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Rio 2016: Fourth Gold for Simone Biles, China Flop in Olympics

Rio 2016: Fourth Gold for Simone Biles, China Flop in Olympics

Rio de Janerio: USA star Simone Biles claimed a record-equalling fourth Olympic women’s gold on the floor in Rio on Tuesday as former gymnastics giants China flopped to their worst Games showing in 32 years.

The 19-year-old Biles sealed the floor title with a powerful display of acrobatics and tumbling to add to her team, all-around and vault gold on the final day of competition in the Rio Olympic Arena.

The three-time world floor champion scored 15.966 points to lead a US 1-2 ahead of Aly Raisman (15.500), the 2012 Olympic floor champion.

Britain’s Amy Tinkler (14.933) won bronze.

Biles had been bidding to win a record five women’s gold in Rio after taking the team, all-around and vault titles.

But a slip on the beam on Monday saw her take bronze on that apparatus.

She becomes the fifth woman to win four gold at the same Olympics joining Hungarian Agnes Keleti (1956), Soviet Larissa Latynina (1956), Czech Vera Caslavska (1968) and Romanian Ecaterina Szabo (1984).

China return home without a title since they got a first gymnastics gold in 1984.

Wang Yan finished fourth on the floor.

Their last men’s hopes Deng Shudi and You Hao slumped on parallel bars, which was won by Ukrainian Oleg Verniaiev.

Verniaiev, 22, the all-around silver medallist in Rio, took gold with 16.041.

American Danell Leyva took silver (15.900) with Russia’s David Belyavskiy taking bronze (15.783).

It is the first time a Chinese gymnast has not won the parallel bars title since 2004.

Deng finished fourth after a wobble and You last in the eight-man final after falling on his dismount.

Rio 2016: Abhinav Bindra Blames System for India’s Failure to Open Medals Tally

Rio 2016: Abhinav Bindra Blames System for India’s Failure to Open Medals Tally

New Delhi: Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra on Tuesday blamed the system for the Indian contingent’s failure to open its account in the medals tally at the Rio Olympics.

Citing Britain’s example, the 33-year-old, who missed the bronze in the 10 metre Air Rifle by a whisker, said medals can only be expected if there is adequate investment on athletes in India.

“Each medal costs the UK 5.5 million ($7.13 million). That’s the sort of investment needed. Let’s not expect much until we put systems in place at home,” Bindra said on Twitter.

Bindra’s tweet was in reference to an article published by the British newspaper The Guardian, which described how the country was investing heavily in its athletes to achieve glory at the Olympics.

India is still waiting for its first medal even after sending its biggest ever contingent (118) to Rio. The country had touched a historic mark of six medals at the 2012 London Olympics.

Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Stuns World No 2 to Enter Women’s Singles Semis

Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Stuns World No 2 to Enter Women’s Singles Semis

Rio de Janeiro: Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu caused a huge upset, stunning World No.2 Wang Yihan of China in straight games to enter the semi-finals of the women’s singles category at the ongoing Rio Olympics.

Faced with a much higher rated opponent, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad scripted a 22-20, 21-19 victory in 54 minutes over the former World No.1 at the Riocentro Pavilion 4 on Tuesday.

Sindhu will face the winner of the all-Japan quarter-final clash between Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara in the last-four stage.

Wang, who had taken silver at the 2012 London Olympics, was expected to be the stronger of the two, but it was Sindhu who dominated most of the exchanges.

The Indian won the majority of the long rallies and used her power-packed smashes and cross-court shots to good effect.

Wang, whose weak back-hand caught her off-guard several times, came up with a tough fight, but could not do enough to stop Sindhu.

The match witnessed a lot of long rallies with both players displaying plenty of skills, excellent court coverage and a superb sense of placement.

Wang, a former World and Asian champion, had the stronger start, outfoxing Sindhu time and again with her clever placements which often forced the Indian to make mistakes.

The reigning Asian Games champion opened up a 3-0 lead early on before the Indian made a strong comeback to draw level at 5-5.

The two players continued to fight it out tooth and nail, with every point being well-contested.

