Tokyo Olympics: China remain top of medal table but USA reduce lead

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

The United States cut China's lead at the top of the medal table to five as they collected four golds on day 13 of the Games.

Coming into Thursday's events, China boasted a seven-gold buffer as leaders but that was reduced by the USA's Katie Nageotte in the women's pole vault and Ryan Crouser in the men's shot put – the latter of which became a back-to-back Olympic champion.

More golds followed for the USA, with Nevin Harrison winning the women's single canoe 200m sprint – her country's first medal in either canoe or kayak sprint since 1992 – and David Taylor succeeding in the men's 86kg freestyle wrestling in the last second.

After shooting a blank the previous day, China ensured a five-gold gap going into Friday as the women's table tennis team continued their dominance, overcoming Japan to secure their fourth gold in four consecutive Games.

The table-toppers have now won all four of the women's diving events in Tokyo, too, as 14-year-old Quan Hongchan set a world record in the 10m platform, making it a China one-two with fellow teenager Chen Yuxi.

Defending Olympic champion Risako Kawai, who is also a three-time world champion, triumphed once more in the women's 57kg wrestling freestyle, meaning early leaders Japan remain in third with a gold count of 22.

Australia suffered shoot-out heartbreak in the men's hockey final but climbed up to fourth with men's kayak double 1000m sprint success and their first-ever Olympic gold medal in skateboarding, courtesy of Keegan Palmer's park win.

Their 17 gold medals at the Games with three days to go equalled Australia's best-ever haul, matching the total they collected at Athens in 2004. 

The Russian Olympic Committee leaped up a spot to fifth as Zaur Uguev was crowned champion in the men's 57kg wrestling freestyle and Albert Batyrgaziev fought to gold in the men's featherweight boxing.

Great Britain, who now boast 16 medals after winning just the one event on Thursday, slipped back down to sixth position with Matthew Walls' omnium gold ending Team GB's frustrating unsuccessful spell in the cycling track events.

 

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    Koen Bouwman claimed his second victory of the Giro d'Italia on stage 19, while Richard Carapaz maintained his three-second general classification lead on Friday.

    Jumbo Visma's Bouwman profited from a dramatic uphill finish at Santuario Di Castelmonte following a day-long five-man breakaway across the 178-kilometre race, which included a brief visit to Slovenia.

    The Dutchman, who also leads the King of the Mountains classification, watched a last-corner mistake from Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) forced Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen) off the road.

    Bouwman surged through to win as Schmid recovered to take second, with Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) taking third and Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) finishing ahead of a furious Vendrame.

    However, Schmid was quick to question the last-corner problems with Bouwman and Vendrame.

    "My opinion it was not a fair sprint, it was pretty clear, my handlebars are still in front and he nearly crashed in the last corner, he just knows he's slower in the sprint and he just pushed me away. You'll see when you watch the last 100-200 metres. I can do nothing," he told reporters.

    "It was not fair in my opinion. Second place is first loser, so I'm not happy with that. I think I had it in the legs today. Of course, I'm disappointed but I want to say thanks to the team."

    Bouwman, though, offered a different version of events to Schmid as he added: "I knew there was a corner to the left but I didn't know it was this sharp. I had to brake quite hard and I knew I had to take the inside [of the corner].

    "After my first victory I said it would be really nice if I could have another one, but I also said I have to be realistic. It was my first victory as a pro. Now to win two stages in the Giro – I'm just so happy I don't have words.

    Meanwhile, Carapaz finished eighth on the same time as Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) as the general classification battle continues.

    Carapaz loses key team-mate Porte

    Ineos Grenadiers' Richie Porte was forced to abandon the Giro at stage 19 due to illness, leaving Carapaz without a key supporter for the final two summits of the race.

    Porte will be disappointed to finish his 13-year Grand Tour career in such fashion, having announced his intention to retire at the end of the season, and Carapaz was frustrated to lose his team-mate.

    "Truth is, it's been a really difficult day today. I'm really disappointed for Richie it's unlucky," he told reporters.

    "But the team is doing a good job and we're dealing with everything the best we can. We're all at a good level and trying to make it into a positive.

