Olympic Latest: Iran refugee falls short in gold medal bid
The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:
Iranian refugee Kimia Alizadeh has fallen short in her bid for a historic taekwondo gold medal, losing in the semifinals after three consecutive stirring victories in the women’s 57-kilogram division.
Alizadeh lost 10-3 to Russian Tatiana Minina, endangering Alizadeh’s bid to win the Refugee Olympic Team’s first-ever medal. Alizadeh still could win bronze in the evening session at the Makuhari Messe convention center.
Alizadeh also won bronze as a teenager in Rio de Janeiro, claiming the first Olympic medal for an Iranian woman. She defected from Iran to Germany early last year, citing institutional sexism and disappointment at being used as a propaganda tool.
Alizadeh seemed to be on a charmed run in Tokyo: She beat fellow Iranian Nahid Kiyani Chandeh in her opening bout before shocking Britain’s two-time Olympic champion, Jade Jones. Alizadeh knocked off China’s Zhou Lijun to reach her first Olympic semifinal, but she fought tentatively and struggled to score on Minina, a three-time European champion.
Spanish golfer Jon Rahm has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time in two months and been knocked out of the Olympics only a few hours after American golfer Bryson DeChambeau met the same fate.
The back-to-back coronavirus shockers came on the second full day of action in Tokyo and put a damper on the golf tournament. The sport is scheduled to begin Thursday and will be without the last two U.S. Open champions.
DeChambeau won in 2020 at Winged Foot. Rahm took the title last month at Torrey Pines in a comeback of sorts. He was only two weeks removed from building a six-shot lead after the third round of the Memorial only to be told he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw.
MORE ON THE TOKYO GAMES:
— Powerhouse U.S. swim team shines with 6 medals
— Simone Biles makes her first appearance for Team USA
— Surfing and skateboarding, two of four new Olympic sports, get underway
— An Iranian defector beat an Iranian opponent in taekwondo, then upset a two-time gold medalist
A volunteer has collapsed during the medal ceremony at Asaka Shooting Range at the Tokyo Olympics.
The woman went down shortly after the Star Spangled Banner played for 10-meter air rifle gold medalist William Shaner. He and the other medalists were posing for pictures.
The Olympic music kept playing as staff and medical personnel raced to the woman’s side. One volunteer waved papers to cool her off and she was placed on a stretcher after a few minutes.
Paramedics arrived at the venue’s medical center with a stretcher, but left after a few minutes as workers inside turned the woman on her side and talked to her.
Intense heat and humidity have taken a toll already during the Tokyo Olympics, particularly at outside venues. The Asaka Shooting Range is air conditioned, but still muggy inside.
With tropical weather forecast to approach Tokyo within days, Olympics organizers say they’re talking with individual sports about changing event programs.
Tokyo Olympics sports director Mikako Kotani says they’re “closely discussing” issues around the severe weather forecast.
Rowing already cleared its schedule for Monday and Tuesday, moving some events forward to the weekend and others back to Wednesday.
Kotani says in translated comments if other sports governing bodies “propose to us that we should change the schedule in advance then we will consider that option.”
Kotani says organizers are getting minute-by-minute updates from their weather information center.
Athletes in some sports are currently dealing with high temperatures and humidity.
Tokyo Olympic organizers say there have been early transport problems getting athletes to their venues on time.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams acknowledged: “There are always teething problems and this is a very serious (one).”
Officials from the IOC and Tokyo’s local organizing committee were asked Sunday about athletes taking a taxi to their training site because of a late bus.
Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya they are “aware that transport is experiencing some issues including delays” and that buses should always be on standby to meet demand.
Takaya says: “We are trying to do everything we can.”
William Shaner has won gold men’s 10-meter air rifle, adding to the United States’ second-day haul at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Americans were shut out on the first day, but won six medals in swimming on Day 2.
The 20-year-old Shaner qualified third and was steady in the finals at his first Olympics, finishing with an Olympic-record 251.6 points. Sheng Lihao, a Chinese 16-year-old with little international experience, took silver and countryman Yang Haoran earned bronze.
Shaner was one of the top youth shooters in the country and has already had a decorated career at the University of Kentucky, finishing second at the NCAA individual championships and team gold in consecutive seasons. He also was a first-team All-American as a freshman.
China has captured the first diving gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics.
Shi Tingmao and Wang Han romped to victory in the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard event with 326.40 points, starting what is expected to be another dominating performance by Chinese divers at these games. They have won 37 of 48 gold medals at the last seven Olympics.
Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu of Canada took the silver at 300.78. The bronze went to Germany’s Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel with 284.97.
The Chinese women have not lost an Olympic diving event since 2004. This is their fifth straight victory in the synchronized springboard, their only loss coming when the event debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Shi won her second straight gold in the synchro. She teamed with Wu Minxia to capture gold in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
The United States duo of Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer finished last in the eight-team field.
The IOC is urging Olympic medalists to curb their hugs and keep masks on while on the podium.
Medalists in some swimming events Sunday morning were hugging, sharing the podium top step for photographs and taking their masks off for a time.
Those are potential breaches of rules protecting the Olympics from COVID-19 infections.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams says “we feel for the athletes (but) there are things that unfortunately we have had to make stricter.”
Adams adds “we would urge and ask everyone to obey the rules.”
Tokyo organizers have reported 127 games-related COVID-19 cases, including 14 athletes, in Japan this month.
An Iranian defector who competes in taekwondo is one victory away from winning the Refugee Olympic Team’s first ever medal.
Kimia Alizadeh rallied in the final minute for a 9-8 quarterfinal victory over Zhou Lijun of China in the 57-kilogram women’s division, putting her into her first Olympic semifinal.
Alizadeh, who won her bronze at the Rio Games through repechage, was the first woman to win an Olympic medal for Iran. She subsequently left Iran for Germany last year, citing institutional sexism and frustration with being used for propaganda purposes.
Alizadeh reached the quarterfinals by pulling off the biggest upset of the Tokyo tournament, beating two-time Olympic champion Jade Jones of Britain 16-12. In her opening bout, Alizadeh comfortably beat Nahid Kiyani Chandeh, her friend and fellow Iranian.
Olympic rowing faces more delays and schedule changes as weather forecasts predict high winds and strong gusts at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Officials say the expected weather could create unrowable conditions and have rescheduled several events to Wednesday or later. A similar forecast for Monday had forced the Games to move that day’s events to Sunday.
Delayed events include the finals for the men’s and women’s four. They will now race on Wednesday. The semifinals for men’s and women’s single sculls have been moved from Wednesday to Thursday.
Naomi Osaka made quick work of her first match in nearly two months.
The Japanese superstar who lit the Olympic cauldron eased past 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the tennis tournament at the Tokyo Games.
It was Osaka’s first match since she withdrew from the French Open and sat out Wimbledon to take a mental health break while revealing she has dealt with depression.
Osaka’s match was originally scheduled to open the tournament on Saturday but then was moved to Sunday before her starring role in Friday’s opening ceremony.
Japan’s Yuto Horigome has won the first-ever skateboarding competition at the Olympic Games, taking gold in men’s street in the city where he learned to skate as a kid and where his sport is often frowned upon.
The first ever skateboarding silver went to Brazilian Kelvin Hoefler, who used to sleep with his board when he fell in love with skating as a kid.
American skater Jagger Eaton took bronze, the Arizonan adapting best among the Americans to the heat at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.
One of skateboarding’s biggest stars, Nyjah Huston from the U.S., fell repeatedly trying to land tricks and placed 7th in the eight-man final.
The International Tennis Federation is giving Olympics players extra time during breaks in play after facing criticism for staging matches during the highest heat of the day.
The federation says change of ends and set breaks have been extended by an extra 30 seconds and will now be one minute, 30 seconds.
Temperatures have risen above 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) for a second straight day at Ariake Tennis Park.
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev had asked for longer breaks to bring the Olympics into line with regular tour events.
The federation says it will consider suspending play if temperatures keep rising.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Medvedev both questioned why matches Saturday were not moved into an evening session.
Iranian defector Kimia Alizadeh has shocked two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones at the Tokyo Games, beating the British champion 16-12 in the round of 16.
Alizadeh, a bronze medalist in Rio de Janeiro, won twice for the Refugee Olympic Team to advance to the Tokyo quarterfinals.
She beat Iranian opponent Nahid Kiyani Chandeh in her opening bout before her massive upset of Jones, who was attempting to become the first three-time Olympic taekwondo gold medalist.
Alizadeh is competing for the Refugee Team after defecting to Germany shortly after becoming the first Iranian women to win an Olympic medal in 2016.
Top-ranked Ash Barty has been upset by 48th-ranked Spanish opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Tokyo tennis tournament.
It was Barty’s Olympic singles debut. She won a doubles match with Australian teammate Storm Sanders on Saturday.
The defeat comes 15 days after Barty won Wimbledon for her second Grand Slam title.
