Japan top medals table, Britain’s Daley strikes gold
July 26 2021 11:46 PM
Britain’s Thomas Daley (left) and Matty Lee poses with their gold medals after wining the men’s sync
Britain’s Thomas Daley (left) and Matty Lee poses with their gold medals after wining the men’s synchronised 10m platform diving during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo yesterday. (AFP)

AFP/ Tokyo

Heading the Japanese charge was 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya who took gold in skateboarding street final

Japan topped the medals table at the Tokyo Olympics after the host nation won three golds yesterday and British diver Tom Daley was finally crowned an Olympic champion at his fourth Games in an emotional triumph.
Heading the Japanese charge was 13-year-old skateboarder Momiji Nishiya who took gold a day after the host nation also won the men’s title. “I’m so glad to become the youngest (Japanese gold medallist) at my first Olympics... tears came to my eyes,” Nishiya said.
Nishiya finished ahead of Brazil’s Rayssa Leal – who at 13 years and 203 days could have become the youngest ever individual Olympic champion –  and Japan’s Funa Nakayama, 16.
Nishiya starred in the tricks section to score 15.26 and give the hosts a clean-sweep of the street discipline as skateboarding makes its Olympic debut. Her performance mirrored that of Japan teammate Yuto Horigome, who won the men’s title with a stunning sequence of tricks on Sunday.
Shohei Ono, one of Japan’s biggest judo stars, won his second straight Olympic title with a tense victory over Georgian world champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili at the Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of the sport. Japan’s third gold, and eighth of the Games so far, came in a table tennis shock as mixed doubles pair Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito claimed their country’s first ever Olympic title in the sport. China had won every Olympic table tennis gold medal since the 2004 Athens Games, but Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen blew a two-game lead in a thrilling final.
Tears flowed at the diving venue as Britain’s Daley claimed a surprise first Olympic gold in the synchronised 10m platform event with Matty Lee. The 27-year-old Daley is hugely popular in Britain, where he has spent half of his life in the public eye and become an LGBT figurehead.
His Olympic journey began as a 14-year-old at the 2008 Beijing Games and he won bronzes at the 2012 and 2016 Rio Olympics, but a gold medal had remained frustratingly elusive. However yesterday, Daley and Lee capitalised after a rare blunder by China’s Chen Aisen and Cao Yuan to snatch gold. A tearful Daley paid tribute to late father Rob, who died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 40. “He never saw me win an Olympic medal, get married, have a child, teach me to drive,” said Daley. “He took me to every training session, every competition, he was always there.”
Elsewhere yesterday, the battle for supremacy between swimming superpowers Australia and the United States heated up. Ariarne Titmus landed the biggest blow for Australia with a pulsating victory over American great Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle.
In gymnastics, the Russian team claimed their first men’s team gold since the 1996 Atlanta Games as they stormed past defending champions Japan and left China in bronze medal position. The outcome of the first gymnastics gold on offer was in the balance right until the closing exercise when reigning world all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy secured the gold with a superb score on the horizontal bar.
Britain’s unstoppable Adam Peaty extended his dominance of the 100m breaststroke, powering to gold in 57.37sec ahead of Dutchman Arno Kamminga to retain his 2016 Olympic crown. Tom Pidcock won the mountain bike cross-country title for Britain’s third gold of the day.
Day three’s action got under way with chaotic scenes at the men’s triathlon, eventually won by Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt. In a farcical false start, around two-thirds of the 56 competitors dived into the water and set off on the swimming leg only to be hauled back. The bungled start was caused by a media boat filming the competitors before they dived in for the swimming leg.
South Korea claimed gold in the archery men’s team event extending their reign and winning the country’s third archery gold at the Tokyo Games. Teenager Kim Je Deok, at his first Olympics, won his second gold medal, helping the South Korean team to beat Taiwan 6-0 in the final. He took a gold in the mixed-team event on Saturday.
Arrows from Kim, Oh Jinhyek and Kim Woojin hit six perfect 10s in the second set of the final. The South Korean men’s team have now taken gold in the event six times at the Olympics, including in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In Tokyo, the country has already won three of the archery events, with the women’s team tying for the longest gold streak in Olympic history with nine successive titles. In the semi-finals, Japan lost in a shoot-off to South Korea, with Kim Je Deok’s arrow being closest to the centre, but the host country won bronze after defeating Netherlands 5-4 in the third-place match.
NBA star Luka Doncic made a sensational Olympic debut, hitting 48 points as Slovenia routed Argentina 118-100. “It was very special,” Doncic said. “Both for me and the whole team.”
Covid-19 continued to stalk the Games, with Dutch tennis players Jean-Julien Rojer and Wesley Koolhof pulling out of the men’s doubles after Rojer tested positive for coronavirus.

Japan’s Momiji Nishiya celebrates after performing a trick during the skateboarding women’s street final at Ariake Sports Park in Tokyo. (AFP)

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