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Monday, August 2, 2021

Valarie Allman ........ ......... and Sifan Hassan win Gold at Tokyo 2020

Wimbledon has a retractable roof and so has some outdoor stadiums hosting various Sports events ! .. .. today at Tokyo it rained, sort of heavily, the field was wet, yet some events continued at Olympics 2020 placing the competitors in great jeopardy – in fact saw some athletes slip, discuss throwers, slip or throw in wrong directions ! – it all happened today out there ! – yet the games continued.

Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur finished at the sixth position in her first Olympics with a best throw of 63.70m in a rain-interrupted final today (Monday 2nd Aug 2021).  Kaur, 25, who had qualified for the final as second best on Saturday, was never in the running for a medal in the six rounds of competition which was interrupted by rain for more than an hour. After a couple of rounds and more than a couple of falls,  Women's Discus Throw got postponed because of incessant rain.   As many as four athletes slipped and failed while trying to spin in order to gain momentum for their throw. Included among them was USA's Valarie Allman who led the pack after one and a half rounds.  

Rain played havoc and the  wet conditions in the National Olympic Stadium made life difficult for athletes  in the women's 400m hurdles as Sara Slott Petersen suffered a "horrible fall". Torrential rain had led to field events inside the stadium being postponed with athletes slipping in the discus.  But the track events continued as scheduled with the women's 400m hurdles taking place. There was noticeably some standing water in the inside lanes, while those on the outside lane had less bad weather to deal with at the start of the race.

Norway's Amalie Luel was lucky – she    false started in her semi final, but was allowed to join the restart as she attributed the sound due to the rain,  in the first of three races. Janieve Russell made it back-to-back Olympic Games finals after she placed second in her semifinals heat of the women's 400m hurdles in rainy conditions on Monday. Russell, who was seventh in Rio five years ago and won the Commonwealth Games title in 2018 in Australia, was in third place after seven hurdles but separated herself from the field to finish in 54.10 seconds behind defending champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States who won in 53.30 seconds. Paulien Coukuyt ran a Belgian national record 54.47 seconds for third.

The women's 400m hurdles, like the men's equivalent, is one of the marquee events of the track and field programme where it is expected that it will require a world record to take the gold It has lived up to expectations with newly-minted world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of the USA (53.03 seconds); Holland's Femke Bol (53.91 seconds); Gianna Woodruff, who ran a Panamanian national record 54.22 seconds; and a third American, Anna Cockrell (54.17 seconds) all advancing as well. The Finals will see :   A. Ryzhykova (Ukraine);  V. Tkachuk (Ukraine); Sydney   McLaughlin(USA);  F. Bol (Netherlands); J. Russell (Jamaica); D. Muhammad (USA);  A. Cockrell (USA) competing for the medals.  

Indian equestrian Fouaad Mirza, who advanced to jumping finals of individual eventing at the Olympics, finished 23rd in the final of Jumping (Individual) event. Earlier in the day, the Indian women’s hockey team made history on Monday, the 10th day of the Tokyo Olympics as they beat Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals. With that, India sealed their spot in the semifinals for the first time in its Olympic history.  Indian women's hockey team goalkeeper Savita Punia revealed the speech that she and her teammates got from national coach Sjoerd Marijne during their quarterfinal match against Australia at Tokyo 2020.  "The coach told us that it was a “Do or Die” situation, we only have 60 minutes and this is either our first match or the last," Savita Punia said.  Coming into the match, the odds were totally against India as in world no.2 Australia, a mighty unbeaten opponent, awaited them. But the Indians, determined to prove a point, produced a strong and brave performance to eke out the narrow win over the Hockeyroos.

In the Women discuss marred by rain, Valarie Allman won the gold. There will be no medal in Tokyo for two-time defending women's discus champion Sandra Perkovic (CRO). Her final attempt was a 63.25, which did not  improve on her best throw of 65.01 currently good for fourth. Yaime Pérez (CUB), in third, fouled  her last try, finished on  65.72 and took bronze. Germany's Kristin Pudenz  won  silver.  Gold went to Valarie Allman (USA), whose best was 68.98 before the rain interruption.  

In the track field - Dutch runner Sifan Hassan took a first, giant step in her bid for an unprecedented Olympic treble when she sprinted to gold in the 5000m. Ethiopian-born Hassan, 28, produced a devastating final-lap sprint to time 14min 36.79sec. Kenya's two-time world champion Hellen Obiri claimed silver in 14:38.36, with Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay taking bronze with 14:38.87.

Any fears Hassan might have to ride out tactics designed to thwart her from east African rivals Ethiopia and Kenya came to nothing in a slow-paced race that ended with an almighty bang that perfectly suited her explosive finishing skills.  Hassan arrived in Tokyo aiming not just for the 5000m, but also the 1500m and 10000m in an unprecedented tilt at middle-distance dominance. She became the first athlete to achieve the 1500 and 10000m world double in Doha in 2019, an astonishing display given that it coincided with a four-year ban handed down to her then coach Alberto Salazar, the head of the now-disbanded Nike-funded Oregon Project.

The 5000m in Tokyo always promised to be a potential banana skin. In Ethiopians Tsegay, Ejgayehu Taye and Senbere Teferi, and Kenya's Obiri and Agnes Tirop, the entry list featured five of the world's 10 fastest ever over the distance. But pace proved no problem for Hassan, whose gold capped a remarkable day after she fell in her 1500m heat in the morning session just 12 hours previously, but quickly got to her feet and won.In the longer race, she was happy to bide her time, eventually moving into the slipstream of the trio of Ethiopians, Obiri and Tirop, Kenyan-born Turk Yasemin Can and Ethiopian-born Israel Selamawit Teferi.

It is all happening at Tokyo Olympics 2020

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Aug 2021. 

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