On Nigeria’s Participation At The 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Sunday Dare

A file photo of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare.

 

 

Not wanting to add to the public distraction, I have deliberately waited until the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games before making any observations regarding the various reports on Nigeria’s participation in the quadrennial games.

 

2. This was out of respect for our athletes who had committed so much effort and made such considerable personal sacrifice in order to represent our nation as best as they could.  Overall, we should be proud of Team Nigeria and the effort they made. The bottom line is that these games should always be about the athletes and the spirit of friendly competition and excellence the Olympics are meant to engender.

 

3. Sadly, some people seem not to have embraced either the good cause of our national athletic pursuits or the collegial and noble spirit that the Olympics promote.

 

4. The rancour and confusion some people seem intent on sowing are terribly out of place given the impressive performance of our team and good spirit with which they performed. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now over, which means we can begin to honestly and objectively assess what was accomplished as well as what we must do to improve performance for future contests.

 

5. Nigeria succeeded with two (2) medals – a silver in wrestling won by Blessing Oborodudu and a bronze in long jump won by Ese Brume. Their performances were inspiring for they affirmed we can and should compete at the highest levels across the full range of sports events. Yes, we had wished and worked for more medals. But we must also put things in perspective. The medal outcome at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stands as Nigeria’s best result in the last 13 years.

 

6. Moreover, the athletes of Team Nigeria did their nation proud. Many of them reached the finals of their respective sports and, competing with all they had, were in contention for medals until the final moment. Anyone who saw their efforts would have nothing but the utmost respect for them, their coaches, and all the technical staff that made Tokyo possible.

 

7. I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his unrelenting support for Sports and Youth development and indeed for the opportunity to serve and lead our participation at these games. Team Nigeria placed 74th position on the final  Olympic medal table among 205 participating countries, despite our small contingent to the games. We were 8th among 52 African countries that participated. Team Nigeria excelled in many areas that engender hope for greater success in the future.

 

8. Nigeria had five Olympic finalists in 100 meters Hurdles Women, Short Put, Long jump, Wrestling, and 100 meters men. Team Nigeria broke the 13-year-old jinx of no medal in Long jump and 25 years of no finalist in the men’s 100 meters and secured a medal in wrestling for the very first time. Overall, our performance was good, and more importantly, it is headed in the right direction.

 

9. While the general trends and overall performance were positive, I must mention two unfortunate incidents that occurred.

 

10. First is the mishap resulting in 10 Team Nigeria athletes being ruled ineligible to compete for missing their mandatory Out of Competition Test, OTC. When notice of this ruling got to me, I immediately mobilized my team and the AFN leadership to see how the situation could be salvaged. We mounted a vigorous appeal process with the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, and had the team members complete the tests.  However,  timing became a critical issue. Despite our energetic appeal, the deciding committee made its announcement which gave no latitude to our team members for what was only an inadvertent lapse.

 

11. The adverse decision was painful to accept. We had prepared carefully and eagerly for the Olympics with the expectation that each person, federation, coach, and athlete would also complete the necessary preparations required of them. As Minister, I ensured that all necessary approvals were done so that all requisite tests and exams could be timely completed. For me, this unfortunate incident is most painful because these athletes had prepared long and hard and also in view of the challenging circumstances due to COVID-19.

 

12. As the Minister I must bear some institutional responsibility for this lapse.  I also had to depend and expect that each person in the long and often technical chain will perform their role expeditiously and with precision. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone failed in their responsibility and as Minister, I bear the responsibility and brunt of criticism.  But that is not enough. I must move to ensure that Nigeria never experiences another such moment. I have ordered a full investigation that will not only uncover what happened but will also, recommend a process where such lapses can never occur in the future and initiate leveraging compliance monitoring technology to guardrail this.

 

13. I have personally apologized to the affected athletes. Here and now, I personally apologize to all Nigerians for this ineligibility episode. The AFN has also taken responsibility and apologized to the athletes and to Nigerians.
14. Already, a new Medical and Anti-Doping Commission has been set up to establish a foolproof system of testing and ensure Nigeria exits the A Categorization by WADA.

 

Also, Blessing Okagbare remains one of our best athletes who has served Nigeria well. We empathize with her. Nigeria will monitor closely developments around her temporary suspension and appeal.

