Karsten Warholm revelled in the "wow" factor of his astonishing 400 metres hurdles triumph as the world record was obliterated at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 25-year-old Norwegian ran 45.94 seconds, breaking the record for a second time in five weeks, after Kevin Young previously held the global mark for 29 years.

"I didn't touch one hurdle. I was even able to find another gear coming home, so 'wow'," Warholm said.

"It's just so big. It's almost like history here. It was the only thing missing from my collection. I had a World Championships [gold medal]. I had European Championships, I had the world record, the European record.

"The Olympic gold medal is what everybody talks about. I knew this race was going to be the toughest of my life, but I was ready."

The top three in the race all went under 47 seconds and beat the previous Olympic record, with silver for American Rai Benjamin in 46.17 and bronze going to Brazilian Alison dos Santos in 46.72.

 

Warholm ran 46.70 in Oslo at the start of July to slash 0.08 seconds off Young's long-standing record, which was set at the Barcelona Olympics.

There were many ways to dissect the magnitude of this latest record, and one was to look at how the world record shifted by just 0.75 seconds from Ed Moses running 47.45 in 1977 until Warholm's 46.70 in July.

To now scythe a further 0.76 seconds off the all-time mark represented a staggering achievement.

"I mean, man it’s so crazy. It’s by far the biggest moment of my life," Warholm said.

"It defines everything, all the hours I put in, everything that my coach has been working for.

"I dream about it like a maniac, I tell you. I sleep all night on it. I spend all my time thinking about this, so just getting this last medal into my collection, it’s complete.

"I can't sleep. I've spent thousands of hours thinking about this.

"I had this special feeling in my chest, you know when you are nervous. I was just thinking this is the feeling that I had when I was six years old. I've never had that feeling since I got older, but yesterday I had it."

Warholm had a healthy lead heading into the final 150 metres but came under pressure from Benjamin over the final two barriers, the gap closing.

The 25-year-old from Ulsteinvik held his nerve and maintained his rhythm, though, sprinting away to post a record that could stand for many years to come.

Some even compared it to Bob Beamon's 1968 long jump world record in Mexico City, which stood for 23 years and remains the second longest leap of all time.

Benjamin was reduced to tears after the race, having delivered the performance of his life but still finished on the second step of the podium

"Knowing that you want to be the best, this is what it costs. It's hard. It hurts. But it is what it is," Benjamin said.

"I always give myself 24 hours to process things. Right now I am just full of emotion. I have worked so hard. This is what matters. I got a medal but it just hurts to lose."

He added: "I'm a dog. I'm a fighter. It's my first Olympics. I made some mistakes that cost me, but it's all right. I'll fix it."

Karsten Warholm set a massive world record in the men's 400 metres hurdles as the Norwegian landed gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

He became the first man to dip under 46 seconds, setting a startling time of 45.94 seconds as he fended off American Rai Benjamin, who clocked 46.17.

The top three in the race all went under 47 seconds and beat the previous Olympic record, with bronze going to Brazilian Alison dos Santos in 46.72.

Warholm was already the world record holder, setting a time of 46.70secs in Oslo at the start of July to break the previous best of 46.78 that had been held by Kevin Young since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics..

Now he has demolished his own mark, helped by being pushed all the way by Benjamin.

Warholm had a healthy lead heading into the final 150 metres but then came under pressure from the USA star over the final two barriers, the gap closing.

The 25-year-old from Ulsteinvik held his nerve and maintained his rhythm, though, sprinting away to post a record that could stand for many years to come.

All three medallists went under the previous Olympic record.

Gold in the women's long jump went to Germany's Malaika Mihambo, whose final-round effort of 7.00 metres saw her edge ahead of America Brittney Reese and NIgerian Ese Brume, the silver and bronze medallists, who both posted best leaps of 6.97m.

Jamaica’s Shadae Lawrence expressed satisfaction with her performance, despite not making it to the medal podium in the final of the Women’s Discus on Monday.

Lawrence made history by becoming the first-ever Jamaican woman to make an Olympic discus final.

She threw a distance of 62.27 metres in group A of the qualifying round to finish third and advance to the final. During the final, Lawrence fell just below her qualifying mark to throw 62.12 metres. That throw landed her a top-eight spot as she finished 7th.

