Belarusian Athlete Auctions Off Olympics Medal For $21,000

(FILES) This file photo taken on July 30, 2021 shows Belarus’ Krystsina Tsimanouskaya competing in the women’s 100m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

 

Athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who said the Belarus team tried to forcibly fly her home from the Tokyo Olympics and has since sought refuge in Poland, has sold a medal of hers for $21,000, a sports NGO said.

“The medal has now been sold and paid for by a buyer from the US with a very solid track record of transactions on eBay,” the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) said on its Telegram.

BSSF — an organisation that supports opposition athletes — said Tsimanouskaya’s silver medal from the 2019 European Games attracted a “a lot of interest” from collectors and patrons of art.

“I didn’t expect that it would be bought for such a sum,” 24-year-old Tsimanouskaya said as quoted by BSSF, adding that she was “very happy”.

The sprinter said she plans to donate the money towards helping athletes like herself who have “suffered”.

Earlier this month, Tsimanouskaya found herself in the international spotlight after she claimed her team was forcing her to leave the Olympic Games in Tokyo early and return to authoritarian Belarus.

The runner spent the night in an airport hotel after seeking protection with Tokyo 2020 officials to avoid getting on a plane. She later defected to Poland.

The uproar erupted after the athlete had criticised the Belarusian athletics federation for entering her into a relay race without giving her notice.

Two Belarusian coaches were stripped of their Olympic accreditation over the incident, which Belarus’s strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko denied.

BSSF was founded last August by retired Belarusian swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia, as protests erupted after Lukashenko’s disputed re-election for a sixth term.

Herasimenia — who now lives in exile in Lithuania — sold her 2012 world championship gold medal to raise funds for the foundation.

It provides financial and legal assistance to athletes targeted by the authorities after calling for an end to the violent police crackdown on demonstrators.

Belarus has been slapped with a slew of Western sanctions over the handling of the protest and human rights violations but retains the support of ally and creditor Russia.

The turmoil has led to Belarus being stripped of hosting this year’s ice hockey world championship and a ban on Lukashenko attending Olympic events.

Jepchirchir Gives Kenya Back To Back Women’s Marathon Olympic Titles

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir wins the women’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

 

Peres Jepchirchir secured back-to-back women’s Olympic marathon titles for Kenya on Saturday timing 2hr 27min 20sec.

The 27-year-old two-time half marathon world champion beat compatriot and world record holder Brigid Kosgei (2hr 27:36) whilst USA’s Molly Seidel was third (2hr 27:46).

“It feels good. I’m so, so happy because we win as Kenya,” said Jepchichir.

“I’m happy for my family. I’m happy for my country.”

 

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir (C) leads the group while competing in the women’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Yasuyuki KIRIAKE / POOL / AFP)

 

Jepchirchir succeeds disgraced fellow Kenyan Jemima Sumgong, who won in 2016 in Rio to become Kenya’s first female marathon champion.

However, she tested positive for the endurance booster EPO in 2017, leading to an eight-year doping ban.

Organisers wary of the hot and humid conditions had announced on the eve of the race the start time had been brought forward an hour to 6am local time.

However, even with that, many runners failed to last the distance, including Kenya’s world champion Ruth Chepngetich. Other runners crossed the finish line clearly in distress, including Mexico’s Ursula Sanchez.

She staggered over the line and was attended to by a race official.

Two hours into the race the temperature had risen to 30.6°C (87 degrees Fahrenheit) with 63% humidity.

Jipchirchir agreed the conditions had been gruelling.

 

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir (R) leads Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei (L) while competing in the women’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Yasuyuki KIRIAKE / POOL / AFP)

 

“It was so hot, it was not easy,” she said.

“I’m just thankful I managed (to cope) with that weather.”

Jepchirchir and Kosgei had moved up a gear with four kilometres remaining with just a quartet of runners in contention for the medals.

Seidel was the first to be dropped followed by Kenya-born Israeli Lonah Salpeter.

The Israeli had looked set to give her adopted country their first ever athletics Olympics medal.

However, her hopes of a bronze were brought to a brutal end as she pulled up and retired soon after being dropped leaving Seidel clear in third spot.

– ‘Make some people angry’ –
Up ahead Jepchirchir made her decisive move for gold with two kilometres remaining and Kosgei could find no reserves in her tank.

