The morning started with a casual 50km Walk for Men. This hip surgeon’s wet dream got underway early in the Tokyo morning to ensure that the competitors didn’t have to battle the inner-city streets in the peak of the heat. It didn’t seem to matter, as some started to be lapped just 15km into the event by early leader Yadong Luo (China). In the end, Polish walker Dawid Tomala took the Gold, a healthy 36 seconds ahead of German Jonathan Hilbert. Canada’s Evan Dunfee took the Bronze, while New Zealand’s Quinton Rew battled on strongly to finish in 16th place, 7m 25s behind Tomala.
Lisa Carrington was back out on the water, teaming up with Caitlin Regal, Teneale Hatton and Alicia Hoskin in the K4 500 heats. With the top two automatically qualifying for the semi-final, they finished second behind a strong Hungarian four. Don’t rule out yet another medal for Carrington.
There was another remarkable finals game at the hockey, with India battling back from a two goal deficit to level 2-2 with GBR in the Women’s Bronze Medal match. They then took the lead before the British levelled up and scored the match winner in the final quarter, resulting in heartache for an Indian side chasing their first Olympic medal. The Gold Medal was later taken out by the Netherlands, who always looked in control in the final against a plucky Argentinian side, with all goals coming in the second quarter.
Time will tell if we see a fourth round at the Women’s Golf, with a typhoon scheduled to visit Tokyo over the next 48 hours. If it stays as a 54 hole tournament, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko has timed her rune for a medal perfectly, with a 5 under 66 taking her into a tie for Bronze with three others. The USA’s Nelly Korda remains three shots in the lead from India’s Aditi Ashok.
The semi-final Women’s Volleyball clash between Rio Silver Medallists Serbia and USA (who won the Bronze in 2016) was expected to be a real classic. But the USA proved far too strong for the Serbians, winning 3-0, although the Serbians did fight back to make the last set a close affair. They will take on Brazil in the final – they comfortably disposed of South Korea, winning 25-16, 25-16 and 25-16.
Sport Climbing, as predicted here, has been the real sleeper hit of the Games – it seems wherever you go at the moment, people are talking about the speed climb, the bouldering and the lead. Polish climber Aleksandra Miroslaw took out the Speed Climb Event, and in the process, broke the World Record with an eye-watering 6.84secs. But in the Bouldering and Lead events, Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret proved to be an absolute machine, taking out both. It is a real shame that the Sport Climbing was only a four-day event – it has been incredible viewing.
Ellessa Andres, one of New Zealand’s breakout stars of the Games was back at the velodrome, looking to qualify for the Women’s Sprint. She made her mark early, coming out as the second rider and breaking the Olympic Record in the process. However, she was not alone. An incredible 17 of the starting field went under the existing Olympic Record. After defeating Australian Karle McCulloch in the next round, she suffered a narrow loss to the Ukraine’s Olena Starikova, meaning she had to go through a repechage in order to proceed. She sprinted brilliantly to beat Shanju Bao of China in that, and now moves on to the Top 16, where she will face World Record holder Kelsey Mitchell of Canada. Andrews has the look of someone who is growing in confidence each day.
The semi-finals in the Women’s Handball were extremely tense battles. First up, France took a one goal lead over the Swedish side into half-time. From there, it was to and fro, before France managed to double their lead, winning 29-27. From a Scandinavian perspective, it wasn’t much better in the second game. Three late goals in the first half proved the difference at the break for the ROC over Norway, and whilst the Norwegians battled back strongly in the second period, it wasn’t quite enough, and the ROC were through to the Gold Medal match with a 27-26 victory.
There were six Gold Medals were dished out at the Olympic Stadium in the evening session. In the Women’s Javelin, China’s Shiying Liu threw 1.7m further than her competition to win the Gold, whilst World Record holder Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei ensured his country’s most successful games in winning the Men’s 5000m race.
The Women’s 400m Final was comprehensively taken out by Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) who was almost a second quicker than Silver Medallist Marileidy Paulino from the Dominican Republic. At the age of 35, USA legend Allyson Felix took the Bronze. The Women’s 1500m final was won by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in Olympic Record time, with Laura Muir (GBR) taking the Silver, and 5000m winner Sifan Hassan (NED) the Bronze.
Jamaica pipped the USA to win Gold in the 4 x 100m Women’s Relay, with Great Britain grabbing the Bronze. In the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay, the Italians (yes, the Italians) took Gold by just 0.01 secs over a plucky GBR team with Canada finishing with the Bronze. This capped off a truly woeful track meeting for the USA in general, who couldn’t even make the final in the Men’s event. With only one day left on the track, plus the marathon, they have secured only two Gold Medals. What a shame.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.