The 25-year-old took to Instagram to share her gratitude and emotion. She posted a photo of her in the throwing circle along with a caption saying, “I want to thank God for bringing me this far. The journey was rough but he didn’t give me more than I could bear. The aim for this season was to make a top 8 finish at the Olympic Games. On the journey I found out I could do much more. A 7th place finish is what I’m blessed with and I am grateful”.

The second time Olympian went on to thank her coach, Julian Robison, whom she said believed in her from the start and never doubted her talent. She also thanked the University of South Florida where she attends school, for their support along her journey. Lawrence ended her caption by thanking her family for their support over the years and sent a special shout-out to her sister and mother.

The women’s discus was won by the USA’s Valarie Allman with a throw of 68.98. Silver went to Germany’s Kristen Pudenz and Cuba’s Yaime Perez gained bronze.

 

 

  

China have a commanding lead at the top of the Tokyo 2020 medal table following another hugely successful day at the Olympics.

Five gold medals on day 10 took China's tally for the Games to 29.

Two of those came in weightlifting as Wang Zhouyu prevailed in the women's 87kg category and Li Wenwen set an Olympic record in the +87kg division.

Zhang Changhong won the men's 50m air rifle three positions, China's women took team sprint gold in the velodrome and Liu Yang beat compatriot You Hao in the men's rings final.

It means China are seven golds ahead of the United States, with two more Americans becoming Olympic champions on Monday.

Jade Carey was triumphant in the women's floor exercise final and Valarie Allman took gold in the discus throw.

Japan are third in the table after a day in which they failed to add any golds to their tally of 17.

Australia (14 golds) and the Russian Olympic Committee (12 golds) are fourth and fifth having also been kept off the top step of the podium.

Breathing down the neck of the Russian Olympic Committee are Great Britain, their tally of golds increased to 11 with victory in team eventing.

 

Soufiane El Bakkali ended Kenya's dominance in the men's 3000m steeplechase by claiming a first Olympic gold medal for Morocco in any sport since 2004.

The Kenyans have set the standard in this event in recent times, winning gold at each of the previous nine Games.

But El Bakkali put paid to that streak, claiming victory ahead of Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma as Benjamin Kigen collected a bronze for Kenya.

The last Moroccan to claim prevail sport was Hicham El Guerrouj, who won the men's 1500m and 5000m in Athens 17 years ago.

"I am so used to seeing Kenyans win, it's a big accomplishment for me," El Bakkali said. 

"I have been aiming for this for years and this was my opportunity to show that Morocco is capable of winning this prize in front of the Kenyans. 

"I have tried so many times to compare myself with the Kenyans and Ethiopians to see whether I could reach this gold, and I did."


HASSAN HAT-TRICK BID ON TRACK

Sifan Hassan is aiming to become the first athlete to win a 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m treble at a single Olympic Games.

The Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman, who recovered from a fall to get through her 1500m heat earlier in the day, got her bid off to an outstanding start with victory in the 5000m on Monday.

"After I fell down, it cost me a lot of energy, I went home and I wanted to sleep," said Hassan, who claimed the Netherlands' first Olympic gold in athletics since 1992.

"Many people think I am crazy. I think also I am crazy. Many people think this is crazy and I am not even going to get one medal. 

"Life is not about the gold, the winner; it's also about following your heart."


CANADA END TEAM USA HOODOO TO REACH FINAL

Canada sensationally ended a 36-game winless run against the United States, Jessie Fleming's penalty securing a place in the women's football final.

The Canadians had not beaten Team USA – four-time Olympic gold medallists – since March 11, 2001.

However, their luck changed with Fleming's 74th-minute penalty settling the semi-final after VAR ruled that Tierna Davidson had fouled Deanne Rose.

Canada's reward is a gold-medal showdown with Sweden, who beat Australia 1-0 thanks to Fridolina Rolfo's second-half strike.

On a brighter note for the United States away from football, it was announced Simone Biles will take part in Tuesday's balance beam final.


