The focus for New Zealand largely shifted back on to the water as Lisa Carrington made her first appearance in Tokyo. And what a start – in her K1 200m heat she cruised away from the field to win and drop straight into the semi-finals. She then paired up with Caitlyn Regal to do exactly the same again in the K2 500m. In the other heat, the second pairing of Teneale Hatton and Alicia Hoskin finished a distant fourth but managed to qualify for the semi-final as well.
At the Olympic Stadium, we were treated to the sight of two-time Olympic champion Ivan Tikhon (BLR) competing in the Hammer. He was competitive, but unable to to make it through to the final competition. Still, not bad for a 45-year-old.
There were all sorts of drama during the Heats of the Women’s 1500m. Canadian Gabriela Dobues-Stafford (owner of one of the best hairdos seen in Tokyo to date) won Heat 1, While Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands took out Heat 2 – but only after being flattened with a lap to go. Remarkably, Hassan went on to with the 5000m during the evening session as well, setting up a potential double. However, the favourite will most likely be Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, who easily took care of Heat 3.
In the 100m Hurdles, Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn looked relatively comfortable in beating World Record Holder Kendra Harrison (USA) to take the Gold Medal. Jamaican Megan Tapper hung on for the Bronze.
There were a couple of close finished elsewhere with the Korean Women’s Handball team clawing back late in the game to draw with Angola 31-31 and keep their quarter final hopes alive. They snuck through and will play Sweden in the next stage. In the Water Polo, Italy and Hungary had both qualified for the next stage of the Men’s event but fought out a tense 5-5 draw in the final round of pool play.
20-year-old New Zealand weightlifter Kanah Andrews-Nahu, competing in her first Olympics, will have gained a wealth of experience from her time in Tokyo. In the 87kg class she lifted a total of 206kg. But in that event, all the talk was about the long-awaited arrival of Laurel Hubbard. Realistically, she was never really a chance for Gold, but a medal was certainly not out of the question. Unfortunately for Hubbard her three no-lifts had her out of the competition before she had even really started, which was a disappointing end.
There was a massive upset in the Women’s Hockey as India ended the Australian run, winning 1-0 in the quarter finals. Sadly for New Zealand they were headed the same way, barely firing a shot in their 3-0 loss to the World Champion Netherlands side. The Circle Penetration stat (28-3) spoke volumes about their lack of impact, and once again it was down to Grace O’Hanlon to keep the scoring down. After a great win over Argentina in the first round, it was all downhill from there and they will be heading home very disappointed.
New Zealand Diver Anton Down-Jenkins took a cautious approach in relation to degrees of difficulty but executed well to make sure he qualified for the semi-final stage, finishing 16th. His was a reasonably consistent performance, and he will look to gain confidence by doing well in a world class field.
Action was underway at the Velodrome as the Women’s Team Pursuit team kicked off proceedings for New Zealand. They were 6th best on the night, and now face Australia to see whether they can finish with a good enough time to compete for Bronze. The Men’s team did well to finish third and will now come up against a very strong Italian side to try and make it through to the Gold medal race. The Australian team suffered a mishap when the handlebars on Alex Porter’s bike snapped, faceplanting him into the boards. The Australians were allowed another attempt and finished a brave 5th.
The first Gold on the track was won by the Chinese Women’s Team Sprint, who beat Germany in the final race. The ROC took out the Bronze by beating the Netherlands.
A big upset in the Womens Football semi-final, with Canada defeating the USA 1-0. They will now come up against Sweden, who beat Australia by the same scoreline, to battle it out for the Gold Medal.
Torrential rain struck the evening session of the Track & Field, causing delays in the Discus & Pole Vault events. However, history was made on the track when Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali became the first non-Kenyan athlete to win the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase Olympic Gold Medal since 1980. Ethiopian Lamecha Girma grabbed Silver, whilst it was not all gloom and doom for Kenya, with Benjamin Kegen collecting the Bronze.
The final event of the night, as highlighted earlier, was the comfortable win by Sifan Hassan in the Women’s 5000m, capping off another great day in Tokyo.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.