“I pushed on the pace (and when I opened the gap) it was like, ‘wow, I’m going to make it. I’m going to win’,” said Jepchirchir.

 

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after winning the women’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

It was the first defeat for Kosgei in five marathons — she won Chicago (2018/19) and London (2019/20) — but she had been struggling for a while in the hot conditions even resorting to stuffing an ice pack down the front of her running vest.

However, it was all smiles at the finish — a mixture of joy and relief the endurance test was over — as Kosgei embraced the new champion.

Seidel for her part said she had achieved her aim of stirring up a hornets nest.

“I try not to have too many expectations,” said the 27-year-old.

“It is just to go out, stick your nose where it doesn’t belong and try and make some people angry.

“My goal today was just to go in and for people to think, ‘who the hell is this girl?’

“To get a medal for the US and to do it in the US uniform is huge.” I

Britain’s Yafai Wins Flyweight Boxing Gold, Ukrainian KO’d

(LtoR) Silver medallist Philippines’ Carlo Paalam, gold medallist Britain’s Galal Yafai, bronze medallists Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka and Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men’s fly (48-52kg) boxing final bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Britain’s Galal Yafai defeated Carlo Paalam to win the Olympic flyweight title on Saturday, denying the Philippines the first boxing gold medal in the country’s history.

The men’s middleweight final produced a shock as Ukrainian top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak was knocked out in the third round of his bout by Brazil’s Hebert Sousa.

The 28-year-old Yafai, a former car-factory worker, won on split points in an enthralling contest against Paalam to earn Britain’s first boxing gold in Tokyo.

Yafai, cheered on from the stands by his British teammates — many of them with the country’s flag draped over their shoulders — had the Filipino down in the first round of the scheduled three after an incisive three-punch combination.

Paalam was always playing catch-up after that against Yafai, whose two older brothers are both professional boxers.

Britain, who like the Philippines have a proud boxing history, have now won one gold, two silvers and two bronze in the sport in the Japanese capital.

Despite the disappointment for 23-year-old Paalam, the Philippines have enjoyed a breakthrough fortnight in boxing at the Games.

Nesthy Petecio won women’s featherweight silver and Eumir Marcial took men’s middleweight bronze.

Ukraine’s Khyzhniak was ahead on the judges’ scorecards and appeared destined for middleweight gold but out of nowhere the unfancied Sousa floored him with a left flush on the cheek.

The referee immediately waved the bout off, with Khyzhniak wobbly on his feet and looking groggy.

Bahamas’ Gardiner Wins Olympic Men’s 400m Gold

Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner celebrates after winning the men’s 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Steven Gardiner became the first man to win an individual Olympic gold for the Bahamas on Wednesday, powering to victory in the 400m to leave the Caribbean nation on the brink of a rare double.

The 25-year-old 2019 world champion stormed to the line in 43.85sec, with Colombia’s Anthony Jose Zambrano taking silver in 44.08sec.

Grenada’s Kirani James, the 2012 champion and 2016 silver medallist, took bronze in 44.19sec.

Gardiner’s victory extended his dominance of the one-lap event over the past four years.

The Bahamian hasn’t lost a 400m race that he has completed since taking a silver medal behind South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk at the 2017 World Championships.

Leaving aside three races where he did not finish due to injury, Gardiner has been unbeaten in 20 of 23 starts since that 2017 loss.

Gardiner’s victory raises the prospect of an Olympic double for Bahamas at the 400m in Tokyo with 2016 gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo running in the women’s final on Friday.

 

Gold medal winner Steven Gardiner of Team Bahamas (L) and bronze medal winner Kirani James of Team Grenada celebrate after the men’s 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP)

 

Although female athletes from Bahamas have won individual Olympic gold medals on three occasions before, Gardiner is the first man from the islands to win solo gold.

“It’s just amazing, surreal for the country,” Gardiner said. “For myself, for me to be the one to be able to do it I’m just so happy.

“It’s unreal. I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight and it will only sink in at the medal ceremony.

“I will be here to watch Shaunae tomorrow night. I just want her to do what she did in 2016 so we can bring back double gold medals for the Bahamas.”