However, a couple of unforced errors cost Sindhu dearly and the Chinese went into the mid-game break with a 11-8 lead.

Sindhu came back firing on all cylinders after the break and reduced the deficit to 11-12. The Chinese increased the lead by a point with a long cross-court shot, but Sindhu kept asking the difficult questions and levelled the scores at 13-13 when the under-pressure Wang hit a shot too long.

Another unforced error from Sindhu saw the Chinese regain the lead almost immediately. But the Hyderabad girl continued to fight hard and took the lead for the first time at 15-14.

Wang then took three points on the trot to regain the advantage.

But Sindhu levelled again at 17-17 before Wang hit a return into the net to concede the lead once again. But Sindhu let go the advantage in the very shot when she hit her return too long.

A couple of consecutive points saw Sindhu gon into game point at 20-18. But an extremely long rally saw Wang save game point with an excellent cross-court shot.

Wang then drew level thanks to another unforced error by her opponent.

But a net shot handed Sindhu another game point at 21-20 before the Chinese hit an attempted return over the sideline to hand the Indian the first game.

Sindhu took the lead several times in the early stages of the second game but Wang drew level on every occasion.

Three consecutive points handed Sindhu a 5-2 lead. Wang managed to pull a point back, but Sindhu dominated the Chinese in the long rallies to score another three points on the trot to clinch a five-point lead.

Wang continued to produce a strong challenge and made a fine comeback with her deceptive shots at the net proving to be difficult for Sindhu.

The 28-year-old Chinese reduced Sindhu’s lead to 10-8 before the Hyderabad shuttler hit a powerful smash out of Wang’s reach to go into the break with a three-point lead.

The 21-year-old Indian continued to maintain her lead after the break although Wang was never really out of the picture.

Serving at 16-13, Sindhu took two back to back points before Wang claimed five consecutive points to draw level at 18-18.

The former World No.1 then took the lead with a powerful cross-court smash.

Not to be outdone, Sindhu drew level with a clever placement and went into game and match point with a powerful smash into Wang’s body.

An unforced error by Wang then handed Sindhu a well-earned victory.

Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Relishes ‘Best Moment’, India Salutes Her

Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Relishes ‘Best Moment’, India Salutes Her

Rio de Janeiro: A visibly elated PV Sindhu rated her win over London Olympics silver medalist Yihan Wang as one of the best moments of her career hoping that she could maintain her good form against Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals of the Rio Olympics.

Asked about her initial feelings, Sindhu said:”This is also Rio Olympics, it’s a very different feeling. It’s one of the best moments. I hope there will be many more to come,” World No 10 said after her 22-20 21-19 victory to become second Indian after Saina Nehwal to reach last four at Olympics.

Queried about the pressure of winning an Olympic medal for India in this difficult time, she said:”I was just thinking about the game. If you play really well you will automatically win the game, and a medal. I’m just focused on my match and the next match, the semis (against Okuhara). I hope I can give my best.”

Seven years younger to the Chinese, the two-time world championship bronze medallist Indian trailed by 10-12 and was 20-20 but she maintained her calm to win two points and take an intense first game.

Sindhu attributed her patience which helped her winning crucial points when the much fancied Chinese rival was retrieving everything she threw at her.

“There were big rallies, she was attacking well. My smashes were going out initially. Even she did not leave and she was lifting everything. I was really patient and I was ready for everything, which I feel was the turning point.”

“I never thought I would lose this, because any moment anything can change. It was not so easy to get points, both of us fought for every point. It was very close. In the first game it was 20-all and I felt even though I was leading I never thought the game was over. She came really close, even she played brilliantly,” she said.

It was relatively easy in the second game as the 2011 World Champion was trailing 13-17 but only to spring back winning six-points in a row for yet another close finish as the Indian sealed the win with a powerful smash.

“In the second game, even though I was leading 18-14, she came back, played really well. After 18-all there were long rallies and it was anybody’s game.”

Unlike Saina, she has not had any fitness issues.

“Fitness wise everything was fine and even she did not leave any shuttle. She’s an experienced player and world number two. Nobody expected me to get easy points. I knew that there would be long rallies. Even she would not have left any shuttle, and she did not leave any shuttle. Even though I was leading she came back.”

