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Saturday, September 25, 2021
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Felix wins 10th medal, becomes most decorated woman in track and field history

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the women’s 400 metres in 48.36 seconds on Friday (August 6) to retain her Olympic title as American Allyson Felix took bronze for a record 10th Olympic medal.

Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won silver.

Miller-Uibo wrested control of the lead on the second bend and delivered her trademark final surge to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the event since France’s Marie-Jose Perec in 1996.

She finished in 48.36 seconds – more than eight tenths of a second faster than Paulino, her place on top of the podium never really in doubt.

It was the fastest performance of the season in the event, after Miller-Uibo set the previous season’s best of 49.08 in Eugene, Oregon, in April.

The win made up for a disappointing eighth-place finish for Miller-Uibo in the 200m final earlier in the week.

Felix’s bronze made the 35-year-old the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, edging ahead of Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey.

She also equalled compatriot Carl Lewis’s Olympic medal count and is widely expected to contend in Saturday’s 4x400m relay final for one more shot at the podium in her fifth and final Games.

Felix and Lewis are tied for second all-time in the sport behind Finland’s Paavo Nurmi who won 12 Olympic medals.

Already one of the sport’s greats, Friday’s performance capped a remarkable saga for Felix after she gave birth to daughter Camryn via an emergency C-section in 2018.

It was another fast event at the Olympic Stadium, where records have fallen in a dazzling athletics programme, as the Dominican Republic’s Paulino set a national best to finish second.

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder, won the men’s 5,000 metres gold to add to his 10,000m silver from last week.

The 24-year-old set the pace early in the 12-and-a-half-lap race but was soon overtaken by a host of his competitors on a balmy evening at the Olympic Stadium.

But with about 600m remaining he found a different gear to surge past the pack and retake the lead to win in 12:58:15.

Mohammed Ahmed of Canada clinched the silver while American Paul Chelimo claimed the bronze medal with a season’s best time of 12:59:05, falling over the line after struggling at the end.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon retained her title in the women’s 1,500 metres as she denied Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan her dream of winning an unprecedented Olympic treble.

Hassan had to settle for bronze as Britain’s Laura Muir took silver at the Olympic Stadium.

It was a fast race as Hassan moved to the front with Kipyegon right behind her. But the Kenyan accelerated to grab the lead on the last lap and won in an Olympic record time of 3:53.11.

The previous Olympic record of 3:53.96 was set by Romania’s Paula Ivan in Seoul in 1988.

Hassan came into the race as the newly-crowned 5,000m Olympic champion, a first of what she had hoped would be a hat-trick of golds. She also plans to compete in the 10,000m on Saturday (August 7).

Ethiopian-born Hassan, 28, led for most of the race but Kipyegon stayed right with her, never allowing the Dutchwoman to widen the lead.

As they came towards the penultimate bend, they were running almost shoulder to shoulder. Kipyegon soon found another gear, streaked past her rival and never looked back.

As the race entered its last stretch, Hassan began to fade and that opened the door for Muir who pushed past her to finish second with a time of 3:54.50, a national record.

Muir’s silver was Britain’s second Olympic medal in the women’s 1500m, after Kelly Holmes won gold in 2004 in Athens.

Kipyegon, 27, became the second athlete to win multiple Olympic gold medals in the event. She continues her impressive run in major competitions. She has either won or finished second at every major 1500m championship final she has competed in since 2015.

The win was particularly astonishing as it came after she had taken nearly two years off for the birth of her daughter before coming back in 2019 and winning world championship silver behind Hassan in Doha.

Harrie Lavreysen became the first Dutchman for almost 90 years to win the Olympic track cycling sprint, edging out team mate Jeffrey Hoogland in a tense final on Friday.

World champion Lavreysen, 24, lost the opening race of the best-of-three showdown, and Hoogland was within half the width of a wheel of becoming champion in the second.

A cagey start to the decider by the two flying Dutchmen – who had already delivered gold this week in the team sprint – almost saw them come together as they jockeyed for prime position.

But when Lavreysen squeezed the throttle as the bell sounded there was nothing Hoogland could do in response.

Lavreysen’s win ended Britain’s Olympic domination of the men’s sprints which had stretched back to the 2008 Beijing Games, although there was some consolation with Scot Jack Carlin beating Russian Denis Dmitriev in the bronze-medal race.

The Netherlands won their fourth Olympic women’s hockey title by defeating Argentina 3-1 in the final.

After the first quarter ended without any score, the Dutch, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Games, took the lead thanks to a goal by Margot van Geffen off a penalty corner.

They extended their lead as flicking specialist Caia van Maasakker netted two more penalty corners.

Argentina replied with moments left to play in the first half when Agustina Gorzelany also scored off a penalty corner.

Las Leonas kept fighting after the halftime break but were unable to score another goal, settling for the silver medal.

Julio la Cruz outclassed Russian world heavyweight champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov to win his second Olympic title, underlining Cuba’s dominance of the boxing competition in Tokyo with a third gold medal from five awarded so far.

La Cruz, 31, stayed on top against the Russian in one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the Games and displayed his decade of championship-winning experience, dodging Gadzhimagomedov’s punches before exposing him on the counter.

Known in Cuba as “The Shadow”, La Cruz pounded his chest with crossed arms and saluted his cheering team, removing his mouthguard to flash a gold-teeth smile before collapsing backwards onto the canvas to take in his victory.

Mexico secured the bronze medal in the men’s Olympic football tournament by comfortably beating Japan 3-1, leaving the hosts in tears at the final whistle.

The Mexicans, who lost on penalties in the semi-finals to Brazil, took a 13th minute lead when Wataru Endo tripped Alexis Vega in the box and, after a long wait for confirmation from VAR, Sebastian Cordova slotted home the penalty.

Johan Vasquez doubled the lead nine minutes later with an angled header from a perfectly flighted Cordova free-kick from the left.

It was another set-piece goal which put the game beyond Japan in the 58th minute with Vega losing his marker at a corner and powering a header past goalkeeper Kosei Tani.

Substitute Kaoru Mitoma delivered some consolation for the hosts with a fine finish in the 78th minute, bursting into the box and firing a left-foot shot into the top corner.

Japan wasted some late chances to add a second and when the final whistle blew there were emotional scenes with Mexico celebrating wildly on the field after several Japanese players had collapsed to the ground in tears.

Brazil face Spain in the men’s final on Saturday.

Japan toppled France 87-71, buoyed by record-breaking assists from Rui Machida, for a shot at women’s basketball gold against the United States on Sunday (August 8).

Japan’s Machida, a 5’4″ (1.63m) dynamo with a rocket passing arm, set an Olympic record with 18 assists as her team overcame France, a team they had beaten in the preliminaries. Many of those passes went to Himawari Akaho, who led with 17 points.

In the artistic swimming, the ROC team held the lead over China after the technical routine. ROC scored 97.2979 with China on 96.2310 going into the medal-deciding free routine on Saturday.

(Production: Sophie Penney and Mike Brock)

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