Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Monday

By Sports Desk July 25, 2021

The third full day of the Tokyo Olympics sees 21 gold medals up for grabs during a packed programme.

Plenty of eyes will be on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, where four swimming golds will be on the line, while the first women's skateboarding champion will be crowned.

The rugby sevens event gets under way and the men's triathlon will also take place.

Stats Perform picks out some of the standout action.



After winning four golds in Rio five years ago, Katie Ledecky has the chance to add four more to her collection in Tokyo, starting with the women's 400m freestyle.

The United States competitor set a world record time in the event in 2016, but she will face a big challenge from Australia's Ariarne Titmus this time.

Titmus was marginally faster than Ledecky in the heats, though whether that edge will count for anything on the day remains to be seen.


Great Britain's Adam Peaty is nothing short of a phenomenon in the world of swimming and will be looking to retain his 100m breaststroke title.

Peaty qualified for the final in a dominant manner, his time of 57.56s just two hundredths of a second off his own world record pace.

Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands is expected to be Peaty's biggest threat, having produced a personal best of 57.80s in the previous heat.


Fiji's triumph in the men's rugby sevens was one of the more remarkable stories of the Rio Games and the islanders will now be out to retain their title in Tokyo over the coming weeks.

They begin their group campaign on Monday with games against tournament hosts Japan and then Canada later in the day.


The men's triathlon is a tough one to call, with back-to-back champion Alistair Brownlee not taking part in this year's event.

The likes of Alex Yee, Kristian Blummenfelt, Morgan Pearson and Tyler Mislawchuk are among those to watch in one the standout events at any Games.


After Simone Biles struggled to find top gear in her Games entrance on Sunday, albeit making it through to each of her finals, Monday's gymnastics event is the men's team final.

Japan are the defending champions and led the way in qualifying, but they are expected to face stiff competition from China and the Russian Olympic Committee team. Watch out for Russian maestro Nikita Nagornyy and Japan's Daiki Hashimoto among a star-studded cast.


It is proving to be a busy Games for Naomi Osaka, who followed lighting the Olympic cauldron on Friday with a first-round tennis win on Sunday.

Japan's four-time grand slam winner is back on court on Monday, looking to inch closer to the women's singles final. Awaiting her is Swiss world number 50 Viktorija Golubic, and it will be their first match encounter. Men's title hopefuls Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are among those also due in action.


Japan's Yuto Horigome made history on Sunday by winning the first Olympic gold in men's skateboarding. On Monday, it is the turn of the women.

Among those competing in the event are Kokona Hiraki of Japan and Team GB's Sky Brown, who are aged 12 and 13 respectively.

After plenty of falls and drama in the men's equivalent, expect more of the same in this inaugural event. 

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  • Gregor Townsend hails Scotland for keeping World Cup bid alive after early loss Gregor Townsend hails Scotland for keeping World Cup bid alive after early loss

    Gregor Townsend praised Scotland for bouncing back emphatically from their South Africa defeat to score 19 tries in back-to-back victories over Tonga and Romania and set up a World Cup Pool B shootout with Ireland for a place in the quarter-finals.

    The Scots have been playing must-win rugby since losing their opener to the Boks, and after beating Tonga 45-17 last weekend, they pulled off another bonus-point win by defeating Romania 84-0 in Lille on Saturday.

    The past two results mean Townsend’s team now have a chance to qualify for the last eight if they defeat Ireland in Paris next Saturday night either with a bonus point or by denying Andy Farrell’s side a losing bonus.

    “I’m really pleased with the way they’ve bounced back,” said the head coach. “A lot of hard work has gone in at training. We had a two-week break between South Africa and Tonga and we had three very tough, physical sessions in the heat.

    “The players trained really well this week as well so they’re putting in the hard yards that is required to then play at a level where you can score the amount of tries we’ve scored in the last two games, where we’ve been able to set up this shootout game with Ireland.

    “The credit goes to the players for how they’ve worked in training and in the matches against Tonga and Romania. Both games were very physical and you’ve got to win that physical battle, which we did.”

    Darcy Graham climbed from sixth on Scotland’s all-time try-scoring list to joint-second by touching down four times in the 12-try romp against Romania. The Edinburgh wing leapfrogged Duhan van der Merwe and Chris Paterson and is now level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24, just three shy of record-holder Stuart Hogg.

    “I think he’s someone who will create opportunities to score tries because of his willingness to get on the ball,” said Townsend. “He called a lot of the balls because he got back off the ground to be in position.

    “He saw space and he also is a great finisher. His footwork for the fourth try was incredible. He had a couple of assists as well, so he certainly plays for the team.

    “In the last two games, Darcy’s really gone for it and we’ve seen that in training. Sometimes it’s tough when you’re a winger and you’ve not had the game time he would have liked after he picked up that little niggle over the summer but he’s now flying and that’s brilliant to see.”

    Graham was one of only a few first-choice players to start against Romania as Townsend made 13 changes with Ireland in mind. The head coach was pleased with the way his back-ups performed against the eastern European minnows.

    “I thought the way the players applied themselves, to be given that opportunity you could see they wanted to go and grab it,” he said.

    “It has been a tough time for a lot of these players, to not play. Some of them have not played since our first World Cup warm-up game against Italy.

    “That was a deliberate policy to keep a 23 and 15 working as much as possible together as we built up to our South Africa game, and then when you have a two-week break, then another week versus Tonga, it is a long time to wait to play at a World Cup.

    “But they grabbed their opportunity tonight and whether that means they play next week will be decided in selection.

    “I’m really pleased with the level of competition, the depth we have and the individual performances tonight that means whoever goes out next week we can be confident of their ability to get the job done.”

