Tokyo Olympics: Gardiner takes 400m crown as James holds on for bronze

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Steven Gardiner made it a world and Olympic double by winning the men's 400 metres at Tokyo 2020 on a day where Hansle Parchment shocked Grant Holloway to win the 110m hurdles.

Ryan Crouser defended his shot put title from Rio 2016, while Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Katie Nageotte were also among the gold medal winners at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

Here's a round-up of Thursday's best action in athletics.

 

GARDINER FOLLOWS UP DOHA TRIUMPH

Defending 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, who suffered a horrific knee injury in 2017, was not in the final and Gardiner displaced the South African in the Tokyo humidity.

The man from the Bahamas won gold in Doha at the world championships two years ago and timed his race to perfection in the Japanese capital, storming ahead from the final bend and passing the line in a time of 43.85s.

Anthony Zambrano of Colombia was second, while 2012 champion Kirani James added Olympic bronze for Grenada.

Just a night on from Andre De Grasse becoming men's 200m champion, Canada had more reason to celebrate as Damian Warner earned an Olympic record 9,018 points to win the decathlon. Kevin Mayer of France took silver ahead of Australia's Ashley Moloney.

In the heptathlon, Nafissatou Thiam defended her gold from Rio 2016 – the Belgian accruing 6,791 points. Dutch pair Anouk Vetter and Emma Oosterwegel were second and third.

 

PARCHMENT BEATS HOLLOWAY IN HUGE SHOCK

Possibly the biggest shock on the track of Tokyo 2020 so far arrived in the men's 110m hurdles, where world champion and clear favourite for gold Holloway had to settle for silver.

Instead, first place was taken by Jamaica's Parchment, an outsider on paper who stormed through when Holloway's momentum appeared to stall at the last two hurdles to win in a time of 13.04 seconds.

There was further upset for Team USA in the men's 4x100m relay, where a shock sixth-placed finish in their heat meant they missed out on the final.

Massimo Stano was a surprise winner of the men's 20km walk race, a strong finish seeing him beat well-fancied Japanese duo Koki Ikeda and Toshikazu Yamanishi.

With his victory, Italy have won three athletics gold medals at the same Games for the first time.

CROUSER LIVES UP TO THE BILLING IN AN OLYMPICS QUIRK

Crouser lived up to his billing as favourite in the men's shot put and in some style to defend his title from Rio 2016.

The American equalled or bettered his previous Olympic record with each of his six throws, with the winning distance marked at 22.93m.

World Champion and countryman Joe Kovacs took silver, while New Zealand's Tom Walsh was third. Incredibly, this was the exact same podium as at Rio 2016 – the first time in Olympics athletics to have the exact same repeat of a podium.

Pichardo was equally brilliant in taking home the men's triple jump gold. His effort of 17.98m represents the second-best winning jump in Olympics history and was personal redemption for the Portuguese, who missed out in Rio five years ago.

China's Zhu Yaming earned silver with a lifetime-best jump of 17.57, with Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso in third.

Nageotte earned a nice piece of history in winning women's pole vault gold for the United States. No woman or man has ever missed with their opening two attempts and gone on to win Olympic gold.

But Nageotte cleared 4.90m, a height no one else in the competition could match. Anzhelika Sidorova – the 2019 world champion – claimed silver for the Russia Olympic Committee, with Holly Bradshaw of the United Kingdom taking bronze.

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  • A blessing: “Cousin” Asher-Smith thrilled to finally compete in front of Jamaican crowd A blessing: “Cousin” Asher-Smith thrilled to finally compete in front of Jamaican crowd

    Jamaican track & field fans have earned a reputation as some of the most passionate and supportive people you will ever come across and, for British sprint superstar Dina Asher-Smith, seeing it up close and personal at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational on May 11 was a riveting experience.

    Asher-Smith, a proud member of the Jamaican diaspora herself through her father Winston, ran her second-fastest time of the young season, 22.59, to take top spot in the Women’s 200m at the inaugural edition of the meet held at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    The 28-year-old, in a post-race interview, said that, regardless of the result, she felt “blessed” to finally compete in Jamaica.

    “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do forever and ever. I am a part of the Jamaican diaspora around the world,” she said before pointing out that her parents flew in from London to see her compete.

    “I’m just so proud to have come here and, however today would’ve gone, it’s just a blessing to come here and race in Jamaica,” she added.

    The 2019 World 200m champion, in another interview after her race with The Inside Lane, expounded on her experience competing in Jamaica.