    "It was a little give and take today but I think we're all pretty much on the same level at the top. It wasn't such a fantastically difficult finale that it was going to break up very much."

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma) 4:32:55
    2. Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) same time 
    3. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) same time
    4. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) same time
    5. Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen) same time

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 81:18:12
    2. Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) +0:03
    3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +1:05

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 254
    2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 136
    3. Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) 132

    King of the Mountains

    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 294
    2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 103
    3. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 94

  • 'I've done it before and can do it again' -  Blake hasn't given up hope on returning to top of men's sprinting 'I've done it before and can do it again' - Blake hasn't given up hope on returning to top of men's sprinting

    Former 100m World Champion and world’s second-fastest man Yohan Blake has not quite given up on the idea of returning to dominate sprinting, despite an underwhelming performance at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

    The 32-year-old Blake was once considered the heir apparent to celebrated compatriot Usain Bolt.  In fact, it is Blake that still holds the second-fastest times over both the 100 and 200m sprints.  Devasting injuries, which happened to the sprinter in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, however, largely curtailed that promise and left the sprinter unable to step into the void.  In a barren stretch of results, Blake has gone without a medal since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

    Since the 2012 Olympics, the athlete has finished outside of the medals at the last four major championships and failed to make the final at the last two. 

    Despite the lack of success in recent seasons, however, Blake is feeling confident of a late-career revival this season, on the back of a decent showing at the Birmingham Diamond League last week.  The Jamaican finished second in the men's 100m, clocking 10.18 behind Canadian Aaron Brown who took top spot in 10.13.

    “I think I took it too easy at the end and didn't see the guy in lane 8. I was focused forward. It was challenging because it was cold. The two false starts were tough but I am used to dealing with these things. I am feeling good after coming back. I want to stay hard to beat and move from being second fastest in the world to be fastest,” Blake said following the race.

    “I have been here before and I am used to the pressure. I am looking forward to the trials and getting back to my best and challenging the American top sprinters. I have done it before and can do it again.”

  • Giro d'Italia: De Bondt wins stage 18, relief for Hindley after late puncture Giro d'Italia: De Bondt wins stage 18, relief for Hindley after late puncture

    Dries De Bondt sprinted to victory on stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia, as Jai Hindley remained three seconds adrift of race leader Richard Carapaz despite a late puncture.

    It was De Bondt among a breakaway quartet who had the pace to take his maiden victory in a Grand Tour race in Treviso on Thursday.

    The Alpecin-Fenix rider pipped Edoardo Affini, with Magnus Cort Nielsen third and Davide Gabburo just missing out on a podium at the end of a 156-kilometre route from Borgo Valsugana.

    That group of four riders made an early move and there was no catching them on a day Belgian De Bondt will never forget.

    The 30-year-old's win was his first since crossing the line first in the Belgian National Road Championships in September 2020.

    There was drama when Hindley suffered a puncture, but the BORA-Hansgrohe rider did not lose time in the general classification battle as the mechanical issue came within three kilometres of the finish.

    Carapaz finished 20 seconds after De Bondt as he retained the maglia rosa, with Mikel Landa staying in third place behind Hindley.

    "I checked Landa and Hindley all the time as I knew there could be some gaps. I want to keep the maglia rosa till the end, I trust in my legs." INEOS Grenadiers rider Carapaz said.

    Almeida ruled out after positive COVID-19 test

    Joao Almeida was fourth in the GC standings, but the Portuguese rider's race is over after he tested positive for COVID-19 following stage 17.

    UAE Team Emirates team principal Mauro Gianetti said: "We are obviously deeply upset because Joao and the supporting team were doing an excellent race.

    "Our goals were the podium of the Giro and the white jersey as best young rider, and we were fighting to win them both.

    "It is bad news, but this is the reality we have been living every day for two years. We have to accept it and look forward. Now the most important thing is that Joao recovers as soon as possible."

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) 3:21:21
    2. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) same time
    3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) same time
    4. Davide Gabburo (Bardiani CSF Faizane) same time
    5. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +0:14

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 76:41:21
    2. Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) +0:03
    3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +1:05

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 254
    2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 132
    3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 124

    King of the Mountains

    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 218
    2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 103
    3. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 94

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