Gardiner’s gold medal was never really in doubt as he waited patiently before surging smoothly into the lead off the final bend.

Once in front there was only going to be one winner and Gardiner, who failed to even make the final at Rio five years ago, motored home in his fastest time of 2021.

“It feels amazing. 2016 it was my first Olympic Games and it didn’t end so well, I didn’t even make the final,” Gardiner said.

“But here in Tokyo I think I did what needed to be done. I was so excited just to make the final.

“And tonight I’m the Olympic champion in the 400m.”

 

Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner celebrates after winning the men’s 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

But as Gardiner celebrated, there was disappointment for US hope Michael Norman, who set off quickly before fading down the home stretch and eventually finishing in fifth behind fourth-placed compatriot Michael Cherry.

It continued a disappointing Olympic campaign for USA’s male track athletes who have failed to win a gold so far in Tokyo.

Cherry suggested USA Track and Field’s decision to cancel a pre-Olympic training camp in Japan due to concerns about Covid-19 could have played a factor in the medal shutout.

 

Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner crosses the finish line to win the men’s 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

“We haven’t been here that long, we got here on short notice,” Cherry said. “Every other team had training camp, but that’s no excuse.

“We are still expected to come out here and execute how we are supposed to, it’s just not happening right now.”

Thompson-Herah Storms To Victory In Women’s Olympic 100m

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah (C) reacts as she crosses the finish line to win the women’s 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

 

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah successfully defended her Olympic 100m crown on Saturday, storming to victory with the second-fastest time in history.

Thompson-Herah raced over the line at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium in 10.61sec, with two-time champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking silver in 10.74 and Shericka Jackson bronze in 10.76 to complete a Jamaican sweep of the podium.

Thompson-Herah’s Olympic record winning mark matched the second-fastest time in history of 10.61 set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner.

Only Griffith-Joyner, the 1988 Olympic champion who remains the world record holder with a best of 10.49, has ever run faster.

“I am really excited to come back and retain my title. My chest hurts, I am so happy,” Thompson-Herah said.

Thompson-Herah said she had not expected to challenge for the Olympic title earlier this year, when she was bothered by a niggling Achilles injury.

“Two months ago I didn’t think I would be here today,” said Thompson-Herah, who finished third behind Fraser-Pryce at Jamaica’s Olympic trials in June.

“But I held my composure, I believed in myself, I believed in God and the team around me is very strong. I never expected to run this fast.

“Behind this 10.6 it takes a lot. I knew I could have run this time from like 2016. But I think I celebrated early too much in my career.

“But I knew it would come one day eventually.”

 

(From R) Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson compete in the women’s 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

– ‘I could have gone faster’ –
The pre-race hype had focused on Fraser-Pryce, who until Saturday had been the fastest woman in the world over the distance this year.

The 34-year-old had been bidding to become the oldest sprinter to ever win an Olympic 100m title, and the first woman to win three individual track and field golds.

But in sultry conditions at an empty Olympic Stadium, it was 2016 Rio gold medallist Thompson who seized the moment.

Before the race, the stadium was plunged into darkness as the finalists were introduced under a spotlight bearing down on the starting area.

Thompson-Herah looked stony-faced as she focused on the challenge ahead in the lane next to Fraser-Pryce.

Fraser-Pryce got out of the blocks smoothly but once Thompson-Herah hit her stride there was only going to be one winner.

She drew level with Fraser-Pryce after around 60 metres and pulled clear, pointing and gesticulating in delight at the electronic board displaying her winning time as she crossed the line.

“I think I could have gone faster if I wasn’t pointing and celebrating,” Thompson-Herah said. “I wanted to show there was more in store. Hopefully one day I can unleash that time.”

Fraser-Pryce, who reiterated she plans to retire in 2022, was left disappointed but proud of leaving her fourth consecutive Olympic games with a medal.

“Of course you’re disappointed,” Fraser-Pryce said. “The only aim you have as an athlete is to win.

“That didn’t happen tonight but still I’m grateful to be able to make the finals and stand on the podium at my fourth Olympic Games.

“So putting it in perspective I’m really grateful for the opportunity I had tonight.

“Even though it happened that way, I’m still excited that I walk away, yet again, with another medal.”