FOUR-MIDABLE LOPEZ

Mijain Lopez became the first male Greco-Roman wrestler to win four gold medals at the Olympics after defeating Georgia's Iakobi Kajaia in the 130kg final.

His success saw him receive a congratulatory call from Cuba president Miguel Diaz-Canel, while he did not rule out carrying on through to Paris 2024 either.

"I feel happy, proud to be the best in the world and make history," Lopez said.

"I've had a long career, working hard to make these goals and break this record. 

"I've been working so hard to get to this point. Being able to break this record today for me is a great achievement, because I've faced the best and I can be proud."


DEJA VU IN THE WOMEN’S HOCKEY

Having contested the 2016 final in Rio, Great Britain and the Netherlands will face off again at the Games - this time in a mouth-watering last-four showdown.

Team GB required a shoot-out to see off Spain following a 2-2 draw, with Hannah Martin and Sarah Jones scoring their efforts while goalkeeper Maddie Hinch produced heroics to seal a 2-0 success.

Martin said: "It's a huge moment for us to get to those medal matches. We're just over the moon.

"Maddie was absolutely exceptional in there. We knew she had it and the feeling was utter elation. I couldn't get to her quick enough."

As for the Netherlands, they enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over New Zealand.

 Jamaica’s Megan Tapper claimed the country’s first bronze medal in the women’s 100m hurdles after battling to the line in Tokyo on Saturday.

Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who is unbeaten this season, followed up an Olympic record of 12.26 in the semi-finals by running 12.36 to win her first Olympic gold medal, five years after hitting a hurdle and crashing out at the semi-final stage in Rio.

Tapper ran 12.55 to win the bronze medal.  The world record holder, Keni Harrison of the USA, won silver in 12.52 to also secure her first Olympic medal.

Bahamian Devynne Charlton finished 6th in 12.74 and Jamaica’s Brittany Anderson finished 8th in 13.24.

Men’s Long Jump

The Caribbean secured two medals in the men’s long jump after Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria and Maykel Masso finished second and third with jumps of 8.41 and 8.21 respectively.

The gold medalist, Miltiadis Tentoglu of Greece, also jumped 8.41 but was determined as the outright winner on countback because his second-longest jump of 8.15 was longer than Echevarria’s second-longest of 8.09.

Jamaica’s reigning world champion, Tajay Gayle, valiantly made an attempt to compete after picking up a left knee injury in qualifying.  Jumping with heavy strapping on that knee, Gayle fouled his first two attempts before registering 7.69 on his third to finish 11th overall.

Women’s Triple Jump

Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica narrowly missed out on a medal.  Ricketts finished fourth after leaping out to 14.84 on her fourth-round attempt.

The Jamaican was in third place going into the fifth round until Spain’s Ana Peleteiro produced a national record of 14.87 to overtake Ricketts and secure the bronze medal.

The competition also saw Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas win her first Olympic gold medal by jumping to a new world record of 15.67 metres, breaking the previous mark of 15.50 set at the 1995 World Championships by Ukrainian Inessa Kravets.

The other Jamaican in the final, Kimberly Williams, finished eighth with a jump of 14.51.

 

Men’s 400 metres Hurdles

Only one Caribbean athlete advanced to the final.  Both Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands and Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica lined up in semi-final 3 and with 100 metres to go, they both looked in good shape to get to the final.

Unfortunately, Hyde hit the eighth hurdle badly and fell, taking him out of contention.

He ended up jogging to the finish in a time of 1:27.38.

McMaster went on to win the semi-final in 48.26 and advance to his first Olympic final.

 

Men’s 100m

No Caribbean men advanced to the final of the men’s 100 metres as Jamaica’s Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville both came up short in their semi-final races.

Blake finished sixth in semi-final 1 in 10.14 and Seville finished fourth in semi-final 2 in 10.09.

The final eventually saw Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs take gold in 9.80 ahead of the USA’s Fred Kerley who ran 9.84 for second and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse who ran 9.89 for third, his second successive Olympic 100 metres bronze medal.

All three men recorded personal bests in the race.

 

Women’s 1500 Metres

Jamaica’s Aisha Praught-Leer competed in heat 2 of the women’s 1500 metres despite injury and finished 13th in a time of 4:15.31.

