Sport Olympics Tokyo Olympics: China takes early medal lead on day not without controversy
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Tokyo Olympics: China takes early medal lead on day not without controversy

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China’s Yang Qian won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a win in the women’s 10-metre rifle competition.

Naohisa Takato won Japan’s first gold medal at its home Olympics, beating Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei in the men’s 60kg judo final.

China leads the medal tally after day one with three gold and a bronze medal. Italy and Japan winning a gold and a silver to run second.

Yang was the sixth-placed qualifier for the final then produced an Olympic-record score of 251.8 to top the podium on Saturday.

Russian shooter Anastasiia Galashina (251.1) finished in second place, while the bronze medal went to Switzerland’s Nina Christen (230.6).

An overjoyed Yang beamed that her gold medal was “a gift to my country, I’m so proud”.

The 28-year-old Takato atoned for his disappointing bronze-medal performance in Rio de Janeiro five years ago with a hair-raising run to the Tokyo final at the venerable Nippon Budokan arena, the site of judo’s introduction to the Olympics in 1964.

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An elated Takato claimed Japan’s first home gold medal of the games. Photo: Getty

An Algerian judo athlete, meanwhile, will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after he withdrew from the competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73 kg division on Monday. 

The International Judo Federation’s executive committee temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics. The Algerian Olympic committee withdrew both men’s accreditation and made plans to send them home.

The IJF said Nourine’s position was “in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.”

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Source: Tokyo 2020

COVID withdrawals

A German cyclist, a Dutch rower and a Portuguese surfer have become the latest Olympic athletes forced to miss competition after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tour de France rider Simon Geschke, withdrew from Saturday’s cycling road race, one of the marquee early events of the Tokyo Games.

Dutch rower Finn Florijn was shattered after testing positive for COVID-19 after competing in the men’s single sculls on Friday.

The 21-year-old had finished in fourth in his heat and was to have contested a repechage race on Saturday.

His case comes after a staff member of the Dutch rowing team, as well as two other Dutch athletes – taekwondo competitor Reshmie Oogink and skateboarder Candy Jacobs – also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais issued a statement on social media, saying: “This is likely the saddest video I’ve ever had to post.

“In 2019 I qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were postponed because of COVID-19. And now, because of the virus I won’t be able to compete nor represent my country.”

The Portuguese Olympic team said Morais, considered to be the best European surfer at the Games, would not travel to Tokyo as planned.

Opening Ceremony apology

A South Korean TV network has apologised after using inappropriate images and captions to describe countries during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony.

The broadcaster, MBC, used images of pizza to describe Italy, an upheaval for Haiti, Chernobyl for Ukraine, salmon for Norway, when athletes from those countries entered the stadium for the opening ceremony.

Only 63 of Australia’s 472 athletes took part in the parade. Photo: AAP

In its captions broadcasting the ceremony, the network referred to the Marshall Islands as “once a nuclear test site for the United States”, and Syria as the country that has “a civil war going on for 10 years”.

In an opening ceremony – without the usual glitz and overshadowed by a pandemic but defined by hope, tradition and gestures of diversity – Japan’s tennis superstar Naomi Osaka on Friday lit the Olympic cauldron to mark the start of the world’s biggest sporting event.

After its use of offensive images and explanations prompted criticism online, MBC issued an apology saying: “Inappropriate images and captions were used to introduce some stories. We apologised to those countries including Ukraine and our viewers”. 

-with AAP