 

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah crosses the finish line and wins the women’s 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

Fraser-Pryce meanwhile said Thompson-Herah’s blistering time reflected well on the strength of women’s sprinting.

“From the heats I knew it was going to be a fast race,” she said. “I’m really excited that female sprinting is going to another level. And that’s truly remarkable. It speaks to the depth that we have as females.”

Dressel, Ledecky Grab Gold As World Records Tumble In Tokyo

An underwater view shows USA’s Kathleen Ledecky competing in the final of the women’s 800m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

 

Caeleb Dressel set a new 100m butterfly world record to grab his third gold medal in Tokyo Saturday, as Katie Ledecky reinforced her dominance of distance swimming with a third Olympic 800m freestyle title.

Two-time world champion Dressel was always going to be tough to beat, and he exploded from the blocks and turned first, roaring home in 49.45 seconds to shatter his own previous world best 49.50 set in 2019.

Hungarian 200m winner Kristof Milak was second in 49.68 — only the fourth man ever to go under 50 seconds — and Switzerland’s Noe Ponti third.

Dressel is overwhelming favourite to bag his fourth Tokyo gold in the 50m freestyle, after returning to the pool to clock 21.42 in his splash and dash semi-final.

The 24-year-old then remarkably lined up for a third race in the Olympics’ inaugural 4x100m mixed medley final.

But swimming the last freestyle leg, Dressel was unable to reel in an Adam Peaty-led Britain who hit the wall in a new world record 3:37.58 — the fifth global mark set in the Tokyo pool.

 

TOPSHOT – USA’s Kathleen Ledecky (L) and USA’s Katie Grimes compete in the final of the women’s 800m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

 

The United States finished fifth, denying Dressel the chance to win yet another gold after taking out the 100m freestyle and being part of the triumphant 4x100m freestyle team.

He is expected to race the meet-ending men’s 4x100m medley on Sunday.

“The freestyle was anybody’s race, I knew that going in,” said Dressel.

“For the most part, I thought it was going to be between me and Kristof, so it’s kind of nice when the guy next to you is the guy you got to beat. It took a world record to win.”

He admitted it was tough tackling three races in a session.

“Good swim or bad swim you’ve got to give yourself five minutes to get over yourself and you have to refocus really fast. You have to ignore how your body feels, just move on as quick as you can.”

 

Gold medallist USA’s Caeleb Dressel holds a blue bandanna on the podium after the final of the men’s 100m butterfly swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

While Dressel has become the face of the American team since Michael Phelps retired, Ledecky is on a par and she lived up to her billing yet again.

Despite losing her 200m and 400m crowns to Australian Ariarne Titmus, she remains the undisputed queen of the longer distances.

Having already cleaned up the inaugural 1500m gold, she added another 800m title after winning at London in 2012 and Rio four years later.

– Class of her own –
The 24-year-old led all the way to touch in 8:12.57 and outpace Titmus, who clocked a personal best 8:13.83 to earn silver ahead of Italy’s Simona Quadarella.

“She (Titmus) made it tough and so it was a lot of fun to race and I just trusted myself, trusted I could pull it out and swim whatever way I needed to,” said Ledecky, who revealed she planned to keep going potentially up to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“I’m at least going to ’24, maybe ’28 we’ll see,” she said.

She leaves Tokyo with gold over 800m and 1500m and silver in the 400m and 4x200m relay.

Titmus wasn’t too disappointed.

“In the 800 when she’s pretty much in a class of her own so over the moon to be on the podium,” she said.

Meanwhile, Australian backstroke star Kaylee McKeown added the 200m title to her 100m crown in an eye-popping 2:04.68 ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse, whom she also edged into silver in the 100m final.

Seasoned Australian campaigner Emily Seebohm took bronze in her fourth Olympics.

In the mixed relay’s Olympic bow, the British team of Kathleen Dawson, Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin came out on top.

They lowered the previous world record of 3:38.41 set by China last year, with the Chinese second and Australia third.

Olympic BMX Rider Fields Out Of Critical Care After Brain Haemorrhage

USA’s Connor Fields (L) races ahead in the cycling BMX racing men’s quarter-finals run at the Ariake Urban Sports Park during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP)

 

 

Former Olympic BMX racing champion Connor Fields suffered a brain haemorrhage in a crash at the Tokyo Olympics but has been moved out of critical care in hospital, officials said on Saturday.