 

15. The second issue had to do with the apparel provided for the team.

 

16. The Ministry’s responsibility and that of the 38 National Sporting Federations, NSFs of kitting are well spelled out. The production of general wears for Team Nigeria is always the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. Procurement for the Competition Wear is the responsibility of the respective federations because of the fact that each sport requires specialized outfits. Boxing, Wrestling, Athletics, and each of the federations need different gears. The Ministry provides budgetary support to the federations.

 

17. The quantity of competition wears given to each athlete is the decision of the particular federation. No complaints came to my notice until the Tik Tok Video posted by one of the athletes went viral. We Immediately stepped in to manage the situation.
The Federation involved has been directed to provide a detailed explanation about the kit.

 

18. Team Nigeria was properly kitted for the games with a 9-item backpack using a local manufacturer in harmony with President Buhari’s policy on local content.

 

19. Before any federation which is a component of Team Nigeria however wears any brand, it must refer to the Ministry and the NOC for clearance and approval. The Ministry and NOC must be fully aware of the contract details by the Federation to protect the rights and freedoms of the athletes and ensure Nigeria’s interests are protected. In this situation, the Ministry wishes to state that the contractual arrangement between AFN and Puma prior to the Olympic Games has generated a lot of controversy between the former President of the Federation and the former Board members. I will not want to go into too many details on this issue because it is sub judice. Suffice it to say that the Ministry was not part of the agreement. The Tik Tok video on the issue was an attempt to create a media frenzy to embarrass Nigeria.

 

20. Following from the above, the issue relating to the competition wears vis a vis the alleged arrangement with Puma is most unfortunate. I have demanded a proper investigation into this matter. Such an inquiry will unearth the truth about how some people tried to sabotage Nigeria’s participation and undermine the country and our Olympic athletes.

 

21. On assumption of office as Minister of Youth and Sports 2 years ago, I began a gradual reformation of the National Sports Federations, NSFs.  For years, a few of these federations were very badly run. These reforms will take time. There already is and will be stiff resistance from some quarters, which is what we are witnessing now. But we are resolute to establish better sport’s management, a legacy President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous of bequeathing to our sports development.

 

22. There is much to hope for the future. In Tokyo, most of our athletes were young and debutants – first-time Olympians.
23. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics experience will move and challenge me to push our sports to a higher level and seek a better condition for all our athletes.

 

24. Team Nigeria went to Tokyo 2020 and competed against the best in the world. Two Olympics medals and a statistical performance that has a place in the history of our Olympic participation despite being one of our smallest contingents. We can perform even much better if we all hold onto the lessons learned.

 

25. I  remain grateful to all the athletes that so represented Nigeria well.

Brazil Beat Spain To Retain Olympic Football Crown

Brazil's gold medallists (C) celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's football competition at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 7, 2021. LOIC VENANCE / AFP
Brazil’s gold medallists (C) celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s football competition at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 7, 2021. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Brazil won Olympic men’s football gold for the second consecutive tournament as substitute Malcom struck the winner in a 2-1 victory over Spain after extra time on Saturday.

Matheus Cunha took advantage of a defensive lapse to score in first-half stoppage time after Richarlison smashed a penalty over the crossbar for Brazil.

Spain equalised on the hour when Mikel Oyarzabal crashed home a thumping volley, but former Barcelona forward Malcom secured Brazil the title with his goal in the 108th minute.

Brazil, who won gold on home soil at Rio 2016, became the fifth team to retain their Olympic crown on another triumphant night in Yokohama, where they claimed the last of their five World Cup titles in 2002.

After Neymar led Brazil to Olympic gold, this time it was the turn of Dani Alves to captain the country in the final against a strong Spain side featuring six players who participated at Euro 2020.

Unbeaten at the Olympics against a European nation since 1988, Brazil almost fell behind when Diego Carlos scooped the ball over his own goalkeeper before hooking off the line as Oyarzabal tried to pick out Dani Olmo.

A poor clearance from Unai Simon allowed Richarlison to set up Douglas Luiz, whose spinning effort was turned behind by the Spain goalkeeper.

