You take two weeks leave. You park yourself in front of the TV for 16 hours a day in pure dedication. Through that time, you have one appointment. And in that time, you miss New Zealand’s first medal being won. Bugger.
Hayden Wilde came through for bronze in a Triathlon race which was conducted in really challenging conditions. The emotion he showed afterwards was pure and genuine, but it was difficult to ascertain whether the tears were from joy, or the ongoing habit of people who should know better calling it “triath-a-lon”. Every. Single. Olympics. Regardless, take a bow Mr Wilde – you are our first 2020/2021 medallist.
In an uncompromising match-up, the Men’s Handball game between France & Brazil was a fun watch. Ultimately, the French proved too classy, wining 34-29. But it was close all the way through, and each time it appeared that France would steal away, the Brazilians came back. Unfortunately, not quite enough to warrant a close shave joke.
In the Sevens, Fiji snuck past the host country, NZ beat South Korea and Australia lost to Argentina. I didn’t see any of it. By choice. Then NZ advanced by beating Argentina, and then, someone beat someone else.
Off to the pool to see whether Erika Fairweather could make a splash (geddit?) in her 400m Freestyle final. Whilst she couldn’t repeat her heroics of yesterday, at the age of 17, things are looking rosy. Katie Ledecky was beaten for the first time in an individual Olympic event by Australian Ariarne Titmus, a deserved winner. Although the win was a little overshadowed by Titmus’s coach acting like a twat. Oh well.
Fairweather then swam another PB to make the semi-fnals of the 200m Freestyle. Canadian Maggie MacNeil won Gold in the Women’s 100m Butterfly, although it took some convincing before she finally realised what had happened.
Big news in the Diving, as iconic Great Britain diver Tom Daley finally tasted Olympic success, pairing up with Matty Lee to take out the Men’s 10m Synchronised Platform competition. It was a nervous wait after the pair complete d a magnificent last dive, and they watched the Chinese pair of Yuan Cao and Aisen Chen come up only slightly short.
Time for some boxing, and the standard was…ok. A definite highlight was Canadian Caroline Veyre’s performance in taking apart young Croatian Nikolina Cacic. She looked a real class above and is looking good for future rounds.
The Mountain Biking course was great. There were a few passing opportunities, but plenty of elevation as well. It looked like tough going, and few were tougher than Mathieu van der Poe (below), who came a cropper in the early stages, broke every bone in his body, died, came back to life, and carried on with the race. Probably. New Zealander Anton Cooper fought really hard, doing well to finish 6th, in a race won by Tom Pidcock (GBR).
In the Fencing, it was semi-final time in the Women’s Individual Sabre. Manon Brunet (France) and Sofia Pozdniakova (ROC) fought out a great match, with both players receiving yellow (and then red) cards after advancing prior to the call of “allez”. A great start from Brunet saw her go ahead 5-1, but ultimately, Pozdniakova came out the victor 15-10. In the second match up, Hungarian Anna Marton took an early 4-0 lead against Sofya Velikaya (ROC), before the Russian stormed back to win 15-8 in a fine performance. In the Gold medal match, it was Pozdniakova who won through, 15-11.
History in the Men’s Foil as Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long bagged Gold – their first Gold since 1996, and first ever in Fencing.
Another night finished off with hockey, as the Women’s Black Sticks took on Japan (not to be confused with the Men’s Black Sticks who also play Japan next). After a fantastic win over Argentina, the New Zealanders lacked a little in execution to start, and after conceding a goal from a Penalty Corner, did well to claw back two from Olivia Merry & Hope Ralph to lead at the break.
Things then got a little messy and Japan dominated the third period, which resulted in Liz Thompson receiving a yellow card. The lack of control returned, but New Zealand did enough to hang on, and their 100% winning record remained intact.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.