    “I’m just so blessed to be in this country and blessed that they support me on that level,” she said.

    “I don’t think I can quite articulate what it means to come to another country and they want you to do well and they’re so happy that you’re here. I think, as an athlete, we all want the medals, we all want the titles, we all want the records but at the same time, it means a lot that people want to see you do well,” she added.

    The British record holder in both the 100m and 200m said the support from fans even extended to off the track, mentioning that Jamaican guests at the hotel she stayed at often referred to her as “cousin” based on her Jamaican heritage.

    “It’s been amazing. I’ve always known that the Jamaican fans are so supportive but being here and seeing it up close like when you’re in the hotel and people also staying there are like ‘cousin, cousin!’ It means so much because when you’ve got your actual roots celebrating you and they like you for who you are, I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s so amazing.”

     

  • Felt good: Jackson pleased with execution after 200m season opener in Rabat Felt good: Jackson pleased with execution after 200m season opener in Rabat

    Two-time World 200m champion Shericka Jackson was pleased with her execution after finally kicking off her season in the half-lap event at the Rabat Diamond League on Sunday.

    Jackson produced 22.82 to win ahead of Ivorian Maboundou Kone (22.96) and France’s Helene Parisot (23.02) in conditions she described as not ideal for fast sprinting.

    “Felt good. I think I did pretty well tonight. Out here is a bit cold and windy but, nevertheless, I’m healthy and that’s good,” Jackson said in a post-race interview.

    In addition to the weather, Jackson commented on the lack of fans in the stadium to give the athletes a boost, stating that it paled in comparison to last year’s edition of the meet.

    “I was like ‘Oh My God!’ It’s one thing when out there is windy and cold and you don’t have much spectators to give you the boost and I think tonight wasn’t as good as last year where reception is concerned,” she said.

    With it being her first 200m of the season, “execution” was Jackson’s response when asked what the focus of the race was.

    “It’s my second race and first 200m of the season. I did not know what to expect. Coach and I were discussing a few things and I think we did pretty good tonight,” she said.

    Jackson then said that she has a few more races scheduled before competing at Jamaica’s National Championships from June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    “I have a few more races before trials. It’s a bit of a late start to the season but we have a few races to go so it’s just building from there. We’ll definitely peak at the right time,” she said.

    Jackson will be looking to replicate her performance at last year’s national championships where she took the sprint double with times of 10.65, a personal best, and 21.71.

    She also won the sprint double in 2022 with times of 10.77 and 21.55.

  • Jackson and Clayton shine but Jamaica's men fall short of the podium in Rabat Jackson and Clayton shine but Jamaica's men fall short of the podium in Rabat

    Shericka Jackson and Rushell Clayton showcased their class while being among the winners at Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

    Jackson, who made her season debut in the 100m in Kingston on May 4 after a late start to her season, was not at her sharpest in Rabat but good enough to keep the field at bay as she sprinted to victory in 22.82 seconds while running into a headwind of -1.0m/s.

    Maboundou Kone of the Ivory Coast was a close second in 22.96 with Helene Parisot of England in 23.02.

    Earlier, Clayton was more impressive. Coming off an encouraging victory at the Jamaica Athletic Invitational on May 11 when she ran a world-leading 53.72, Clayton once again dominated the first 300m but was closed down by compatriot Shian Salmon along the home stretch. Still, she managed to hold on to win in 53.98. Salmon ran an enterprising race for second place clocking 54.27.

    Anna Ryzhykova ran a commendable 55.09 for third place.

    While fortune smiled on Jamaica’s women, the men were not as fortunate as Rohan Watson was edged out of a podium finish in the men’s 100m dash. The reigning Jamaican champion finished fifth in 10.26. He was credited with the same time as fourth-placed finisher Brandon Hicklin of the USA and was 0.01 behind Great Britain’s Jeremiah Azu, who took third in 10.25.

    There was no doubt about the winner Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon who crossed first in 10.11 with Canada’s Andre Degrasse finishing in second place in 10.19.

    Yohan Blake ran a season’s best 10.41 while being eighth.

    In the men’s discus, Travis Smikle once again exceeded 66m but missed out on a podium position. He finished fourth with his best throw of 66.03m. However, he was no match for winner Mykolas Anelka. The newly minted world record holder produced an impressive throw of 70.70m to win the contest.

    Matthew Denny of Australia finished in the runner-up position with his throw of 67.74m. Olympic and World Champion Daniel Stahl threw 67.49m for third place.

    Fedrick Dacres threw 65.05 for sixth place.

     

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