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Glittering gold distracts from Tokyo’s Olympic woes

Qian Yang from Team China wins the gold medal in the 10m air rifle Women’s event on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Asaka shooting range on July 24, 2021 in Asaka, Saitama, Japan. Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

The sport stretched across Tokyo on Saturday and it rained gold medals when the Olympics finally launched cast aside some of the shadow of Covid-19 and the controversy that plagued the global showcase.

China immediately issued a letter of intent when Yang Qian won the Games’ first gold and the Japanese judoka Naohisa Takato went home with hearts with gold on the mat the day after the nation’s global superstar tennis player Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron to officially open the pandemic-postponed Olympics.

Iran also cheered early after Javad Foroughi won the men’s 10m air pistol race and Richard Carapaz of Ecuador won the men’s road bike race as unexpected nations at the The top of the medal table stood.

But fans, who are banned from all venues under the Covid-19 protocols, were reminded of the potential impact of the pandemic early on when two US archers said they were running unvaccinated of their own choosing and the organizers said Another athlete tested positive for the virus.

Osaka’s decision to light the cauldron on Friday crowned a lackluster opening ceremony that was eerily staged. silent stadium.

But while the ceremony was like none before, the first day of the sport, despite the absence of spectators, provided a much more familiar feel as the world’s elite athletes ran, rode, fought and swam for lust on a business-as-usual vibe.

The sight of an athlete whose eyes glittered with joy was always welcome for the organizers, and 21-year-old Chinese shooter Yang made sure to get their nerves in first To keep the women’s 10-meter rifle competition to overtake Anastasiia Galaschina.

Under pressure crumpled

The Russian collapsed under pressure on her last shot and shot 8.9, by far her worst shot and the worst result of all finalists. “I got too nervous, held out too long,” she said.

Yang was enthusiastic and indicated her main motivation. “It is the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party,” she said. “I am so happy that this gold medal is a gift to my country.”

The hosts were also desperate for Japanese success and after a few near misses, Takato won gold in the men’s and 60 kg judo defeated Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei.

“It was frustrating in Rio,” said Takato, recalling the last bronze medal games. “It’s been a long way to get here.”

The organizers hope the sport can detract from the embarrassing slip-ups and coronavirus problems that marked the event, which was postponed by a year.

But the global pandemic couldn’t be ignored as another athlete tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of virus cases disclosed to 123.

American archers Brady Ellison and Mackenzie later said Brown said they are free to decide whether or not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after a potential US Olympic gold medalist who rejected the vaccine received widespread criticism on social media.

” It’s a hundred percent personal choice, and everyone says something different, takes away people’s freedoms, “said Ellison, number 1 in the world, on the sidelines.

He and Brown rushed in first round of the mixed event, which is part of its Ol Olympic games will debut.

Typhoon preparation

The organizers are also prepared to wait for a typhoon and have already revised Monday’s rowing competitions to include them in the schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

But while the rowers are looking anxiously to the sky, the surfers who should start their competitions on Sunday are benefit from bigger waves.

The 3×3 basketball tournament made its debut and US First Lady Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron led the cheers when the Americans beat France.

At 12, Syria’s Hend Zaza was the youngest athlete in Tokyo, but her table tennis tournament was over in an instant when she lost to Austrian Liu Jia before taking a selfie with her conqueror.

Liu, die a 10-year-old daughter had trouble falling asleep the evening before the event. “Yesterday I asked my daughter, ‘Do you know that your mother is playing against someone two years older than you?’ Her first answer was: ‘Then you better not lose!’ “

Maybe Japan’s” King Kohei “Uchimura could have used similar advice, but the reign of the Olympic all-round champion and holder of seven Olympic medals found an abrupt one End when he couldn’t qualify for the equipment finals, ending his legendary Olympic career.

“I couldn’t do what I was training. That’s just my way of thinking,” he said.

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