Jamaica sweep women’s 100m, Djokovic leaves Tokyo empty-handed

Published August 1, 2021
TOKYO: Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica celebrates as she wins the women’s 100-metre final at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.—AP
TOKYO: Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica celebrates as she wins the women’s 100-metre final at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.—AP

TOKYO: Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah blazed to 100 metres gold on Saturday, becoming the fastest woman alive as she denied compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce a third Olympic title.

In retaining her title Thompson-Herah added a sparkling flourish to a day which had seen US gymnast Simone Biles withdraw from two more finals in Tokyo, and a listless Novak Djokovic fail to take bronze in tennis after his dream of a ‘Golden Slam’ was dashed.

Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican 100-metre podium sweep with Shericka Jackson in third. The champion’s blistering 10.61 seconds time has only ever been bettered by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, who set a world record of 10.49 seconds in 1988.

“I put everything in there I gave it 100 and I would say that I’m ready, super ready, but I had to just hold my composure to come out here take it runs by runs,” she said.

The day had begun with local fans defying a ban on spectators to get a glimpse of the triathlon. Big crowds lined the streets at the Odaiba Marine Park on the Tokyo waterfront, defying Olympic staff who carried signs and bullhorns asking them not to gather along the roadside to watch the event.

The setbacks for stars such as Biles and Djokovic have been in a way fitting for the improbable Games, taking place without spectators amid a widening pandemic.

Minutes after his singles defeat, Djokovic withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze match. Swimmers Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel recovered some lost lustre for America, while Lyu Xiaojun took gold in men’s weightlifting, bringing China’s haul in the medal tally to 21. Japan have 17 golds and the United States are at 16.

Qatar’s Fares Ibrahim Elbakh won the gold medal in the men’s 96 kg weightlifting event and set an Olympic record of a combined lift of 402 kg. Venezuela’s Keyd­omar Vallenilla Sanchez won sliver and Georgia’s Anton Pliesnoi claimed bronze.

TAIWAN’S MOMENT OF GLORY

Taiwan beat China to the badminton men’s doubles gold medal in one of several big moments on Saturday that included India’s P,V, Sindhu getting knocked out in the women’s singles semi-finals and an upstart from Guatemala making it into the men’s.

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan crushed China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen 21-18, 21-12 in a match that lasted less than 35 minutes. Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik beat Indonesia to the bronze.

That wasn’t Taiwan’s only major win of the day. In a clash between two of badminton’s best players at the Tokyo Games, world number one women’s singles shuttler Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-Ying played a skilled game against Rio silver medallist Sindhu’s powerful smashes.

A close first game ended 21-18 but fleet-footed Tai picked up her pace in the second game, winning 21-12.

Tai said that she was not yet nervous about playing in Sunday’s final against China’s second-ranked Chen Yufei but probably would be just before the match.

Chen overcame team-mate He in the other semi-final in a battle of wills that the former won 21-16, 13-21, 21-12 and celebrated with a loud, uncharacteristic roar.

Earlier on Saturday, 34-year-old Kevin Cordon, who at age 12 moved from rural Zacapa in Guatemala to the capital city to pursue his dreams of reaching the Olympics, beat South Korea’s Heo Kwanghee 21-13, 21-18 to make the semi-finals.

Cordon, who had to pull out of his first match at Rio 2016 due to an injury, will now face Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, who beat China’s Shi Yu Qi 21-13, 21-13.

In the first instances of doping at the Games, two sprinters, Kenya’s Mark Otieno and Nigeria’s Bles­sing Okagbare, were provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

American BMX racer Connor Fields was moved out of intensive care after suffering a brain bleed during his horrific crash a day earlier. Originally one of the big favourites for gold, Fields went down hard in a first-corner crash during the semi-finals.

Much of the focus at the Games has been on superstar Biles, who this week stunned the world when she dropped out of the team competition after a poor opening vault and then declined to defend her all-around crown, citing concern for her mental and physical well-being.

“Today, after further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars,” USA Gymnastics said, adding she would continue to be evaluated daily to see whether she would compete in the finals for the floor exercise and balance beam.

MORE MISERY FOR DJOKOVIC

Djokovic, who won a singles bronze medal in Beijing in 2008 but has failed to earn a place on the podium at London, Rio and now Tokyo, withdrew from the mixed doubles minutes after his defeat by Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the singles bronze match.

On Friday, the Serbian lost to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the singles semi-final, killing his hopes of winning an Olympic gold plus all four Grand Slams this year for a ‘Golden Slam’.

His withdrawal from the mixed doubles means women’s world number one Ash Barty and John Peers bag a bronze medal for Australia.

Belinda Bencic became the first Swiss woman to win the Olympic tennis singles title with a battling three-set victory over Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Bencic edged out Vondrousova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 on her second match point, with the final finishing at 11:28pm local time (1428 GMT) after two-and-a-half hours on court.