 

Women’s 200 Metres

 Four Caribbean women advanced to the semi-finals of the 200 metres.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas finished second in heat 1 with a time of 22.40 to advance.

100 metres silver medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was next to confirm her spot in the next round, comfortably winning heat 2 in 22.22.

Heat 5 was won by Bahamian Anthonique Strachan in 22.76 but the biggest story from that race was Shericka Jackson of Jamaica.

The 100 metres bronze medalist failed to advance after easing up at the line and being passed Italy’s Dalia Kaddari.

100 metres gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica was very conservative in heat 6, finishing third in 22.86 to secure her spot in the semi-finals.

 

 

The Belarusian sprinter who refused to board a flight home from Japan after allegedly being taken to the airport against her will is "safe" and being protected at a hotel, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, was in Tokyo to contest the women's 200 metres and 4x400m relay events but was told to pack her things after publicly criticising her team's organisation on social media.

She claimed a Belarusian coach entered her for the relay despite her never racing in the event before, which she suggested was a result of members of the team being considered ineligible due to not completing enough doping tests.

The Belarus National Olympic Committee (NOC) said her withdrawal from competition was due to her "emotional, psychological state", but Tsimanouskaya insisted she was being forced to leave Tokyo "without my consent".

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation indicated Tsimanouskaya feared for her life upon returning to Minsk. The country is under the authoritarian leadership of president Alexander Lukashenko, whose son Viktor heads the NOC.

Last December, IOC president Thomas Bach banned both men from attending the Games, declaring: "The IOC has come to the conclusion that it appears that the current leadership has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member federations or the sports movement."

Tsimanouskaya managed to alert police at the airport, and IOC spokesman Mark Adams later said at a news conference: "She assured us and has assured us that she feels safe and secure. She spent the night at an airport hotel in a safe and secure environment.

"The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with her and the Japanese authorities to determine the next step in the upcoming days."

Tsimanouskaya has already been offered a visa by Poland.

Long jump favourite Juan Miguel Echevarria was left in despair after injury prevented him from chasing the gold won by Miltiadis Tentoglou on countback at Tokyo 2020 on Monday.

Tentoglou said he was lucky to win gold in a shock result over Echevarria with a last-ditch sixth-round leap of 8.41m, beating Echevarria on countback, while Cuba also claimed bronze thanks to Maykel Masso's jump of 8.21m.

Echevarria, who had topped qualifying, had a final chance to beat the mark with his sixth attempt but could not make the jump due to injury, slumping to the floor on his knees in despair, consoled by compatriot Masso.

"It was very, very painful. I couldn't do what I usually do," Echevarria said.

"I have no words to express how I feel because I couldn't achieve what I wanted, what I have been fighting for so many years.

"I am personally not very happy with the result. I have always tried to go further."

The Greek had earlier registered a second-best jump of 8.15m compared to Echevarria's 8.09m to have the countback advantage, with his final attempt putting him ahead.

"Last attempt, I told myself to calm down and do a normal jump. I didn't expect it could be so big," Tentoglou said.

"I consider myself lucky. I was not lucky to jump 8.41m the last attempt but I was lucky to win."

The winning distance of 8.41m was well short of Mike Powell's world record of 8.95m, which has stood since 1991.

Tentoglou backed Echevarria to move on from his Olympic disappointment and one day reach the milestone.

"If someone can do the world record, it's Juan Miguel," he said. "I don't know for me. I need to do the national record first. I am not the national record holder."

Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn triumphed in the women's 100m hurdles a day after setting a new Olympic record in the semi-finals.

Camacho-Quinn won in 12.37 ahead of USA's Kendra Harrison (12.52) and Jamaica's Megan Tapper (12.55), who had an anxious wait to find out if she had claimed bronze ahead of Nigeria's Tobi Amusan (12.6) in fourth.

The Puerto Rican admitted afterwards she had her sights set on Harrison's world record of 12.2 but clipped a hurdle to thwart her.

 

TEAM USA AVOID BASKETBALL SHOCK

The United States bounced back after trailing to France in the last quarter to record a 93-82 win in the women's basketball.