Sindhu reminded that when one is pitted against a world No 2, there is nothing called luck factor as one needs to really pull all stops to win a do-or-die encounter like this.

“I was prepared for long rallies also even she was attacking well and retrieving well. It’s not that I was lucky.

Even she played brilliantly. I’ve played against many times and have won as well as lost against her. It’s just that who plays well on that given day wins. Today, it was a good game and a tough game.”

This was Sindhu’s second successive win against the Chinese who had a 4-2 win-loss record going into the match.

“I had won in Denmark Open (October 2015). It’s one of them. I played with her many times and every time it’s the way you play,” concluded Sindhu, who has now reduced her win-loss record against the Chinese to 3-4.



Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Reaches Women’s Singles Quarters in Badminton

Rio 2016: PV Sindhu Reaches Women’s Singles Quarters in Badminton

Rio de Janeiro: Two-time World Championship bronze-medallist PV Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition after notching up a dominating straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying at the Olympic Games here.

The 21-year-old from Hyderabad outclassed eighth seed Tai 21-13 21-15 in a 40-minute pre-quarterfinals clash here. She will next take on the winner of the match between Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi.

Sindhu, who has a 2-4 record against Tai Tzu, having beaten her last at the Denmark Open last year, opened up a 3-1 lead early on and even though Tai came back to draw level at 5-5, the Indian managed to lead 11-6 at the break.

Tai depended on her deceptive game to reduce the margin to 10-12 but she was equally erratic with her placements sometimes, while Sindhu showed better presence of mind.

Sindhu won a video referral to reach the game point at 20-13 and then pocketed it comfortably with Tai hitting wide.

After the change of ends, Sindhu once again moved to a 3-1 lead but she erred twice on her backhand returns to give away two points.

Tai tried to take away the pace from the rallies and came up with a few down the line smashes to make it 6-6 after Sindhu dropped her serve.

However, Tai’s inability to rein in her unforced errors saw Sindhu lead 11-6 at the interval.

Tai tried to put pressure on Sindhu but failed to give the finishing touch as Sindhu sailed away to a 14-7 lead.

With Sindhu in full flow, Tai seemed clueless and was not able to play her own game, staying away from the net.

The Chinese Taipei girl found it difficult to control the shuttle and hit long twice to allow Sindhu a lead of 17-11. A couple of drop shots deflected by the net chord took Sindhu to 19-12 before Tai sent one to the net to gift eight match points to Sindhu.

Tai saved three match points before another long shot saw Sindhu seal the issue in her favour.

Earlier, K Srikanth also reached the quarterfinals of the men’s singles after beating World No. 5 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark in straight games.

Rio 2016: Shuttlers Win, Vikas Krishan Loses As India’s Medal Wait Continues

Rio 2016: Shuttlers Win, Vikas Krishan Loses As India’s Medal Wait Continues

Rio de Janeiro: Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu kept the medal hopes alive in badminton with facile wins but boxers drew a blank after Vikas Krishan was ousted in the quarter-finals on a mixed day for Indian athletes in the Rio Games here.

The 21-19 21-19 win for Srikanth, ranked 11th in the world, lifted the sagging spirits of India on the 10th day of competitions as he became the second shuttler after P Kashyap in the London Games four years ago to reach the last eight in men’s singles.

Later, two-time World Championship bronze-medallist PV Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition after notching up a dominating straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying at the Olympic Games here.

The 21-year-old from Hyderabad outclassed eighth seed Tai 21-13 21-15 in a 40-minute pre-quarterfinals clash here. She will next take on China’s Wang Yihan, the London Olympics silver-medallist.

However, India’s slim hopes of a medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechse disappeared when Lalita Babar, the first track athlete to qualify for an Olympic final in 32 years, could finish only 10th in 9 minutes, 22.74 seconds.

She had set a new national mark of 9:19.76s when she qualified for the final two days ago, but could not improve on it in a race won with a searing run to the gold by Bahrain’s diminutive Kenya-born Asian Games champion Ruth Jebet in 8:59.75s.