Bencic will also play in Sunday’s women’s doubles final alongside Viktorija Golubic against Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

In swimming, Ledecky and Dressel added to their medal haul and took some sting off what has been a disappointing Games so far for the US swim team, whose eight golds are just half their tally from Rio.

Ledecky, who lost her 200 and 400 metres titles to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus before beating her in the 1,500 metres, on Saturday became the first female swimmer to win six individual golds, cruising home in the 800m.

World champion Dressel stormed to the 100m butterfly title in world record time, picking up his second individual gold to add to the gold he won in the 4x100 freestyle relay.

Britain won the Olympics’ inaugural mixed 4x100 medley relay for their fourth swimming gold delivering a world record time. Britain’s four golds in the pool marks their best return in the swimming events for more than a century.

In other action, China’s Ma Long became the first man to win two Olympic table tennis singles titles.

There was heartbreak for Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, who missed out on the 100-metre final and then pulled out of the 200m competition because of a hamstring injury.

American Trayvon Bromell, who owns the fastest time this year of 9.77 seconds, scraped into the men’s 100-metres semi-final after timing 10.05 to finish fourth in his heat.

Sweden’s Danel Stahl hurled 68.90 metres to win the men’s discus finish ahead of team-mate Simon Pettersson, sparking uproarious celebrations by the pair in the largely empty stadium.

And Poland were the surprise winners of the inaugural mixed 4x400-metre relay where the Jamaican team were involved in a tumble mid-race.Judo great Teddy Riner, who failed in his bid to win three consecutive heavyweight titles, celebrated gold as France beat hosts Japan to win the mixed team title

GREAT Britain’s (L-R) Alex Yee, Georgia Taylor-Brown Jessica Learmonth and Jonathan Brownlee pose on the podium after winning the inaugural mixed relay triathlon at the Odaiba Marine Park on Saturday.—AP
GREAT Britain’s (L-R) Alex Yee, Georgia Taylor-Brown Jessica Learmonth and Jonathan Brownlee pose on the podium after winning the inaugural mixed relay triathlon at the Odaiba Marine Park on Saturday.—AP

Medals table

After Saturday’s events

(Tabulated under gold, silver, bronze, total):

China 21 13 12 46

Japan 17 5 8 30

United States 16 17 13 46

Russian OC 11 15 11 37

Australia 10 3 14 27

Great Britain 8 9 1 28

South Korea 5 4 7 16

France 4 9 6 19

Netherlands 4 7 5 16

New Zealand 4 3 3 10

Germany 3 4 10 17

Canada 3 4 5 12

Switzerland 3 3 4 10

Czech Republic 3 3 1 7

Croatia 3 1 2 6

Italy 2 8 14 24

Taiwan 2 2 3 7

Hungary 2 2 2 6

Slovenia 2 1 1 4

Kosovo 2 0 0 2

Brazil 1 3 4 8

Georgia 1 3 1 5

Romania 1 3 0 4

Spain 1 2 2 5

Hong Kong 1 2 0 3

South Africa 1 2 0 3

Austria 1 1 3 5

Serbia 1 1 2 4

Jamaica 1 1 1 3

Norway 1 1 0 2

Poland 1 1 0 2

Slovakia 1 1 0 2

Sweden 1 1 0 2

Tunisia 1 1 0 2

Turkey 1 0 2 3

Estonia 1 0 1 2

Fiji 1 0 1 2

Ireland 1 0 1 2

Uzbekistan 1 0 1 2

Belarus 1 0 0 1

Bermuda 1 0 0 1

Ecuador 1 0 0 1

Ethiopia 1 0 0 1

Greece 1 0 0 1

Iran 1 0 0 1

Latvia 1 0 0 1

Philippines 1 0 0 1

Qatar 1 0 0 1

Thailand 1 0 0 1

Colombia 0 2 1 3

Dominican Republic 0 2 0 2

Venezuela 0 2 0 2

Indonesia 0 1 2 3

Mongolia 0 1 2 3

Belgium 0 1 1 2

Cuba 0 1 1 2

Denmark 0 1 1 2

San Marino 0 1 1 2

Uganda 0 1 1 2

Bulgaria 0 1 0 1

India 0 1 0 1

Jordan 0 1 0 1

North Macedonia 0 1 0 1

Turkmenistan 0 1 0 1

Ukraine 0 0 5 5

Kazakhstan 0 0 3 3

Egypt 0 0 2 2

Israel 0 0 2 2

Mexico 0 0 2 2

Argentina 0 0 1 1

Azerbaijan 0 0 1 1

Finland 0 0 1 1

Ivory Coast 0 0 1 1

Kuwait 0 0 1 1

Malaysia 0 0 1 1

Portugal 0 0 1 1

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2021

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