France had headed the US 72-71 in the fourth quarter, but the gold medal favourites rallied with a 7-0 run to assert their dominance.

A'ja Wilson was huge in the final quarter, finishing with a game-high 22 points, along with seven rebounds and three assists, while Breanna Stewart had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Japan booked their quarter-final spot with a 102-83 win over Nigeria, while the US will go through in top spot from Group B ahead of the quarter-finals.

HOCKEYROOS HEARTBREAK, INDIAN JOY

Australia's Hockeyroos had a perfect group phase with five wins from as many games but were stunned by India in the quarter-finals 1-0 in women's hockey.

Gurjit Kaur scored the winner from a 22nd-minute penalty corner to stun the Australians, who have not medalled in women's hockey since Sydney 2000.

Australia also lost in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016 but were far better placed in Tokyo after their exceptional group form.

India have never claimed an Olympic medal in women's hockey, finishing fourth in 1980, and will face world number five Argentina in the semi-finals.

Argentina, who have won medals at four of the past five Olympics, overcame Germany 3-0 aided by two goals late in the first half.

 

INDONESIA WINS FIRST TOKYO GOLD

Indonesia won its first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 as Greysia Polii and Rahayu Apriyani combined to triumph in the women's badminton doubles.

The Indonesian pair defeated China's Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 2-0, in a triumph that was the country's first in women's doubles, having won all other badminton events.

Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong won the all-South Korean bronze medal match against Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan 2-0.

Jamaica’s bold ambitions of chasing a double sprint sweep evaporated in unexpected fashion after 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson failed to advance from the heats.

It was, however, the way in which Jackson saw her bid for another individual medal slip away that left onlookers slack-jawed.  Competing in heat 5, the athlete, one of the fastest women in the event this year, seemed well in control of the race early on but began to cruise closer to the line.

The Jamaican was passed by Portugal’s Lorène Bazolo and also Italy’s Dalia Kaddari at the finish.  Kaddari finished third in 23.26, the same time as Jackson but advanced when the times were rounded down further.  With the heat being one of the slower events Jackson was also unable to advance as one of the fastest losers.  Jackson’s heat was won by the Bahamas’ Anthonique Strachan.

There was no such trouble for Jackson’s compatriot, defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who advanced from heat 6 after finishing in third position.  The heat was won by Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel with Great Britain’s Beth Dobbin second.

100m silver medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also advanced in comfortable fashion after winning heat 2 in 22.22.  Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi was second in 22.63, with the Netherland’s Dafne Schippers also securing qualification with her third-place finish of 23.13.

The women’s semi-finals will take place on Monday at 5:25 am.

 

Italy enjoyed arguably their greatest night in athletics on Sunday with two gold medals in the men's 100 metres final and the men's high jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

Marcell Jacobs won the first Olympics title in the post-Usain Bolt era, crossing the line in a new European record time of 9.80 seconds ahead of the United States' Fred Kerley and Canada's Andre de Grasse.

The men's 100m, the first at the Games not featuring three-time champion Bolt since 2004, had been difficult to predict and that continued in the semi-finals as USA trials winner Trayvon Bromell, the fastest man in the world this year, failed to qualify with a time of 10.00.

The quickest times were in the third semi-final, won by 60m expert Su Bingtian, who smashed the Asian record with a time of 9.83 to become the first man from the continent to reach the Olympic 100m final since 1932.

After Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start, Su this time could not get the explosive start he needed and it was Jacobs who held his form and speed to cross the line first.

 

His triumph came barely an hour after a memorable high jump competition concluded with joint gold medallists being declared.

Italian Gianmarco Tamberi and double world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim each enjoyed spotless records before three failures at 2.39, a height that would have matched Charles Austin's Olympic record set in 1996.

Rather than contest gold and silver in a jump-off, the two agreed to share first place, celebrating wildly after speaking with the official.

"It's amazing, fantastic, it's a dream. It's incredible. No words," said Jacobs to the BBC before admitting his compatriot's exploits had inspired him.

"I watched him from the blocks and he boosted me really, really hard. I love Gianmarco. It's fantastic."

Tamberi added: "This night is memorable. We made our dream come true and we passed through many difficult times. I don't know what to say.

"We dreamed it so many times and now we did it."