Despite her 10th place finish, Babar’s effort was still the best performance by an Indian in a track event after after PT Usha’s fourth-place finish in the 400m hurdles in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The 27-year-old from the drought-prone Satara district in Maharashtra had become the second Indian woman after Usha in 1984 Los Angeles to qualify for a final at a track event at quadrennial extravaganza.

2015 World Championships gold winner Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkomoi of Kenya took the silver in 9:07.12s while American Emma Coburn won the bronze in 9:07.63s.

Two other athletes – Srabani Nanda, in women’s 200m, and triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary – made tame exits in the first round while wrestler Ravinder Khatri lost his opening round fight against Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz in the greco roman 85kg class.

There was disappointment in the boxing arena as well with former Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas (75kg) took a pounding from second seed Bektemir Melikuziev in the quarterfinals to bow out of the Games, ending India’s boxing challenge without a medal for the first time in eight years.

With Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) already out of contention, Vikas’ loss today drew the curtains on the Indian boxing challenge in the Games.

In fact, it is the second successive time that the male boxers failed to secure a medal given that the 2012 bronze had come through M C Mary Kom (51kg).

Vijender Singh (75kg) thus remains the first and only Indian male boxer to have secured an Olympic medal (a bronze in 2008 Beijing Games).

In the quarterfinal contest last night, the seventh-seeded Vikas was simply no match for the world No.3, a World Championships silver-medallist and the reigning Asian champion, a title he won after beating Vikas in the final last year.

Rio 2016: Archer Atanu Das, Men’s Hockey, Boxer Vikas Krishan Give India Reason to Smile on Day 4

Rio 2016: Archer Atanu Das, Men’s Hockey, Boxer Vikas Krishan Give India Reason to Smile on Day 4

Rio de Janeiro: Archer Atanu Das and boxer Vikas Krishan entered the pre-quarterfinals, while the men’s hockey team stood up to the challenge posed by Argentina to virtually sew up a last-eight spot on a reasonably successful day for Indian athletes in the Olympic Games here.

Das first defeated Nepalese rival Jitbahadur Muktan 6-0 and then vanquished Cuba’s Adrian Andres Puentes Perez 6-4 to enter the pre-quarters where he will face a tough rival in former world no. 5 South Korean archer Lee Seung-Yun on August 12.

Lee was a part of the victorious South Korean outfit that won a gold medal in the team Recurve event at the ongoing Games.

What was impressive about Das was the manner in which he held his nerve during his last shot in the fifth and final set.

The score was 19-18 and a ’10-pointer’ would have ensured his place in the last-16 even before his opponent had aimed for his final strike.

Das did not disappoint as he hit the ‘Bull’s Eye’ taking an unassailable lead and winning the final set 29-28.

The Kolkata-based Das defeated his Cuban rival 28-26 29-26 26-27 27-28 29-28.

Earlier in the day, he made short work of Muktan in three straight games with a comprehensive scoreline of 29-26 29-24 30-26, enjoying a fair lead in all three sets including a hat-trick of Perfect 10’s in the final game.

In men’s hockey, India survived a final quarter onslaught from Argentina for a nail-biting 2-1 win that enhanced their quarter-final chances.

The second win in the pool stage has virtually secured India a quarterfinal berth as they rose to the second position with six points.

Later in the evening, former Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) gave a perfect start to India’s boxing campaign, beating American greenhorn Charles Conwell to enter the pre-quarterfinals.

The 24-year-old Vikas defeated the Olympic debutant 3-0 in his opening contest, which came alive only in the final three minutes, to make the last-16.

Vikas will now face Turkey’s Onder Sipal, who got the better of Zambian Benny Muziyo in a fiercely-contested opening bout.

On the hockey field, India dominated Argentina in the first three quarters but came under tremendous pressure from the Los Leones in the final 15 minutes during which they conceded as many as five penalty corners.

Trailing 0-2, the Argentines played all out hockey in the final quarter as the Indians looked out of sorts.

