By Keith Miller
The day started for me with both the Men’s Decathlon and the Women’s Heptathlon events. Canadian Damian Warner got off to an absolute flier, breaking the World Record for the 100m in the Decathlon, following that up with an Olympic Best on the Long Jump. However, across the remaining three events, Australian Ashley Moloney was able to close the gap to 81 points after Day One. Pierce LePage (Canada) sits in third at this stage.
The Heptathlon is looking to be a lot closer with Anouk Vetter (NED) holding a 27 point lead over Belgian Noor Vidts, with another Belgian (Nafi Thiam) a further 20 points back. After a DQ in the 200m, British favourite Katarina Johnson-Thompson now sits in 22nd. There were a couple of unfortunate falls in both events, with Yorgelis Rodriguez ending her Olympics on the second hurdle in the first event, and Belgian Decathlete Thomas injuring himself during the Long Jump to also end his Games.
Lydia Ko finished Round 1 tied for 16th at the Golf with a 1 under 70. A double bogey on the 11th hole undid some of the solid work on the first nine holes, leaving her 4 shots away from Swedish leader Madalene Sagstrom.
Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Regal were back in the kayak, this time in the individual K1 500. After a false start from the French competitor in her heat, Regal battled on strongly to ensure a comfortable entry to the semi-final finishing 3rd – in the process she appeared to be able to conserve a bit of energy. In her heat, Lisa Carrington got away to a typically strong start and cruised to a boat length win, also able to conserve energy in the process.
In the K2 1000, Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie performed very well in their quarter final to finish a very close second to Belarus. It was neck and neck, and they had a strong enough finish to keep the lead to a whisker at the end, with Italy back in a clear third.
There was a stunning 5-set quarter final thriller in the Women’s Volleyball between Turkey and Korea. After taking the first set, Turkey then lost their advantage when the Koreans took out the next two. However, Turkey responded brilliantly in the fourth set to take it out 25-18. The fifth set decider was in the balance until Korea grabbed three match points – the Turkish side did well to stave off defeat, but ultimately the Koreans took out the decider 15-13 in a wonderful game.
Norway were the favourites going into their Women’s Handball quarter final against Hungary, but struggled to put away their opposition, who were, ummm, hungry. Thwarted by some great goalkeeping at both ends of the court, it was a tight affair until Norway’s class showed through, taking a three-goal lead with 5 minutes to play. But in the end, Norway headed off to their fourth consecutive Olympic semi-final by winning out 26-22. After losing their first three games, Hungary did very well to reach this stage of the competition.
Then it was time for the velodrome again, with a number of New Zealanders in medal contention. In the Individual Sprint, Ethan Mitchell finished 24th and Sam Webster 18th and progressed to the round of 32. Mitchell then came unstuck against Jeffrey Hoogland while Webster overcame Sebastain Vigier and will come up against Max Levy in the next round.
In the Keirin, Ellesse Andrews came fourth in her heat, but ultimately won her repechage to make it through to the quarter final stage.
The Men’s Team Pursuit were in a ding dong battle for the Bronze with the Australians, the lead seemingly changing at every lap. Then tragedy for the NZ side as Aaron Gate touched wheels with a teammate and crashed to the bards, leaving them struggling to stave off the advancing Australians. Amidst muted celebrations, the Bronze Medal was theirs. Denmark looked in charge of the Gold Medal race, but the Italian team pulled out all the stops to claim an extraordinary win.
At the sailing, correspondent @MadMaclegend advised that the 470 dup of Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Wilcox went into the medal race in fourth, with a shot at making it on to the podium. Despite the New Zealanders finishing third in the final race, the Australians – who had already won Gold – won the medal race as well to completely take the piss, with the Swedes finishing in the Silver position and the Spaniards in grabbing the Bonze. The NZ duo were one agonising place back.
New Zealand’s David Liti finished a highly meritorious 5th in the 109kg+ Men’s Weightlifting, with a Personal Best of 236kgs in the Clean & Jerk. In his first Olympic Games he handles the pressure well and came away as a genuine crowd favourite.
On the track, Canada’s Andre de Grasse won his country’s first Gold Medal on the Men’s 200m final since 1928, holding off three fast-finishing Americans. His new National Record of 19.62 seconds meant that he was able to go one better than the Silver Medal he gained in Rio behind you-know-who.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.