 

Rojas leaps into record books

Yulimar Rojas twice jumped clear of the world record to win the women's triple jump title and secure Venezuela's first gold of the games.

The two-time world champion soared well over the mark of 15.50 set by Ukraine's Inessa Kravets in 1995 with her third jump, although she was beyond the board.

However, with her final attempt, Rojas leapt to a sensational 15.67 to finish 56 centimetres ahead of Patricia Mamona in second and Ana Peleteiro in third, each of whom claimed national records.

"I always said I was born with a talent, with a gift and I was destined to do great things in life," she said. "I think I'm opening doors and not just for myself. I'm opening doors [for people] who want to follow me. I'm so happy here to be talking to you, to write the history of my country."

 

The women's long jump final will be contested on Tuesday, with Serbia's Ivana Spanovic topping the qualifying with a distance of 7.00m.

In the 100m hurdles semi-finals, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn laid down a marker to the rest of the field, romping through in a time of 12.26s to break Sally Person's Olympic record of 12.35s.

In the 3000m steeplechase, favourite Hyvin Kiyeng and reigning world champion Beatrice Chepkoech eased into the final amid punishing earlier temperatures in Tokyo.

 

Warholm and Benjamin surge into final

One of the great modern rivalries in men's athletics will continue on Tuesday after Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin eased into the final of the 400m hurdles.

Warholm, who broke the world record in Oslo a month ago, finished seven hundredths of a second ahead of the American in the first semi-final on Sunday.

Alison dos Santos of Brazil qualified with an arena record of 47.31s, just behind Warholm's 47.30s. A field so stacked with talent it was described by former Olympic champion Felix Sanchez as "insane" will make for a gripping final.

The men's heats in the flat 400m were also completed, world record holder Wayde van Niekerk qualifying in 45.25s, some way down on the leading time of 44.82s set by Michael Cherry.

Ferguson Rotich was the fastest in the men's 800m semi-finals, but Nijel Amos, who claimed silver in 2012 behind the great David Rudisha, collided with Isaiah Jewett and will not contest the final.

 

Gold for Gong as Adams completes set

China's Gong Lijiao won the women's shot put final with a personal best of 20.58cm.

Raven Saunders was second and double former champion Valerie Adams, who won silver five years ago, took the bronze to complete her medal collection at this event.

"I've seen Valerie winning gold all the time and I'm very happy for her, but this time it is finally my time," said Gong.

Anita Wlodarczyk, who is bidding to become the first woman to win an individual athletics gold at three consecutive Games, needed just one throw to book her place in the hammer final.

Within the space of nine manic minutes, Tokyo became 2021's latest Azzurri outpost on a momentous and historic night for Italy.

There were scenes of indescribable joy when Gianmarco Tamberi shared gold with Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim after each jumped 2.37 metres in the men's high jump. 

Social media was abuzz when the two agreed not to go ahead with a jump off, instead embracing in a warm hug before letting the moment overcome them. Tamberi, draped in an Italian flag, sunk to the track in sheer ecstasy.

From the position of the press tribune, the scenes were just as joyous as the Italian contingent roared their approval.

It proved a mere prelude for a sensational denouement on a hot, stuffy night at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium - a men's 100m final no one would have predicted prior in the heats.

The fastest man in the world this year, Trayvon Bromell, did not even make the final, narrowly missing out in his semi-final via a photo finish and not clocking a quick enough time to qualify as a fastest loser.

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs booked his spot in European record-breaking fashion thanks to a run of 9.84 seconds. A sensation was brewing.

Even so, that was still only enough for the third quickest time in a third semi-finals of the highest quality – China's Su Bingtian storming home to set the pace at 9.83, finishing ahead of pre-final favourite Ronnie Baker after a photo review. 

For Jacobs to even medal still seemed a long shot, especially considering Italy had never before had a 100m finalist. Simply, there just seemed more obvious candidates to take gold in the Olympics' blue-riband event.

And yet, it is now Azzurri-riband. Jacobs made a flying start and never looked back to clock a new best time of 9.80, with Baker's compatriot Fred Kerley and Andre De Grasse – who takes bronze for the second straight Games – left in his wake.