Brazil needed penalties to get past Mexico in the semi-finals, and they were awarded a spot-kick here after a VAR review as Simon flattened Cunha while attempting to punch away a cross.

But Everton forward Richarlison wasted the chance to add to his competition-leading five goals by blazing well over.

There was no let-off for Spain a second time though when Alves sent the ball high into the area, where a hesitant Pau Torres gave Cunha time to control and slot into the corner.

Marco Asensio, Spain’s match-winner in extra time against Japan in the previous round, lasted just 45 minutes as Carlos Soler came on for the second half, inadvertently getting in the way of a goalbound effort from Oyarzabal.

Brazil nearly doubled their lead when a quick break resulted in Simon making a terrific stop with his legs to divert Richarlison’s shot onto the bar.

Spain youngster Bryan Gil, who will join Tottenham Hotspur on his return from Japan, rattled the bar two minutes from the end, as an extra 30 minutes was required for the fifth time in eight knockout matches.

Malcom, who endured a difficult spell at Barcelona in 2018-19 before leaving for Zenit Saint Petersburg, ran onto a long ball from Antony, racing past Jesus Vallejo and firing past Simon to etch his name into the history books.

AFP

USA Beat France To Claim 4th Straight Olympics Basketball Gold

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 7: Bam Adebayo #13 of the USA Men’s National Team, Draymond Green #14 of the USA Men’s National Team and Kevin Durant #7 of the USA Men’s National Team celebrate with Managing Director Jerry Colangelo of the USA Men’s National Team, Coaching Assistant Ime Udoka, Assistant Coach Will Hardy, Jim Tooley, and Chip Engelland after defeating the France Men’s National Team to win the Gold Medal Game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Saitama Super Arena on August 7, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ned Dishman / AFP)

 

 

The USA edged past France to extend their men’s Olympic basketball reign and America’s Nelly Korda sealed women’s golf gold as the busiest day at the Tokyo Games got into full swing on Saturday.

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s marathon in intense heat in Sapporo as storms lurked elsewhere, interrupting the golf as Korda held a one-stroke lead with two holes left.

But top-ranked Korda, sister of six-time US LPGA Tour winner Jessica and daughter of former tennis player Petr, held her nerve on the resumption to complete an American golf sweep after Xander Schauffele won the men’s competition.

China topped the medals table with 37 golds, four ahead of the United States, on the penultimate day of the pandemic-delayed 2020 Games, the first postponed Olympics.

The day’s opening medal went to Jepchirchir, who timed 2hr 27min 20sec in hot and humid conditions in Sapporo — the second slowest winning time for a women’s Olympic marathon.

The race, moved from Tokyo to avoid the capital’s summer heat, started an hour early as Sapporo was also hit by sweltering conditions.

“If we’d started at 7:00 am, by the finish after 9:00 am it would have been too hot for us,” Jepchirchir said.

“When I heard that (the start time) was changed (to 6:00 am) I was so happy. I said: ‘Wow, that’s nice’.”

 

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 7: Kevin Durant #7 of the USA Men’s National Team high fives Jrue Holiday #12 of the USA Men’s National Team during the Gold Medal Game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Saitama Super Arena on August 7, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

 

The marathon was one of the few events where fans were allowed at the Olympics, which have mostly unfolded in front of empty venues because of coronavirus risks.

In boxing, British former factory worker Galal Yafai defeated Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in the men’s flyweight final, and Bulgaria’s Stoyka Krasteva won the women’s flyweight.

 

USA’s players celebrate their victory in the men’s final basketball match between France and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

 

– Baseball final –
France handed the United States their first Olympic basketball defeat since 2004 in the group stage but they could not repeat the feat in the final, narrowly going down 87-82 in Saitama.

NBA All-Star Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 29 points as the Americans survived some nervous late moments to prove the doubters wrong.

Later on “Super Saturday”, Brazil play Spain in the men’s football final and Britain’s Tom Daley goes for the individual 10m platform title.

The climax to track and field at the Olympic Stadium includes the men’s 1500m final, with Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot facing a major challenge from Norwegian youngster Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the women’s 10,000m and the 4x400m relays.

Japan and the US cross swords in the men’s baseball final in what would be a morale-boosting win for the host country, where the Games have had a mixed reception.