Fields, who was stretchered off the course after his heavy fall in Friday’s semi-finals, spent the night in the intensive care unit, a USA Cycling statement said.

“The doctors reported that Fields sustained a brain hemorrhage at the venue,” it said.

“After a night in the ICU, the doctors are pleased to report that there has been no additional bleeding, and no new injuries were found.”

 

USA’s Connor Fields (C) competes in the cycling BMX racing men’s quarter-finals run at the Ariake Urban Sports Park during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

Saya Sakakibara, who crashed in the women’s semis and was also stretchered off, was “up and around at the course” later on Friday, the Australian Olympic team said.

 

Australia’s Saya Sakakibara competes in the cycling BMX racing women’s quarter-finals run at the Ariake Urban Sports Park during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

Switzerland’s Zoe Claessens (209), USA’s Alise Willoughby (1), Canada’s Drew Mechielsen (155) and Australia’s Saya Sakakibara (88) compete in the cycling BMX racing women’s semi-finals run at the Ariake Urban Sports Park during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

Pigossi And Stefani Claim Brazil’s First Olympic Tennis Medal

Brazil’s Laura Pigossi (L) and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani celebrate after defeating Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova and Russia’s Elena Vesnina during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s doubles tennis match for the bronze medal at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

 

 

Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani won Brazil’s first-ever Olympic medal in tennis on Saturday with a hard-fought victory over Russians Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina in the women’s doubles bronze-medal match.

The pair saved four consecutive match points in the deciding tie-break to win 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 after two hours and 11 minutes in the baking Tokyo heat.

Brazil have sent tennis players to every Games since the sport was reintroduced to the Olympics in 1988.

 

Brazil’s Laura Pigossi (R) and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani pose after they defeated Russian pair Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina to win the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s doubles tennis match for the bronze medal at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

 

Kudermetova and Vesnina, who will also play in Sunday’s mixed doubles final alongside Aslan Karatsev, led 9-5 in the breaker but failed to secure victory.

Pigossi and Stefani sealed their historic medal with a brilliant run of six straight points.

Novak Djokovic’s Golden Slam Hopes For Comeback Win At Olympics, Dashed

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic leaves the court after being defeated by Germany’s Alexander Zverev in their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s singles semifinal tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

 

 

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a calendar Golden Grand Slam was dramatically ended by Alexander Zverev in the Olympics men’s singles semi-finals on Friday.

The world number one collapsed from a set and a break ahead as German fourth seed Zverev won 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to set up a Sunday final against Russian Karen Khachanov.

The 34-year-old Djokovic has never won the Olympic singles title.

The Serbian star had already captured the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon trophies this year and needed Olympic gold and the US Open crown to emulate Steffi Graf, who achieved the feat in 1988, by winning the Golden Slam.

But his attempt to make history came to a close as Zverev powered 30 winners past the usually impregnable Djokovic in a stunning display.

It was yet more heartbreak for the 20-time Grand Slam champion at the Olympics, where his best result is a bronze medal in 2008.

He lost to eventual winner Andy Murray in the semi-finals in London nine years ago, and was in tears after a first-round exit to Juan Martin del Potro at the 2016 Rio Games.

Zverev is looking to become the first German to win singles gold since Graf in Seoul after winning 10 of the last 11 games against Djokovic.

– Djokovic makes fast start –
Djokovic, roared on by a large contingent of his Serbian Olympic teammates, took the first set in trademark fashion by winning most of the big points.

The score made it look comfortable, but he was taken to deuce in his first three service games and had to save an early break point.

Zverev again put Djokovic’s serve under pressure in the early stages of the second set, but the top seed wriggled out of trouble in the fourth game and broke in the next.

Zverev dumped a simple volley into the net on break point and hammered the ball into the empty stands in frustration.

That looked to be the final nail in his coffin, but the 24-year-old bounced back immediately with a break to love as Djokovic uncharacteristically played an error-strewn game at a vital time.

The momentum had suddenly swung in Zverev’s favour and he quickly broke again, before taking his second set point to force a decider with a run of four straight games.

Any thoughts that Zverev would feel the tension were dispelled in the opening game of the third set as he broke once more.