Tamberi rushed straight over to his countryman in scenes that will have been met with wild celebrations back in Italy, this unexpected gold rush keeping the party going after Roberto Mancini's football team secured glory at Euro 2020.

What made those wild nine minutes even harder to fathom is the fact Italy had not won an athletics medal at an Olympics since 2008. The last time they won two at the same games was in Athens four years prior to that.

As special as this night was for Italy, its meaning stretches far beyond the ebullient Mediterranean nation. This was the start of the post Usain Bolt-era in the 100m at the Olympics. There is no doubt athletics misses its 21st century superstar and the men's race paled in terms of quality compared to the talent-stacked women's cast the night before.

Moreover, these remain the Games that most never wanted. Tokyo 2020 has undoubtedly suffered at times from the lack of crowds and golden moments played out with a distinct lack of atmosphere.

But this was a true reminder of what makes the Olympics so special, what makes billions of people tune in every four years (in non-pandemic times) to watch sports they may not have heard of before. The scenes of unbridled joy, the underdog stories, the sheer emotion of seeing someone's life work result in the greatest possible reward. They are human moments of cinematic grandeur and beauty.

Even before the bellissimo finale, there had been a timely reminder of why we're here at all. Yulimar Rojas, the two-time reigning world champion and silver medallist at Rio 2016, broke the world record with an astonishing leap of 15.67m in the women's triple jump. It was Venezuela's first gold medal since London 2012 and a first ever in athletics. 

The arguments will rumble on beyond next weekend's closing ceremony over whether these Games should have taken place during a deadly pandemic. On Sunday, Rojas, Tamberi and Jacobs offered a pretty good argument as to why they did.

After the high of winning three straight titles, Jamaica did not contest the final of the Olympic men’s 100m for the first time in two decades, as the event culminated on Sunday.

In the end, history was made as the title went to Italy’s Marcell Jacobs, which was the first time that country was winning the title.  At the starter blocks, however, the famous black, green, and gold gear, which has become synonymous with speed, particularly over the last decade, was nowhere to be seen.

The country’s two representatives in the event Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville exited the competition at the semi-final stage.  Seville failed to advance after finishing fourth in semi-final two, with a time of 10.09.  Blake saw his bid come to an end after finishing a disappointing 6th in semi-final 1, with a time of 10.14.  The country’s other entrant Tyquendo Tracey, Jamaica's national champion, pulled out of the competition before the heats after sustaining an injury.

It was a particularly disappointing end for Blake, likely to be in his final Olympics. For several years he was considered the heir apparent to compatriot Usain Bolt, who dominated the event for the last three editions, the first man in history to do so.  Blake has the second-fastest time ever run over the event (9.69) and finished just behind the great sprinter at the 2012 edition of the Games in London.

Since sustaining devastating hamstring injuries in 2013 and 2014, however, Blake has not come close to rediscovering his best form.  At the previous edition of the event in Rio 2016, he finished just outside the medals behind Canada's Andre De Grasse, the USA’s Justin Gatlin, and Bolt.

 

Lamont Marcell Jacobs claimed an historic gold medal in the men's 100 metres final at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

The first Italian man ever to reach the final at the Games, Jacobs won in a time of 9.80 seconds, breaking the European record he set in the semi-final.

Fred Kerley of the United States took silver, with Canada's Andre de Grasse winning bronze just as he did five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

The three medallists all claimed personal bests as all finishers went under 10 seconds, Nigeria's Enoch Adegoke pulling up injured around the halfway mark.

The first Olympic 100m contest in the post-Usain Bolt era had been difficult to predict and that continued in the semi-finals, as USA trials winner Trayvon Bromell, the fastest man in the world this year heading into Tokyo, failed to qualify with a time of 10.00.

The quickest times were in the third semi-final, won by 60m expert Su Bingtian, who smashed the Asian record with a time of 9.83 to become the first man from the continent to reach the Olympic 100m final since 1932.

He finished just ahead of Ronnie Baker (9.83) and Jacobs, who set a new continental best of 9.84.

After Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start, Su this time could not get the explosive start he needed and he was effectively out of the medals before the last third of the race.