The men’s madison is the dish of the day at the Izu Velodrome.

At the Nippon Budokan, karate’s fleeting appearance as an Olympic sport concludes with kumite finals for men (+75kg) and women (+61kg). Karate made its Olympic debut in Tokyo but will not figure at Paris 2024.

On the most gold-heavy day there are also finals in modern pentathlon, equestrian team jumping, artistic swimming, handball and water polo.

The Games will close on Sunday in the same way they started on July 23 — with a ceremony at the spectator-free, 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

Tokyo 2020: Enekwechi Finishes 12th In Men’s Shot Put Final

Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi competes in the men’s shot put qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP

 

Chukwuebuka Enekwechi on Thursday failed to add to Nigeria’s medal tally in the Men’s shot put final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Enekwechi had claimed gold at the 2019 African Games in Rabat with a throw of 21.28 metres but the athlete could only manage a 19.74 metres distance placing him last overall.

World record holder in both the indoor and outdoor events in shot put, Ryan Crouser of the United States, smashed his previous Olympic record of 22.52 metres set at the Rio Games with a personal best of 23.30 metres.

2019 World Champion, Joe Kovacs, also of the US, won the silver medal while New Zealander Tom Walsh settled for bronze with a throw of  22.47metres.

Enekwechi, 28, made the headlines on Tuesday and Wednesday after a video of him washing his jersey in a sink went viral.

He had posted the video himself on his TikTok handle with the caption, “When you made the Olympic Finals, but you only have one jersey”.

The now-deleted video sparked controversies about the welfare of Nigeria’s contingent to Japan.

Enekwechi would later go on to assure Nigerians that the development had not hampered his preparations ahead of the finals.

Unfortunately, he didn’t win.

Tokyo 2020: Kenya’s Korir, Rotich Dominate Men’s 800 Metres Final

Gold medallist Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir (R) and silver medallist Kenya’s Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich celebrate after the men’s 800m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 4, 2021.
Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP

 

Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir won the men’s 800 metres Olympic title on Wednesday with compatriot Ferguson Rotich taking silver. 

Korir timed 1min 45.06sec with Rotich finishing in 1:45.23 while Poland’s Patryk Dobek took the bronze in 1:45.39.

Korir succeeds fellow Kenyan and two-time champion David Rudisha, who was unable to defend his title due to injury.

Korir, 26, pounced rounding the bend into the home straight, passing Australia’s Peter Bol, and was never seriously threatened from thereon.

Rotich came with a late run but he could not eat significantly into his team-mate’s lead but the 31-year-old looked delighted to have won a medal after finishing fifth behind Rudisha in the 2016 Olympic final.

There was serious disappointment, though, for Botswana’s Nijel Amos who failed to capitalise on his good fortune in being inserted into the final by the judges after falling in his semi-final.

Amos, 27, had been stretchered from the track when he took silver behind Rudisha in the London 2012 final when the Kenyan broke the world record.

This time he sank to his haunches and was on the verge of tears as he finished second last.

Clayton Murphy, the 2016 bronze medallist, trailed in last, just as he did in the 2019 world championships final.

-AFP

Tokyo 2020: Simone Biles Wins Bronze After Mental Health Battle

USA’s Simone Biles poses with her bronze medal during the podium ceremony of the artistic gymnastics women’s balance beam of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Simone Biles made her long-awaited return to the Olympic Games on Tuesday, taking bronze in the beam final won by Chinese teenager Guan Chenchen at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

It was the US superstar’s first taste of competition in Tokyo since dramatically standing down during the women’s team final last week, struggling with the “twisties”, a condition meaning gymnasts lose the ability to orientate themselves in mid-air.

It was Biles’ seventh Olympic medal, equalling Shannon Miller’s record for an American gymnast.

The four-time gold medallist from the Rio Games received a huge cheer from her US teammates when she entered the arena.

With bib 392 on her back, she filed in with the other eight finalists, blowing a kiss to the cameras.

Another cheer rang out when the stadium announcer said: “And now, representing the United States…Simone Biles..”

