The 2016 Olympics are now in the home stretch, and the competition is getting serious. The women’s tennis is even more competitive than usual, with both Helen Glover and Polly Swann still alive in the semi-finals after a pair of grueling first round matches on Saturday morning, and Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury beating higher seeded players on the morning after.
The pair would have to get through the men’s doubles semi-finals, which could be a tough ask. But anything is possible at the summer games.
|Dates: July 23rd to August 8th, Tokyo time: BST +8|
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Helen Glover’s Olympic rowing championship defence got off to a rocky start with Polly Swann, while China earned the first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 in the shooting.
Glover and Swann finished third in their heat in the women’s pairs, a long way off the pace but enough to guarantee their spot in Tuesday’s semi-finals. It was Glover’s first loss in more than a decade.
Yang Qian of China won the women’s 10m air rifle event with an Olympic record score of 251.8 points.
Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury of Team GB got off to a good start in the men’s doubles, defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France 6-3 6-2.
Max Whitlock, the reigning champion in gymnastics, has qualified for the pommel horse final with a score of 14.900 points.
Adam Yates of the United Kingdom came in ninth place in a grueling men’s road race won by Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz. After an earlier accident, Geraint Thomas withdrew.
But blink and you’ll miss Tokyo’s youngest participant, Syrian 12-year-old Hend Zaza, who was eliminated in the first round of the women’s table tennis competition – but not before taking a picture with champion Liu Jia to commemorate the moment.
What else has taken place? Let us fill you in on the details.
- Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of Great Britain won their first mixed doubles match, defeating France’s Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue 21-18 21-17.
- Heather Watson is out in the first round of the women’s singles at the Australian Open.
- On her Olympic debut, shooter Seonaid McIntosh finished 12th in the women’s 10m air rifle qualification, missing out on the final.
- Ashley McKenzie, the sole male judoka from the United Kingdom competing in Tokyo, was knocked out in his first bout.
‘Not our perfect row’ for Glover & Swann
Glover has made history as the first British mother to compete in an Olympic rowing event, but her triumphant return to the Games has not been without setbacks.
Glover’s loss in the heat, which was won by Australia, was her first since 2011, a run that included Olympic golds in 2012 and 2016 with Heather Stanning.
“It wasn’t our best row,” she said, “but I suppose there’s value in learning in the early stages.” “We’re ready for whatever comes next.”
In other GB rowing news, the men’s four won their heat to go to the final, aiming for a sixth successive gold in the event. Ollie Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs, and Sholto Carnegie are all making their Olympic debuts and will have a lot of expectations to live up to.
In the lightweight double sculls, Emily Craig and Imogen Grant have advanced to the semi-finals, however the women’s four and men’s eight must compete in repechages if they are to advance to the finals after placing fourth and third in their heats, respectively.
Murray and Salisbury triumph, but Watson is eliminated.
Murray and Salisbury’s doubles combination is new, but it seems to be working out well, as they cruised through the French Open winners.
Murray is the reigning two-time Olympic men’s singles champion and won silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson at London 2012, whereas Salisbury is competing in his first Olympics.
For a spot in the quarter-finals, they will face Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz of Germany.
Watson, though, was eliminated early after losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 against Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam.
Later, Argentina’s Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos will play Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.
A word of caution for athletes
Christophe Dubi, the executive director of the Olympic Games, has cautioned competitors that ignoring anti-Covid procedures would result in punishment.
It comes after the opening ceremony on Friday, when the majority of the Kyrgyz and Tajik teams, as well as Pakistan’s two flag bearers, did not wear masks.
Athletes must wear masks at all times, with the exception of while they are training, competing, eating, or sleeping.
Covid-19 has been found in yet another athlete. They are the 12th contender to test positive in Tokyo, bringing the total number of adverse tests to 123.
After participating in Tokyo, Dutch rower Finn Florijn became the first athlete to test positive for Covid-19.
He was scheduled to compete in the repechages on Saturday after finishing fourth in his heat in the men’s single sculls event on Friday, however he has been pulled from the Games.
There are also worries about the heat in Tokyo, after the fainting of a Russian archer in extreme heat during Olympic qualification on Friday, which forced the rowing program to be altered.
On Saturday, cyclists in the men’s road race seemed to be struggling with the heat, spraying themselves with water and wearing ice packs in their jerseys.
After feeling dizzy during her dominating victory against Italy’s Sara Errani, tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had to seek a medical break.
On Friday, the archery dome hit 33 degrees Celsius.
What’s on the horizon?
- The men’s hockey team of Great Britain begins their Olympic campaign against South Africa (10:30 BST).
- In their second group encounter, the Great Britain women’s football team will play hosts Japan (11:30 BST).
- In the pool, Adam Peaty starts his defense of his 100m breaststroke championship (12:40 BST).
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