Black Sticks this morning, it was neither. They were simply outplayed by a far better side in losing 3-0 to Great Britain in the semi-final.
Devoid of composure and cohesion, New Zealand were beaten by a side who took their chances well. It was just one of those days, best summed up by the opening goal. The decision to award a Penalty Corner against Rose Keddell so far out of the D (when both players were shoulder to shoulder) was a harsh one, and from there they never settled. The Great Britain side also converted two Penalty Strokes to clinch the deal, and an Anita McLaren drag flick aside, the Black Sticks never looked good in front of goal. The effort from Olivia Merry late in the game was indicative of their performance – rushed, and lacking communication.
It was a disappointing performance, but they now need to lift for the Bronze Medal game against Germany at 3.00am on Saturday morning (which ironically may provide some revenge for the Men). A bronze medal would still be a terrific result.
Lydia Ko eagled the 15th hole on the way to a 2 under 69, four shots off the lead in the first round of the Golf. It was an up and down performance, but being in a tie for 11th after the first round means she is still well in the hunt.
Stuart Farquhar disappointed this morning in the Javelin, throwing almost 5 metres short of the qualifying measure. He also finished outside the top 12 throws, so his campaign in Rio was short and not so sweet. He never really looked comfortable, and straight after the event he announced that this would be his last Olympic Games.
The sailing didn’t get underway overnight, so we wait with bated breath to see if the NZ team can advance the medal tally, while Lisa Carrington qualified comfortably in the K1 500. She’ll sprint from Lane 2 at 01.11am on Friday in the final.
Managed to catch some of the Men’s BMX Seeding Run. The course itself looks quite good, although very artificial (and can someone please tighten the sag in the astroturf?). For once it looked like the crowd was a semi-decent size, and the action was good.
Latvian Edzus Treimanis (above) was the only one to come a cropper, face planting the course early in his run and leaving the event bloodied and dazed – from all accounts he may have suffered a broken nose, but is otherwise ok. NZ cyclist Trent Jones was looking good at the start of his run, and was fourth at the first split. However, he slipped not long after, and lost most of his momentum – that mistake cost him big time, leaving him in 25th place out of the 32 competitors.
But let’s face it, any drop of 8 metres at the start of the race would be enough to make mere mortals soil themselves.
Usain Bolt was back in action again, this time in the second semi-final of the 200 metres. Remarkably, he and Andre De Grasse had sufficient time to have a laugh to themselves as Bolt ran 19.78s in crossing the line. As per his normal routine, Bolt slowed down significantly over the last 30 metres – the World Record is definitely under threat come the final.
But in one of the best, and certainly most satisfying moments of the Games so far, two time drug cheat Justin Gatlin is out of the 200 metres final, and can piss off home. Now in the post-race interview, he’s claiming he had an ankle injury. Good riddance.
In the Women’s 200 metre final, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson managed the double, holding off the strong finishing Dafne Schippers in an incredible final. Schippers clawed her way back over the last 60 metres or so, but failed to catch the Jamaican, who ran 21.78s to take Gold.
The Robert Allenby moment of the Games goes to Ryan Lochte, who obviously wasn’t happy with being overshadowed in the pool by Michael Phelps. Whilst he’s happily home after being “robbed at gunpoint”, his two swimming mates who were there at the time have just been pulled off a plane on the Rio runway. Good luck fellas.
Sure, the timing is largely crap from our point of view, but I guess that’s why the likes of Olympic tragics like me take two weeks leave. So if you don’t have an opportunity to see something live throughout the schedule, I’ll be tweeting up a storm – most likely at some ungodly hour of the night. Keep an eye out: @keith_miller_nz