 

USA’s Simone Biles attends a training session prior the artistic gymnastics women’s balance beam final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Jeff PACHOUD / AFP

 

She looked pensive on her comeback as she waited for her turn to climb up onto the 10cm wide beam for her 90-second routine.

Among the audience was Olympic chief Thomas Bach and two canine cardboard cutouts of her beloved French bulldogs — Lilo and Rambo.

Peeling off her US Team red tracksuit, she practised her dance moves in her star-spangled banner leotard as she waited for her turn as the third to perform.

At 6:11 pm local time (0911 GMT), it was her time. One long week from her first shock withdrawal, the 24-year-old woman from Ohio was finally back at her day job.

Wiping her brow, she approached the beam, chalked up, and finally got the wheels back on her derailed Olympic campaign.

While avoiding any twists incorporated in her favoured and most difficult moves, she put in a solid performance, ending with a double backward somersault, double pike dismount.

Her face breaking into a broad grin, she waved and hugged rivals and team officials, the relief of having performed clear on her face.

Her routine earned the triple world champion on the apparatus 14.000 points.

She was lying second behind Tang Xijing until 16-year-old Guan, the last of the eight finalists to go, put in a superb display to take gold with 14.633 points, relegating Biles to bronze, the same colour she won in Rio.

Bach was one of the first to congratulate her on her comeback, as were ‘Lilo and Rambo’ in their mute manner from the stands after her Tokyo nightmare ended in smiles on the third rung of the beam podium.

-AFP

Tokyo Olympics: D’Tigress Slump To Third Straight Defeat

 

D’Tigress suffered a third straight defeat after being outclassed by their Japanese opponents in the women’s 2020 Olympic’s Basketball – Group B match on Monday.

The African champions lost by an 83-102 scoreline at Saitama Super Arena.

Japan put on an offensive display against Nigeria, draining 19 3-pointers, with Hayashi’s long-ball shooting being a thorn in the flesh of the D’tigress’defence  in the first quarter,

The second quarter was a tightly contested affair with Victoria Macaulay and Ezinne Kalu giving the Nigerian side a glimmer of hope but Saki Hayashi and Nako Motohashi combined well for some vital points to see the quarter 21 -18 in favour of Japan.

Kalu and Ify Ibekwe were well marshaled by the defensive setup of Japan denying them some vital points as the game gradually crept away from the D’Tigress side.

The final quarter saw a resurgent Nigerian side and Evelyn Mawuli was instrumental in this showing, but Hayashi and Miyazawa led a composed side to finish the game as the two leading scorers, posting 23 and 19 points, respectively.

The Nigeria team bowed out of the tournament after making their last appearance at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

 

 

 

Tokyo 2020: Nigeria Guaranteed Medal As Oborududu Reaches Wrestling Final

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

Nigeria on Monday was guaranteed its first medal at the Tokyo Olympics after Blessing Oborududu won her women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match.

Oborududu beat Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold to reach the final.

Although the final match is yet to be played, she is now guaranteed either a gold or silver medal.

Oborududu is also set for the record books as Nigeria’s first ever Olympics medalist in wrestling.

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Oborududu reacts after her win on Monday. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

“This is a real Blessing to Nigeria,” the Minister of Sports Sunday Dare said, reacting to Oborududu’s feat.

“Thank you Blessing for wiping away the pain of the near misses recorded in other events. Nigerians are proud of you. The display is typical of the never say die Nigerian spirit.

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

“Keep the tempo going until we reach the ultimate which is the gold. Don’t give up the fight until you re-write Nigerian Olympics history with a gold medal in the kitty.”

Nigerian athletes have struggled to make a mark at the Tokyo Olympics amid failed drug tests and injuries.

Earlier on Monday, medal hopeful Tobi Amusan had finished fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles final.

Tuesday final

Oborududu, a 10-time African champion will now face top seed Tamyra Stock Mensah in Tuesday’s final, after the American World champion overpowered Ukraine’s Alla Cherkasova 10-4 in the first semi-final.

On her way to the final, Oborududu made light work of Elis Manolova in the round of 16, thrashing the Azerbaijani 13-2 via technical superiority, before securing a hard-fought 3-2 win against Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan in the quarter-finals.