He dug deep to consolidate his breakthrough and make it six consecutive games, saving four break points, the third of which after a stunning rally, finished off by a backhand passing shot up the line.

That proved to be the decisive moment, as Zverev then sealed a double break to put one foot in the final, with Djokovic reacting angrily after shanking a groundstroke long.

He finally snapped an eight-game losing streak, but his Olympic dream was already in tatters, and Zverev sealed a final place on his second match point with a rasping backhand.

Djokovic could still win multiple medals, with the bronze-medal match against Pablo Carreno Busta to come on Saturday after his mixed doubles semi-final with Nina Stojanovic against Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev later Friday.

– Khachanov sees off Carreno Busta –
Khachanov, a former top-10 player who has struggled for consistency in the last three seasons, produced an impressive display earlier to dispatch Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3.

Khachanov is bidding to become the first Russian champion in the men’s singles since Yevgeny Kafelnikov struck gold in Sydney 21 years ago.

“It’s just pure happiness, pleasure to be here to live those moments, these kind of memories will stay forever,” the 25-year-old, who reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals earlier this month, said.

Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus became New Zealand’s first Olympic tennis medallists for 109 years, beating Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the men’s doubles bronze-medal match.

Women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty’s third and final attempt to win a gold medal was ended after defeat alongside John Peers in the mixed doubles semi-finals against Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev.

Dressel Claims Olympic 100m Freestyle Crown For First Individual Gold

Gold medallist USA’s Caeleb Dressel poses with their medal after the final of the men’s 100m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

 

US star Caeleb Dressel said he was never worried as he blazed to his first individual Olympic gold medal in the men’s 100m freestyle final on Thursday, adding to his back-to-back world titles.

The 24-year-old powered to the wall in a new Olympic record time of 47.02sec to dethrone charging Australian defending champion Kyle Chalmers, who came second (47.08). Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov took the bronze in 47.44.

“It’s been a really tough year, really hard. I’m really happy,” he said in tears as he was connected via video link to his wife and family back home.

Dressel missed out on the individual medals at Rio in 2016, but he has since exploded, winning an incredible 13 titles over the past two world championships.

Despite the nailbiting finish, he said he was never concerned.

“I wasn’t worried about anything,” he said. “During the race there’s only so much you can do. Whatever’s gonna happen is going to happen.

“I stuck to my race plan — if it got me first, OK, if it got me second OK. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

 

Gold medallist USA’s Caeleb Dressel poses with their medal after the final of the men’s 100m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Dressel went to the turn in front but had to dig deep to hold off Chalmers, needing to smash the previous Olympic record of 47.05 held by Australia’s Eamon Sullivan since 2008.

It was Dressel’s second gold in Tokyo after spearheading the United States to the 4x100m relay title on Monday. He will also race the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly, and could feature in two other relays.

But it was his first individual title at an Olympics after two relay golds in Rio, a feat he was proud to achieve.

“I didn’t want to admit it but now I did it I can admit it, it’s a lot different,” he said.

“You can’t rely on anyone else. It’s just you in the water, there’s no one there to bail you out. It’s tough. It’s really tough. So I’m happy to actually do it.”

Chalmers said he was disappointed not to successfully defend his title, but did all he could.

“It is a bit bittersweet. To get second is amazing, and to back it up with gold in Rio and the five-year journey, which has been really challenging and to get silver is special,” he said.

“But to be so close — it does hit home a little bit.”

Chalmers had shoulder surgery last year and likely wouldn’t have competed if the Olympics had not been postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

 

An underwater view shows USA’s Caeleb Dressel (R), Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov, (C) and Italy’s Alessandro Miressi (L) in the final of the men’s 100m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 29, 2021. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

He has also battled ankle and back issues and undergone three surgeries in recent years for a non-life-threatening condition that makes his heart beat abnormally fast.

“Everyone has challenges but to stand up and set an equal best time in an Olympic final when it counts most with all the pressure and expectation on me, it is special,” he added.

Moroccan Boxer Tries To Bite Opponent In Tokyo Olympics Defeat

Morocco’s Youness Baalla (red) and New Zealand’s David Nyika fight during their men’s heavy (81-91kg) preliminaries round of 16 boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

 

 

Moroccan heavyweight boxer Youness Baalla attempted to bite David Nyika’s ear during his defeat to the New Zealander at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old was subsequently disqualified for unsportsmanlike behaviour, although he was already out of the Games anyway following his unanimous-points loss in the round-of-16 bout.

