Sport Olympics Tokyo Olympics: Medals soothe public opinion around Games
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Tokyo Olympics: Medals soothe public opinion around Games

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Japan sits atop the medals tally of the Olympic Games on day three, and the public scepticism of the home nation hosting the event has eased.

Two months ago, more than 80 per cent of Japanese people opposed hosting the Games, but with eight gold, two silver and three bronze medals won by Japan already, opinions appear to be changing.

The International Olympic Committee reported 69.4 million people, of Japan’s 126 million population, watched at least some of the preliminary competition events last Wednesday and Thursday.

And the home nation’s viewers have had a lot to smile about.

Japan’s “Face of the Games”, Naomi Osaka is poised as the favourite to win the women’s singles in tennis, after world no.1 Ash Barty’s shock first-round exit. Osaka plays in the third round on Tuesday.

“It would mean a lot to win gold here, but I know it’s a process,” she said after her second-round win over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.

“I know these are the best players in the world and I haven’t played in a while. I’m just really happy to be here.”

Naomi Osaka is hoping to win gold on home soil. Photo: Getty

If Osaka wins gold, she would become only the fourth singles player since 1988 to win Olympic gold on home soil.

On Monday, Momiji Nishiya made history as the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in street skateboarding, and as one of the youngest competitors at this Olympic Games, at just 13 years old.

“I’m so happy to win the Olympics in Japan, and I’m so happy to win my first Olympics as one of the youngest competitors,” she said after her triumph.

“I want to be the famous one who everyone in the world knows. I want to win at Paris 2024 too.”

Yuto Horigome Tokyo Olympics
Yuto Horigome, 22, won the men’s street skateboarding for the home nation. Photo: Getty

Nishiya’s domination of the day’s headlines come after Yuto Horigome secured an equally important slice of history, winning gold in the first-ever men’s street skateboarding event on Monday.

Monday provided multiple successes for the home nation to cheer about, with Japan’s gymnasts winning a silver medal in the men’s team final, and siblings Uta Abe and Hifumi making history in judo, winning gold medals on the same day.

Yui Ohashi supplied the home country with more joy, as the first-time Olympian won gold in the women’s 400m individual medley.