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Azerbaijan's Elis Manolova in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling early round match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Azerbaijan’s Elis Manolova in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling early round match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

After a cagey opening moment in her semi-final bout against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, the energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.

A late fight back saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.

The second seed Oborududu will renew her rivalry with old foe Mensah, as they battle for the ultimate prize – gold medal, with the pair expected to get on the mat around 11.15am Nigerian time.

They last met at the 2019 World championships in Kazakhstan, with the American getting the better of Oborududu on her way to the title.

Canada Stun USA To Reach Olympic Women’s Football Final

Canada’s players celebrate their win in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s semi-final football match between the United States and Canada at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima on August 2, 2021.
Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

 

Jessie Fleming scored a second-half penalty as Canada upset four-time Olympic women’s football champions the United States 1-0 in Kashima on Monday to reach the final for the first time.

Fleming’s 74th-minute spot-kick earned Canada a first win over their neighbours since 2001 and set up a clash with Sweden or Australia for the gold medal.

The defeat ended the Americans’ 36-match unbeaten run against Canada. The world champions will face the losers of Monday’s second semi-final for the consolation of a bronze medal.

The US and Canada combined for seven goals the last time they met at the Olympics, a memorable 4-3 semi-final win for the US after extra time at Old Trafford in 2012.

US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, the hero of their quarter-final win over the Dutch on penalties, required lengthy treatment here to her right knee after landing awkwardly while trying to collect a cross.

Naeher, who saved a spot-kick in normal time and two more in the shootout against the 2019 World Cup runners-up, briefly battled on but was eventually replaced by Adrianna Franch in the first half.

It wasn’t until the introduction of Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press on the hour that the US recorded a first shot on target, a curling strike from Lloyd tipped over by Stephanie Labbe.

Labbe stopped two as Canada edged Brazil on penalties in the previous round, and she produced another sharp save to keep out Julie Ertz’s header at a corner.

The US had advanced to every Olympic final aside from Rio 2016, where they lost to Sweden on penalties in the last eight.

Yet they had won just once in four matches over 90 minutes in Japan and fell behind when Canada were awarded a penalty following a VAR review.

Deanne Rose put Tierna Davidson under pressure and the Canadian went sprawling after a tangle of legs, with the referee pointing the spot after consulting the pitchside monitor.

Fleming tucked the resulting penalty beyond Franch, and there would be no comeback from the Americans — Lloyd’s header clipping the bar in the final minutes as their Olympics came to a tame end.

-AFP

Tokyo Olympics: Amusan Finishes 4th In Women’s Hurdles Final

Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn reacts next to Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan after winning the women’s 100m hurdles final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 2, 2021.
Javier SORIANO / AFP

 

In the final race of the Women’s 100m hurdles event, Team Nigeria’s Oluwatobiloba Amusan got so close to winning a bronze medal.

Amusan got off to a late start, fought her way back but couldn’t catch up with Jamaica’s Megan Tapper who took home the bronze with a time of 12.55 seconds. The Nigerian crossed the line in 12.60 seconds to finish fourth.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won the title, Puerto Rico’s historic first gold in Athletics, and also became the second Puerto Rican to ever win a gold medal. since Tennis player, Monica Puig won Puerto Rico’s first gold medal at the Rio 2016 games.

The 24-year-old clocked a time of 12.37 seconds at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, followed home by Kendra Harrison of the USA who finished in 12.52 seconds.

Camacho-Quinn did not improve on the Olympic record of 12.26 she ran in the semi-finals but she will definitely cherish the win and hopefully help her get over the devastating disqualification experience she suffered in 2016.

It is a painful experience for Amusan who came to the Tokyo Games in fine form and has now finished 4th for the second time at a major competition in 2 years.

Tokyo 2020: Nwokocha Through To 200m Semis

Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou (R) wins the women's 200m heat ahead of Nigeria's Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (R) wins the women’s 200m heat ahead of Nigeria’s Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Team Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha on Monday in Tokyo advanced to the semi-finals in the women’s 200 metres event.

Nwokocha ran a personal best of 22.47 seconds to finish third in heat 1 of the event to gain one of the automatic tickets to the semi-finals.

Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou won the heat with 22.30, while the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo was second with 22.40.