A Tokyo 2020 statement called Baalla’s actions “intolerable”, saying that he “very clearly intended to bite the ear/face of his opponent in the third round of the bout”.

Footage shows Baalla trying to bite Nyika’s right ear as the two boxers hold each other.

Nyika, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist who has already fought as a professional, said: “He didn’t get a full mouthful.

“Luckily he had his mouthguard in and I was a bit sweaty.

“I was bitten on the chest at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (2018), but come on man, this is the Olympics.”

 

 

Morocco’s Youness Baalla (red) and New Zealand’s David Nyika fight during their men’s heavy (81-91kg) preliminaries round of 16 boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by UESLEI MARCELINO / POOL / AFP)

Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles Out Of Gymnastics Final

USA’s Simone Biles (2ndL) reacts with teammates after finishing second of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

 

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles’ participation in the rest of the Tokyo Olympics was plunged into doubt by an unspecified medical issue on Tuesday while Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the tennis competition.

Biles exited the women’s team final after a lacklustre opening vault and briefly left the competition floor, before returning to join her teammates.

But the US team replaced her in the three remaining routines on the uneven bars, beam, and floor and Biles was reduced to cheering on her team.

“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Biles, 24, is seeking a fifth Olympic gold of her career in the team final as she chases Soviet great Larisa Latynina’s record of nine gymnastics titles.

 

Silver medalists USA’s Sunisa Lee, USA’s Grace Mc Callum USA’s Simone Biles and USA’s Jordan Chiles wave on the podium of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

 

Osaka, one of the faces of the Games after she lit the Olympic cauldron in the opening ceremony, lost 6-1, 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova after an error-strewn performance, ending her cherished dream of winning on home soil.

The 23-year-old had not played since May when she walked out of the French Open saying media commitments were harming her mental health.

The second seed was bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance of Olympic gold, especially after the early exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

“How disappointed am I? I mean, I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” said the four-time Grand Slam-winner.

Asked what went wrong, she replied: “Everything — if you watch the match then you would probably see. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn’t rely on today.”

– Surfing a golden wave –
Brazil’s Italo Ferreira and America’s Carissa Moore claimed the first-ever Olympic gold medals in surfing.

In the men’s competition Ferreira, who learned his trade standing on the foam box from which his father sold fish, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement.

But he recovered to score 15.14 to Japanese opponent Kanoa Igarashi’s 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach.

“It’s one of the best days of my life for sure,” said the Brazilian. “I was so nervous at the beginning but I just tried to surf and have fun because two months ago I was busy with training and thinking and dreaming and now I’ve got the gold medal.”

Moore, from Hawaii, beat South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag in the women’s final.

– Bermuda glory –
Triathlete Flora Duffy won the first gold of the day in the women’s event, making Bermuda the smallest territory or nation in terms of population to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.

For Duffy it was a welcome reward after persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anaemia in 2013.

“I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda’s first gold medal,” she said.

“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment. That was the longest kilometre of my life (the final one of the run).”

Elsewhere, swimming powerhouses Australia and the United States won one gold medal each in the morning pool session and are on three golds apiece.

Australian world-record holder Kaylee McKeown upstaged American arch-rival Regan Smith to claim the women’s 100m Olympic backstroke crown as Russia and Britain also won golds.

McKeown flew through the water at the Tokyo Aquatic Center to touch in 57.47 seconds, a new Olympic record and only fractionally outside her own world best while Smith had to settle for bronze.

McKeown, who lost her father last year to brain cancer, said: “It’s not necessarily what I’ve been through. Everyone has a journey of their own and it just so happens that mine’s been a really tough one.”

On a day of upsets, American women’s 100m breaststroke world-record holder and defending champion Lilly King was beaten by 17-year-old compatriot Lydia Jacoby and teammate and defending 100m backstroke champion Ryan Murphy also tasted defeat.

Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov took gold in the final, with Murphy pushed into third place.

Britain’s Tom Dean came back from two bouts of coronavirus to edge out team-mate Duncan Scott and win the 200m freestyle.