It was a tense final quarter for the Indians after drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat pulled one back for Argentina in the 49th minute by converting their first penalty corner with a lethal strike that beat goalkeeper PR Sreejesh all ends up.

It looked as if it would turn out to be another heartbreak for the Indians, following their 1-2 loss to Germany on Tuesday after conceding a goal in the dying moments, as the game was mostly played in the Indian half thereafter.

If not for Sreejesh, India could have suffered their second successive defeat in the Games. Sreejesh pulled off as many as five saves to deny Peillat and the Argentines.

Earlier, India were the better side in the first three quarters and took the lead through Chinglensana Singh (8th minute) before fellow Manipuri player Kothajit Singh doubled the scoreline with a field strike in the 35th minute.

However, the country continued to draw a blank medal-wise and faced reversals in the shooting range where Heena Sidhu made her exit after performing poorly in the women’s 25m pistol event where she finished a distant 20th with 576 out of 600 points.

India’s lone competitor in rowing, Dattu Baban Bhokanal, finished fourth in the quarter-finals of the men’s single sculls to go out of medal reckoning.

Rio Olympics 2016: Sachin Tendulkar meets IOC President Thomas Bach in Rio

Rio Olympics 2016: Sachin Tendulkar meets IOC President Thomas Bach in Rio

Indian cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar was spotted alongside IOC president Thomas Bach,as the two watched the opening events of the Rugby sevens event at the Rio Olympics. Tendulkar, who is in Rio as a goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent was keenly following the sport that has made an Olympic return after 92 years.

It seems, Tendulkar also had a chat with Rugby Union executives on howthey managed to convince the governing body to introduce Rugby sevens to the list of sports in the Olympics. World Rugbys chief executiveBrett Gosper was delighted with Sachins love for sport which made a return after 92 yearsand feels Olympics would be a fantastic forum to expand Crickets global reach

“Sachin was here for a whole session, loved it and was interested in rugbys journey to the Olympics and why that’s an interesting prospect, possibly, for cricket,” he was quoted by Reuters.

Gosper continued by saying, If cricket has similar ambitions to rugby, which is to take its footprint out of its comfort zone, then theres nothing like the Olympics to allow you to do that.Not just at the time of the Olympics, but in the whole qualification, development, the fact youre on school curricula, the fact you get more money into those countries that normally probably wouldnt be distributing much money to.

I definitely think in terms of an expansive mentality, if thats where crickets at, the Olympics would be a fantastic forum for them, he added.

The International Olympic Committee has added golf and rugby at the Rio games, while games like surfing, karate, skateboarding and baseballwill be added in four years time at the2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,the inclusion of Cricket to the biggest sporting extravaganzais still unknown.

However, theconcept of bidding for a spot at the 2024 Games was discussed at theICC annual conference in Edinburgh, last month.”The majority of ICC members believe that if cricket was at theOlympics it could do wonders for globalising the game,” ICC chiefexecutive Dave Richardson said last month.

Nita Ambanis appointment to the IOC council, recently,would also possibly increase the attempts to engage the sport that dominates India.

Dipa Karmakar Vaults Into the Final at Rio Olympics

Dipa Karmakar Vaults Into the Final at Rio Olympics

Rio de Janerio: When Dipa Karmakar slumped into a chair at the Rio Olympic Arena on Sunday after her “vault of death” did not go to plan, the glazed look in her eyes suggested her 2016 Games were over.

Seven hours later the smile was back on her face as the 22-year-old realised she had clinched the eighth and last qualifying place for the vault final and could become the first Indian to win an Olympic gymnastics medal.

Karmakar had one of the highest difficulty (7.000) among the women for her risky Produnova vault – a front handspring into double front somersault – but failed to pull it off cleanly as her bottom touched the mat before she bounced back on to her feet.

A score of 15.100 was much lower than she had hoped for and when she stumbled sideways following her second vault to earn 14.600, she knew her average score of 14.850 – that left her sixth in the standings at the time – could be overtaken since more than half the field had yet to compete on her signature apparatus.

“As the Produnova vault was the first thing I attempted today and it did not go as expected, it immediately put me in a bad mood,” Karmakar, the first Indian female gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, told Reuters in her native Bengali.

