By Keith Miller
A delayed start to events this morning as the Women’s Triathlon was put back for a while. Once underway it made for slippery conditions on the bike, with a few dropping out long the way. Ultimately, Bermudan Flora Duffy won her country’s first ever Gold Medal, and only their second ever medal, following Clarence Hill in the Heavyweight Boxing taking Bronze in the Heavyweight division in 1976.
It was reasonably easy going for the ROC in their Women’s Volleyball game against Argentina, although they took a while to warm up. They blew hot and cold for a while before their reviving and blocking game allowed them to dominate the final two sets, coming out comfortable 3-0 winners.
In Handball, the Japanese women took a step closer to history – they are well in contention for the quarter final stage after beating Montenegro in a thrilling 29-26 win. Goalkeeper Sakura Kametani was the star of the show, with her superior save percentage really making a huge difference to the result.
Erika Fairweather couldn’t repeat her heroics in the pool, finishing 8th in her 200m Freestyle semi-final, well off the pace. But that in no way detracts from a fine Olympics for the youngster – she will be much better for the experience. That left Katie Ledecky & Ariarne Titmus to fight out the final again tomorrow.
In the Sevens, New Zealand fought back well to beat Australia, and then took out Canada in the quarter final. I did not watch much of that event again – for starters I’m not much of a fan, but the camera angles were making me feel decidedly unwell. Did manage to tune in time to see the Seppos beating GBR, so there’s that. Until they lost.
The Argentinians overcame South Africa in the quarter finals, which left them to take on Fiji in the semi-final tomorrow as New Zealand take on GBR. Fiji slid their way past Australia, and never really looked threatened.
I tuned in to watch Serbia and Ukraine go head-to-head in the Mixed 10m Air Pistol event but had absolutely no idea how the scoring system worked. I was insufficiently invested, so flagged it accordingly.
The Australian men dealt to the Argentinians in the hockey, 5-2, despite Argentina going ahead early. It was a somewhat disappointing 2-2 draw for New Zealand against the home nation, with a Kane Russell Penalty Stroke hitting the post. But the defence at times was average – the second (extremely impressive) goal from Tanaka showcased a pretty poor effort at the back, and there was some sloppy control on the ball. After a great performance against Spain, they will need to take another step up if they want to reach the next round.
Controversy at the boxing, whenthoroughly impressive New Zealander David Nyika completely dominated Moroccan Youness Baalla. Nyika was in a class of his own, and he is now a genuine Gold Medal prospect. It was a classy and intelligent performance. It was therefore sad that his performance was overshadowed by the Moroccan fighter turning into an absolute arsehole and doing his best/worst Mike Tyson impression.
Luuka Jones followed up her Silver Medal in Rio with a highly credible 6th in the Canoe Slalom final. It was a good performance in very trying conditions, and there were a few upsets in a very difficult second day course. Australian Jess Fox was looking a certainty for the Gold until she copped a two second penalty and had to settle for the Bronze. German Ricarda Funk came through for Gold, with Spaniard Maialen Chourraut adding a Silver Medal to the Gold she won in Rio.
In the Women’s Football, New Zealand needed a good showing against Sweden to save some face after the hammering from the USA. With Sweden two goals clear at half time that looked unlikely, but they hung on well. Sweden was understrength, but at least there was a little fight shown from New Zealand.
After all that, it was time for an early night. Don’t want to peak too early you know.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.