We’ve hit that stage of the calendar where Track & Field is really starting to dominate proceedings and from a New Zealand perspective, things are looking very good indeed.
Dame Valerie Adams is a New Zealand icon. Competing at her fifth Olympics, her comeback at the Shot Put is now complete, winning the Bronze in a great performance. She never really threatened for the Gold, but third was a fine achievement – and collecting her fourth Olympic Medal is an astonishing effort. Dame Val deserves to be regarded as one of our greatest, and close to our greatest ever, Olympians.
Maddi Wesche put together an amazing set, throwing a PB of 18.98 (in her sunglasses no less) at her first Olympics to make the final cut. That she was able to finish sixth at this level on her first attempt augurs extremely well for the future. Wesche has only just turned 22.
Hamish Kerr, New Zealand’s very own John Travolta, performed very strongly in the Men’s High Jump final jumping 2.30m to finish tenth at his first Games. In an extraordinary finish to the event, Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi ended up tied at the top. As Olympics officials scrambled to arrange a jump off to see who finished first and second, the athletes decided that they would rather share the Gold and celebrated in tandem. It made for great viewing.
New Zealand’s Julia Ratcliffe’s first throw may he landed just short of automatic qualification, but it was still good enough to see her through to the final in seventh place. It was a very consistent set of throws and she will be rightly pleased with her efforts so far. Lauren Bruce was below her best in the other pol and failed to qualify. Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk needed only one throw in qualification, and she was straight through – anything other than Gold for the World Record Holder would be a real surprise.
If you are going to win an event, you may as well break the World Record while you are at it. Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas went extremely close to doing so on her first attempt – on her 6th and final attempt she jumped 15.67m and the record was her by 17cm.
Speaking of records, In the semi-finals of the Women’s 100m Hurdles, Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn ran 12.26 seconds to beat Sally Pearson’s Olympic record. She will face stern competition in the final, with Kendra Harrison (USA), Nadine Visser (NED) and Britany Anderson (JAM) All likely to feature.
In the Men’s 100m Final, always a feature at any event, there was a bit of a boilover as Italy’s Lamont Jacobs came through for Gold over Fred Kerley (USA) and Canadian Andre de Grasse.
Away from the Olympic Stadium, there was a tremendous quarter final bout in the Men’s Featherweight division at the boxing, as Ghana’s Samuel Takyi finally overcame Colombian Ceiber David Avila Segura on points in the final round. The Colombian dominated the scorecards in the first round, but Takyi came home the stronger fighter in a gripping bout to win on points.
There was yet another Chinese quinella in the Diving, with Tingmao Shi and Han Wang finishing first and second in the Women’s 3m Springboard event. Krysta Palmer from the USA picked up the Bronze as Tom Daley stuck to his knitting.
There was a highly entertaining Men’s Handball game between France and Norway. With the scores tied at 15-15 at halftime, Norway came home a little stronger to take it out 32-29. However, it was level-pegging all the way, and France’s first loss at the tournament.
In Gymnastics, the Gold Medals were shared around. The Women’s Vault was won by Brazilian Rebecca Andrade, whilst Max Whitlock (GBR) won the Men’s Pommel Horse Gold. In the Uneven Bars, Belgian Nina Derwael stormed home for Gold, whilst Artem Dolgopyat just held on to win Israel’s second ever Olympic Gold Medal on the Floor Exercise.
Follow Keith on Twitter.
You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.