“It wasnt very good. I was hoping for a better score from the first vault and because it was low, I was really disappointed. My landing had been better in training. My hip touched the mat today which wasnt in the plans.”

During the course of the next seven hours, only gold medal favourite Simone Biles, who topped the standings with two spectacular soaring vaults that both breached the 16-point barrier, and Canada’s Shallon Olsen leapfrogged the Indian trailblazer.

That meant Karmakar was back in the athlete’s village when she realised her 23rd birthday on Tuesday would be a double celebration as she can look forward to competing in the vault final next Sunday.

“That I have reached the final is an amazing achievement.

My coach is very happy because I executed what he had taught me to do,” added Karmakar, who last year became the first Indian to compete in an apparatus final at the world championships.

Rio 2016: India Eye Improved Show Against Germany

Rio 2016: India Eye Improved Show Against Germany

Rio de Janeiro: A win in the opening match of the Olympics after a hiatus of 12 years, notwithstanding, Indian men’s hockey team will have to lift their game by a notch if they want to challenge the might of reigning Olympic champions Germany in their second pool ‘B’ match on Monday.

India were made to toil hard by minnows Ireland on Saturday to register a fighting 3-2 win, their first in the sporting extravaganza in 12 years.

Going by world rankings, India (5th) were the clear favourites to dominate the match against Ireland (12th).

Expectedly, the PR Sreejesh-led side started on a bright note and played to their potential in the for majority of the match but they handed the initiative to their opponents in the final quarter.

While dragflickers Rupinder Pal Singh (2 goals) and VR Raghunath (1 goal) were bang on target with penalty corners, the forwardline was not upto the mark, missing plenty of scoring chances.

Sreejesh was alert as usual in front of the Indian goal, making quite a few saves but the defence, their perennial problem, was found wanting when the Irish had put relentless pressure in the final quarter, thereby conceding as many as eight penalty corners.

But come Monday, the Indians cannot afford to commit the same mistakes against the Germans, who will be eyeing a hat-trick of Olympic golds having pocketed the yellow metal in the last two Games in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London.

Their record against Germany at the Olympics also doesn’t go in India’s favour. India last won a match against Germany in the Olympics way back in the 1996 Atlanta Games where they registered a 3-0 win in the opening match.

In Sydney and Athens, India never played the Germans as they featured in different pools. However four years ago in London, Germany comprehensively beat India 5-2.

In the recent past India have had mixed results against the Germans.

India recently played Germany in the the FIH Champions Trophy in London, where the Sreejesh-led side won a historic silver.

Rio 2016: India Women’s Hockey Team Face Tougher Task Against Britain

Rio 2016: India Women’s Hockey Team Face Tougher Task Against Britain

Rio de Janeiro: After a come-from-behind draw against Japan, India will face last edition’s bronze medallists Great Britain in their second Pool B women’s hockey match at the Rio Olympics on Monday.

The India women’s team staged a brilliant comeback to draw 2-2 with Japan on Sunday.

Trailing 0-2 after the end of the second quarter, India hit back with goals from Rani Rampal and Lilima Minz.

It was an inspiring start by India in the first ten minutes of the first quarter but Japan took control of proceedings and moved ahead with two goals towards the end of the first and second quarter.

India were found playing catch-up as Japan made some aggressive moves and created plenty of scoring opportunities.

India, however, turned the tables in the third quarter as they scored two goals to level the scoring at 2-2.

Coach Neil Hawgood said they were nervous initially on the big stage.

“We didn’t handle the ball well and I think they (Japan) deserved to be 2-0 up. I think in the second half we started to play what I know we can actually play.”

The women’s team have qualified for the Summer Games after a 36-year absence and coach was confident they will make a mark in Rio.

England on the other hand started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Australia after Lily Owsley scored in the second quarter.

Georgina Morgan equalised from a penalty corner but Alex Danson grabbed the winner with a reverse-stick shot late in the third quarter.

