TOKYO - Tokyo sizzled on Sunday with temperatures soaring on the athletics track as the world waited to see who would fill Usain Bolt’s shoes in the most wide-open Olympic 100 metres final in years.
After the threat of a typhoon and rain disrupted competition earlier in the Olympics, Tokyo’s searing summer heat returned with a vengeance on day eight of the Games. Tempers boiled over in the boxing arena when French super heavyweight Mourad Aliev refused to leave the ring after he was disqualified at the Kokugikan arena.
The Frenchman flew into a rage when the judges ruled he had headbutted his opponent, spitting out his mouthguard and kicking at it, punching at a television camera and making offensive arm gestures. “It’s totally unfair -- I was winning the match,” the 26-year-old told a throng of reporters after finally abandoning an hour-long sit-down protest. “I prepared my whole life for this event.”
It was a day of firsts in gymnastics with Artem Dolgopyat delivering Israel’s maiden gold in the sport in the men’s floor and Rebeca Andrade, a surprise silver medallist in the all-around, going one better in the vault to give Brazil its first ever women’s title. American Mykayla Skinner won silver. American Simone Biles was not competing, having earlier announced her decision to also pull out of Monday’s floor exercise final as she continued to deal with the mental health issues that have limited her to a single vault in Tokyo.
Emma McKeon continued Australia’s success on the final day of competition in the pool to become the first female swimmer to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games when she won golds in the 50m freestyle and 4x100 medley relay. Ghana celebrated its first individual medal in almost half a century when featherweight boxer Samuel Takyi overpowered his Colombian opponent Ceiber Avila to guarantee himself at least a bronze. Su Bingtian became the first Chinese man to qualify for the blue-riband 100metres sprint final when he ran a blistering 9.83 seconds to win his semi-final.
China was on top of the medal tally with 23 gold at about 7.30 pm, Tokyo time (1030 GMT). The Americans were in second place with 20 golds, Japan were third with 17 and Australia fourth with 14. Caeleb Dressel helped Team USA to rise up the medal rankings and confirmed his dominance in men’s sprint swimming when he won his fifth medal at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. As the swimming ended, the celebrations promised to be more muted at the Tokyo Game than in previous years after organisers said they were investigating a report of athletes breaching COVID-19 health protocols by drinking in a park in the village.
“We’re all fine with putting off any celebrating,” said U.S swimmer Ryan Murphy. “We love this team. We love to celebrate with this team. We’re not going to be in a gathering where other people are there. We’re going to continue to be safe and make sure the Japanese public feels safe with us being here until we’re gone.”
Rank Team Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 24 14 13 51
2 USA 20 23 16 59
3 Japan 17 5 9 31
4 Australia 14 3 14 31
5 ROC 12 19 13 44
6 Britain 10 10 12 32
7 France 5 10 6 21
8 South Korea 5 4 8 17
9 Italy 4 8 15 27
10 Netherlands 4 7 6 17