  • Four-try Darcy Graham helps Scotland thrash Romania and set up Ireland showdown Four-try Darcy Graham helps Scotland thrash Romania and set up Ireland showdown

    Darcy Graham climbed from sixth to joint-second on Scotland’s all-time try-scorer list with four touchdowns in a resounding 84-0 victory over Romania which sets up a mouth-watering World Cup shootout with Ireland next weekend.

    The Scots ran in six tries in each half in Lille to inflict another demoralising defeat on their opponents, who were similarly outclassed by both Ireland and South Africa in their first two matches in Pool B.

    Graham, who started the evening on 20 international tries, wreaked the most damage on the eastern European minnows as his first-half hat-trick and another after the break took him ahead of both Duhan van der Merwe and Chris Paterson and up to 24.

    The prolific Edinburgh wing is now level with Tony Stanger and Ian Smith, and just three shy of record-holder and fellow Hawick native Stuart Hogg, who recently ended his career on 27.

    The Scots were so confident of getting the result they required at Stade Pierre Mauroy that they made 13 changes from the side that started against Tonga the previous Sunday, preserving most of their A-listers for the Ireland match in Paris which they must win with a bonus point or by denying their opponents one in order to reach the quarter-finals.

    There was no danger of the decision to field so many fringe men back-firing from the moment Hamish Watson got the Scots off and running with the first try of the match in the eighth minute.

    The experienced Edinburgh flanker – who has lost the number seven jersey to the burgeoning Rory Darge this year – marked his return to the starting line-up by bounding over on the right after Cam Redpath offloaded into his path as he was thwarted on his own charge towards the line.

    Ali Price – like Watson, another 2021 British and Irish Lions squad member who has become a peripheral player for the national team this year – got the second in the 17th minute after being played in by Graham.

    It was Graham’s turn to get on the scoresheet just four minutes later when he touched down following a brilliant individual run, bringing him level with his Edinburgh team-mate Van der Merwe, one of those given the night off.

    Romania – already bang up against it – completely imploded in the closing 10 minutes of the first half when they had three players sin-binned and conceded a further three tries.

    Hooker Robert Irimescu was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Ben Healy and just a couple of minutes later they were reduced to 13, when back-rower Florian Rosu was yellow-carded for collapsing a maul.

    Scotland took full advantage as Graham scored his second of the evening to move ahead of Van der Merwe and level with Paterson.

    Matt Fagerson bulldozed his way over for the fifth, but only after Ollie Smith had been the victim of a nasty high tackle in the build-up from Marius Simionescu, who became the third Romanian to be sin-binned before the break.

    There was still time before the interval for Graham to complete his hat-trick as the Edinburgh wing moved ahead of Paterson and into fourth place on his own. All six first-half tries were converted by Healy as the Scots went in 42-0 to the good at half-time.

    The scores kept coming after the break, with Chris Harris, Smith, Healy, Johnny Matthews – shortly after coming on for his debut – and Darge all touching down.

    Graham then raced over for his fourth of the night as the Scots ran up their second-highest win at a World Cup, finishing just five points shy of the 89-0 victory they enjoyed against Ivory Coast in 1995.

  • Jersey plight on players’ minds as England pursue World Cup glory – Danny Care Jersey plight on players’ minds as England pursue World Cup glory – Danny Care

    Danny Care insists England view it as a “privilege” to attempt to lift spirits after Jersey Reds’ financial collapse by delivering a successful Rugby World Cup.

    A dramatic Thursday began with the news that Jersey face liquidation unless emergency funding can be secured and ended with England qualifying for the quarter-finals on the strength of Japan’s victory over Samoa.

    The club that clinched last season’s Championship title are set to follow Wasps, Worcester and London Irish into administration, each of them victims of the financial crisis gripping the domestic landscape.

    Care believes Steve Borthwick’s men can play their role in giving the English game a much-needed shot in the arm by progressing deep into the World Cup.

    “It’s incredibly sad news – again. I can’t imagine how those guys are feeling. Alex Mitchell’s brother plays for Jersey and a couple of the lads have got good friends there,” Care said.

    “In a similar vein, I looked at the Premiership launch picture the other day and it just looked so sparse and bare. The 10-team thing kind of hit home then.

    “When you hear that a team that did so well in the Championship last season is no longer, it’s quite sobering. Our thoughts are with all their fans and all the players and staff involved there.

    “As the national team we have a massive role to play. We’re the lucky 33 who are out here on the biggest stage trying to represent everyone.

    “Is that more pressure on us? I don’t see it as that, I see it as a privilege that we can try and put smiles on a few people’s faces.

    “If we can put some smiles on their faces by doing well at this World Cup and giving some hope because there’s a massive responsibility whenever you wear this rose.

    “We’d like to win the whole thing, that’s why we’re here. The Jersey guys will be in our thoughts.”

    England have refused to celebrate their passage into the quarter-finals as Pool D winners with a match to spare knowing they must first negotiate Samoa in Lille on Saturday.

    By routing Argentina, Japan and Chile they have built momentum – albeit in the least competitive of the World Cup groups – that will sweep them into a knockout appointment most likely against Fiji on October 15.

    It represents a startling mood swing from last month when three defeats in four Tests left expectations on the floor.

    “The mood back homes seems to be that people are pleasantly surprised that we’re actually doing all right!” Care said.

    “Before the tournament people were saying a lot of stuff about the team. When you don’t play well do you deserve the negative stuff? I don’t know, but you get it when you wear this shirt.

    “The feeling we’re feeling is massive support and optimism and a belief that maybe there is something in this England team. We believe it as players.”

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