The U.S. women’s volleyball team’s quest for its first gold medal ever is off to a fast start.
The Americans swept Argentina in their opening match, winning 25-20, 25-19, 25-20.
The U.S. won silver medals in 2008 and 2012 and then bronze five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
But they are still aiming for that elusive first gold medal in the sport and figure to be one of the top contenders in Tokyo along with China.
Jordan Thompson led the way in the opener with 20 points as she dominated at the net.
Two-time defending champion Andy Murray has withdrawn from the singles tennis tournament in Tokyo.
Organizers did not immediately say why the British player pulled out shortly ahead of his scheduled opener against ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada on Center Court.
Max Purcell of Australia will play Auger-Aliassime instead.
Organizers said Murray remained in the doubles tournament with partner Joe Salisbury. Murray and Salisbury beat the second-seeded French team of Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
Murray has a total of three Olympic medals. He also won a silver in mixed doubles at the 2012 London Games with Laura Robson.
Australia has set the first swimming world record of the Tokyo Games in the women’s 4x-100-meter freestyle relay.
The Aussies touched in 3 minutes, 29.69 seconds, breaking the mark 3:30.05 that they set in 2018.
The winning team included sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell, who took the lead and anchor legs.
They were joined by Meg Harris and Emma McKeon.
Canada was second in 3:32.78, while the American took their sixth medal of the night with a bronze in 3:32.81. Simone Manuel swam the anchor leg for the U.S.
Russian shooter Vitalina Batsarashkina has won gold in women’s 10-meter air pistol at the Tokyo Olympics, five years after taking silver at the Rio Games
Batsarashkina shot an Olympic-record 240.3 points, finishing 0.9 ahead of Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Kostadinova.
China’s Jian Ranxin took bronze after matching Greece’s Anna Korakaki’s three-year-old record of 587 points to lead qualifying.
Georgia’s Nina Salukvadze made history by becoming the first athlete to compete in nine Olympics and announced her retirement to Russian media after failing to qualify for the finals.
Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 before leaving the United States for Tokyo and will miss the Olympics. He’ll be replaced by Patrick Reed.
DeChambeau, last year’s U.S. Open champion, becomes the highest-profile athlete to test positive for the virus. He says he is “deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA.”
Reed was scheduled to undergo testing Sunday and Monday to clear himself to compete in Tokyo. The the first round at the Kasumigaseki Country Club is set for Thursday. Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, is now the only two-time Olympian in the sport, which was reintroduced to the program in 2016.
Yui Ohashi has given Japan its first swimming gold medal at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
With a dazzling breaststroke leg, Ohashi romped to victory in the women’s 400-meter individual medley, touching first in 4 minutes, 32.08 seconds.
Her performance made up for the disappointment of the previous night, when gold medal favorite Daiya Seto didn’t advance to the final of the men’s 400 individual medley.
The United States continued to pile up medals, with Emma Weyant taking silver and Hali Flickinger the bronze. The Americans have earned five of a possible nine medals from the first three swimming finals, including a gold by Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400 individual medley.
Swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia was the surprise winner in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Games.
Australia’s Jack McLoughlin settled for silver after leading much of the race, and Kieran Smith grabbed another Olympic medal for the Americans.
It is the third swimming medal for the U.S. after Chase Kalisz won the first American medal of the Tokyo Games, taking gold Sunday in the men’s 400-meter individual medley.
Jay Litherland won the silver on the same race, rallying on the freestyle leg to take the silver.
Chase Kalisz has won the first American medal of the Tokyo Games, taking gold Sunday in the men’s 400-meter individual medley.
Jay Litherland made it a 1-2 finish for the powerhouse U.S. team, rallying on the freestyle leg to take the silver. Brendon Smith of Australia claimed the bronze.
Kalisz, a protege and former training partner of Olympic great Michael Phelps, touched first in 4 minutes, 9.42 seconds.
Litherland was next in 4:10.28, just ahead of Smith (4:10.38).
Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman have cruised to a straight-set victory over China in their Olympic beach volleyball opener.
Ross is making her third appearance in the Summer Games with her third different partner. She’s already won a silver medal and a bronze. Klineman is making her Olympic debut. They’re among the favorites for the gold medal in Tokyo.
The Americans won the first set 21-17 and then took the second 21-19 over Xue Chen and Wang Xinxin.
Ross and Klineman play Spain on Tuesday.
The American men’s team of Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne play their first match on Sunday night. Bourne was a late substitute after Gibb’s original partner, Taylor Crabb, tested positive for COVID-19 when he arrived in Japan. They’ll face Italy.
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