Kerley, who has come down from the 400m to try his hand over the shortest distance, looked strong in lane five but it was Jacobs who turned on the power over the closing metres before running to celebrate with compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who claimed joint high jump gold shortly before the race.

 

 

 

Decorated track and field icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce called being a part of a Jamaican clean sweep of the medals, for the second time at the Olympics, a blessing.

The two-time Olympic Champion released a statement on Instagram after winning the silver medal behind teammate Elaine Thompson-Herah in the Women’s 100 Metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this historic moment. Gracing the podium in a 1-2-3 sweep for Jamaica on two separate occasions is a tremendous blessing,” Fraser-Pryce said.

The trio of Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson repeated the feat of herself, Sherone Simpson, and Kerron Stewart in Beijing 13 years ago, the only difference being on that occasion Simpson and Stewart shared the silver medal.

After thanking her friends, family, coach, and sponsors, Fraser-Pryce assured her fans that the job is not yet complete.

“I continue to keep my head in the game because there is still work to do.”

The multiple-time World Champion also offered some perspective on what legacy means to her.

“Legacy isn’t just about winning, it’s also about gracefully watching others shine too.”

Fraser-Pryce ended her statement by encouraging her fans to keep their spirits high for the 200 metres.

The heats of the women’s 200 metres begin on Sunday.

 

 

The British Virgin Islands Chantel Malone and Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyra Gittens will represent the Caribbean in the women’s long jump final after finishing 5th and 9th in qualifying on Saturday.

The other regional athletes in competition, Jamaicans Chanice Porter and Tissanna Hickling finished 24th and 25th respectively in qualifying with distances of 6.22 and 6.19.

Elsewhere, Trinidad & Tobago’s Portious Warren could not manage to get among the medals after finishing 10th in the final of the women’s shot put.

Men's 400m 

Nine Caribbean men advanced to the next round of the men’s 400 metres.  Heat 1 of the event saw Grenada’s 2012 Olympic Champion, Kirani James, finish second in 45.09 to advance.

Demish Gaye of Jamaica and Alonzo Russell of the Bahamas also advanced to the semi-finals from heat 1 as two of the six fastest losers, after finishing 4th and 5th in 45.49 and 45.51 respectively.

The third heat also saw three Caribbean men advance to the semi-finals as Jonathan Jones of Barbados, Christopher Taylor of Jamaica and Dwight St. Hillaire of Trinidad & Tobago all made it through.

Jones and Taylor finished second and third with times of 45.04 and 45.20 to advance automatically and St. Hillaire finished fourth in 45.41 to advance as a fastest loser.

Steven Gardiner, the reigning world champion, easily won heat 5 in 45.05 to advance to the semi-finals.

Trinidadian Deon Lendore also advanced from heat 5 after finishing second behind Gardiner in 45.14.

Jamaica’s Nathon Allen was also in heat 5 but failed to advance after finishing fourth in 46.12.

Machel Cedenio, the Trinidadian who narrowly missed out on a medal five years ago in Rio, also advanced to the semi-finals after finishing third in the 6th and final heat in 45.56.

Men's Lomg Jump

Earlier, Tajay Gayle qualified for the final of the men’s long jump, despite picking up an apparent left knee injury.

The Jamaican fouled his first attempt and picked up the injury while jumping 6.72 in his second attempt.  He jumped out to 8.14 in his third, with heavy strapping around his left knee.

Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba had the longest jump in qualifying after leaping out to 8.50 in his first attempt.

The men’s long jump final will get underway at 8:20pm today.

Natoya Goule won her semi-final to advance to the final of the women’s 800 metres.

Goule took the lead early and never looked back, running 1:59.57 to get to her first Olympic final.

Jamaica’s Chad Wright, in the meantime, finished ninth in the men’s discus final with a throw of 62.56.

Elsewhere, the Dominican Republic mixed 4x400m team of Andres Feliz, Marileidy Paulino, Anabel Medina, and Alexander Ogando ran 3:10.21 to finish second in the final and secure the silver medal.

Sean Bailey, Stacy Ann-Williams, Tovea Jenkins, and Karayme Bartley ran for Jamaica and finished 7th in 3:14.95.

 

 

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