Nwokocha could have been joined by compatriot Blessing Okagbare but the latter was disqualified from the competition after failing a drug test.

She is one of Nigeria’s remaining hopes for a medal at the games.

Earlier on Monday, Team Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan had placed fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles final.

 

Thompson-Herah Defends Olympic 100m Title Ahead Of Fraser-Pryce

(L to R) Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah and daniels compete in the women's 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
(L to R) Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah and daniels compete in the women’s 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah ran the joint second fastest time in history as she retained her Olympic 100m crown on Saturday ahead of pre-race favourite Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a Jamaican podium sweep.

Thompson-Herah, who won the sprint double at the Rio Olympics in 2016, had come into the blue riband event very much in the shadow of Fraser-Pryce.

At 34, and having had time out to have a baby, Fraser-Pryce was seeking to become the first woman to win a single individual Olympic event three times having previously triumphed in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.

But Thompson-Herah was quick out of the blocks, hitting a top speed of 39.7km/h (24.7mph) down the straight in a 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium empty of fans because of coronavirus restrictions in the Japanese capital.

Fraser-Pryce reeled her teammate in at the 50-metre mark, but Thompson-Herah dug deep to pull away for a memorable victory in 10.61 seconds, beating by one-hundredth of a second the previous Olympic best set by American Florence Griffith-Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Only Griffith-Joyner has run faster than the Jamaican, having set the world record of 10.49 at the 1988 US Olympic trials — a day before also timing 10.61.

Fraser-Pryce raced home in 10.74 for silver, while Shericka Jackson clocked a personal best of 10.76, with the first six sprinters all dipping below the 11-sec mark.

“I knew I had it in me but obviously I’ve had my ups and downs with injuries,” said Thompson-Herah. “I’ve been keeping faith all this time. It is amazing.

“I’m grateful I could get back on the track, and get back out on the track this year to retain the title. Now I have one more to go,” she added in reference to the 200m, with heats on Monday.

Bromell struggles

The first round of the men’s 100m threw up some surprises as American Trayvon Bromell, who owns the fastest time this year of 9.77sec, only scraped through as a fastest loser after finishing fourth in his heat.

US teammates Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley also went through, while an impressive-looking Andre De Grasse of Canada topped times with 9.91sec.

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah celebrates after winning the women's 100m final and setting a new Olympic Record during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah celebrates after winning the women’s 100m final and setting a new Olympic Record during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

“It is a season’s best and I am really looking forward to tomorrow night. I am ready to go,” said the Canadian who won bronze in the event in Rio in 2016.

He has big spikes to fill, as the Tokyo Olympics are the first since Athens in 2004 to take place without Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, winner of eight golds.

Asher-Smith out

There was drama following the women’s 100m semi-finals as world 200 metres champion Dina Asher-Smith said she was pulling out of the event because of a hamstring injury.

She could only manage third place in her 100m semi-final in 11.05, which was not enough to progress to the final.

Asher-Smith’s news was mitigated by a trio of Britons qualifying from the semi-finals for the women’s eight-strong 800m final on Tuesday.

Jemma Reekie, Keely Hodgkinson and Alexandra Bell will be joined by Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, Americans Athing Mu and world silver medallist Raevyn Rogers, Ethiopian Habitam Alemu and China’s Wang Chunyu.

But there were places neither for world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda nor American world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson.

Kajetan Duszynski produced a thrilling sprint from 200 metres out to surge from third place to help Poland to the gold medal in the inaugural Olympic mixed 4x400m relay.

The quartet of Karol Zalewski, Natalia Kaczmarek, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and Duszynski clocked 3min 09.87sec.

The Dominican Republic claimed a surprise silver in 3:10.21, with the US foursome, the pre-race favourites and reigning world champions, taking bronze (3:10.22) without Allyson Felix in their ranks.

“I can’t believe it, it’s is a dream since childhood. It has come true,” said Duszynski. “It’s such a great feeling.”

The third gold medal of the night went to world champion Daniel Stahl, who led training partner Simon Pettersson in a Swedish one-two in the men’s discus.

A dominant Stahl threw a best of 68.90 metres, with Pettersson taking silver with 67.39m and Austrian Lukas Weisshaidinger claiming bronze (67.07m).

AFP