As far as New Zealand Olympic history goes, you’d be hard pressed to go past the magical hour today on the water. After consecutive fourth placings at London and Rio, Emma Twigg finally got the Gold she had been so desperately hunting for in the Single Sculls. She timed her race (and her regatta) to perfection, and after pushing out to a solid lead reasonably early on, came home for a comfortable, and emotional, win in a new Olympic best time.
The Women’s Eights were next, and hopes were high for a medal. The Canadians came out with a hiss and a roar and managed to stave off a brave fight from the New Zealanders, who finished with a highly credible Silver Medal. In the process, Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast became their country’s first duel Olympic medallists in Rowing in the same Olympic regatta.
Following that, the Men’s Eights – who had to battle through a repechage to make their final – were hoping for a medal of some description, but few people could foretell what was about to happen. They had a solid, if relatively unspectacular, first half of the race, but really went to town in the third quarter, creating a convincing lead. They held on for Gold in fantastic finish, securing our first Gold Medal in the event for 49 years
The Track & Field got underway, and the first New Zealander in action was Hamish Kerr in the High Jump. What a start! Kerr had a slight hiccup at 2.25m, but after clearing that on his second jump, went over 2.28m on his first. This left him qualifying third out of his pool and into the final – a tremendous achievement. Camille Buscomb was well off the pace in the Women’s 5,000m heats, finishing 14th.
All eyes were then on Dame Val, who looked focussed and determined. She put three consistent attempts together, with a best of 18.83, qualifying third in her pool. A medal is not out of the question, but it will be tough. But the real surprise was in Pool A, where young New Zealander Maddison-Lee Wesche managed a personal best of 18.65m (followed up with an 18.53m no less) to qualify 10th for the final. An excellent effort.
A surprise medal is always a wonderful thing, and for Marcus Daniell & Michael Venus to take out the Bronze medal over the USA team of Krajicek & Sandgren (has anyone checked his Twitter account?) was fantastic. After taking out a tight first set 7-6, they come home strong in set two and secured the medal.
Speaking of medals, Heavyweight Boxer David Nyika is now assured of one, after beating Belarusian Uladzislau Smiahlikau convincingly in his quarter final. It has been two fantastic performances from Nyika to date, but he comes up against a quality fighter in Russian Muslim Gadzhimagomedov in his semi-final. This will be a must watch event on Tuesday at 3.18pm here. Nyika is certainly not without his chances for going at least one better than Bronze.
The BMX racing was a superb watch, and unfortunately carnage prevailed in the semis and finals. Reigning Men’s Olympic champion Connor Fields came down very heavily in the third semi-final and was stretchered off to hospital amidst horrific scenes – at last report he was awake and in stable condition. New Zealand’s Rebecca Petch steered clear of trouble, finishing 4th, 6th and 6th in the semi-final runs, missing out on a place in the final, ultimately won by Bethany Shriever (GBR), with Colombian legend Mariana Pajon grabbing Silver.
In the pool, Lewis Clareburt finished 8th in the 200m Individual Medley final against very strong competition. The future looks decidedly bright for the 22-year-old Wellingtonian, who managed to make the final in both of his disciplines at his first Olympics.
Madaline Davidson just missed out on the Trampolining final, coming in as second reserve. She put together two consistent performances and will take a lot from the experience.
After a solid start to the tournament, the Men’s Black Sticks have fallen well off the pace in the hockey after a disappointing 4-1 loss to Argentina. After taking an early lead through another Kane Russell Penalty Corner, they could not hold off the spirited Argentinian side. It was a lacklustre effort in the second half. Ryan Fox was 10 shots off the pace in a weather-interrupted second round of the Golf, with Xander Schauffele the surprise one-shot leader at the halfway stage.
The Women’s Sevens side continued their good form, beating the ROC 33-0 in their final pool game. In one of the foibles of the draw, they then took on the ROC in their quarter final and went three points better. They now come up against Fiji, who knocked out reigning champions Australia in their quarter final.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.