Rio 2016: Michael Phelps Wins 19th Olympic Gold Medal

Rio 2016: Michael Phelps Wins 19th Olympic Gold Medal

Rio de Janerio: Michael Phelps has to clear out more space in his medal case.

Time to make room for gold No. 19.

With yet another dazzling performance, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history added to his staggering haul Sunday night in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, giving the United States a lead it never relinquished.

Defending Olympic champion France was leading when Phelps dove into the water on the second leg, taking over for leadoff swimmer Caeleb Dressel. Even though the 100 free isn’t one of his specialties he’s never swam it at the Olympics he blazed down and back in a stunning 47.12 seconds, a time that was faster than all but the three anchors on the medal-winning teams, three of the best in the world at that distance.

Ryan Held protected the lead before giving way for Nathan Adrian, America’s best sprinter.

At that point, it wasn’t really in doubt.

But Phelps wasn’t taking any chances, pounding the starting block and shouting toward Adrian as the anchor made the turn for home.

When Adrian touched the wall first, posting a winning time of 3 minutes, 9.92 seconds, Phelps thrust his right arm in the air and looked toward his infant son Boomer, nuzzling in the arms of his mother Nicole Johnson, the roaring crowd blocked out by noise-canceling headphones.

Little Boomer won’t remember what his daddy did this night.

But that gold medal will never let him forget.

France took the silver in 3:10.53, while Australia claimed the bronze in 3:11.37, holding off a Russian team that was booed during the introductions a reminder of the drug scandal that has rocked the nation. Vladimir Morozov, initially banned from the Olympics, was one of Russia’s relay swimmers.

It was quite a night for the Americans, who were shut out on the golds on the opening night of swimming.

Racing nothing but the clock, Katie Ledecky gave the US its first victory by crushing her own world record in the 400 freestyle.

The result was totally expected. The unassuming teenager from suburban Washington has dominated the longer freestyle events since winning gold in the 800 free at the London Olympics as a 15-year-old.

The only drama was whether she’d take the world record even lower.

Her powerful stroke quickly made that a moot point, too.

Ledecky kicked off the first wall with a lead of nearly a body length and steadily pulled away from the overmatched field as well as the world-record line superimposed on the video screen.

Her arms churning effortlessly through the water, Ledecky touched nearly 5 seconds ahead of her closest pursuer and quickly whipped around to look at the scoreboard.

When Ledecky saw the time 3:56.46 she let out an uncharacteristic scream and shook her right fist. She crushed the mark of 3:58.37 that she set nearly two years ago on the Gold Coast of Australia, and had been chasing ever since.

“I was pumped,” Ledecky said. “That’s what I wanted and I had been so close to breaking that all year, the past two years. I knew I was due for a breakthrough.”

She’s just getting warmed up.

Ledecky, who added gold to the silver she won in the women’s 4×100 free relay, is also favored in other two individual events: the 200 and 800 free. In addition, she could pick up another gold in the 4×200 free relay.

It was a night of world records in Rio.

Britain’s Adam Peaty set his second mark in as many nights in the 100 breaststroke, while Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden eclipsed her own mark in the 100 butterfly.

Peaty won with a time of 57.13 that shattered the mark of 57.55 he set in the preliminaries. He cruised away from Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, the defending Olympic champion who took silver this time in 58.69. The bronze went to Cody Miller of the United States, whose time of 58.87 held off teammate Kevin Cordes.

The crowd went into a frenzy at the sight of two Brazilians in the final. But Joao Gomes finished fifth and Felipe Franca was seventh.

Sjostrom led right from the start of the fly and touched in 55.48, knocking off the mark of 55.64 she established at last year’s world championships. She sat on the edge of the deck, pumping her arms in the air, and then appeared to be overcome by tears as she climbed to her feet.

This was her first Olympic medal. Sjostrom finished fourth in the 100 fly at the London Games four years ago, missing out on the bronze by just 23-hundredths of a second.

Penny Oleksiak of Canada took the silver in 56.46, edging out defending Olympic champion Dana Vollmer. The American, who had her first child 17 months ago, settled for the bronze in 56.63.

Already, six world records have been set in Rio.

The only mark that didn’t fall Sunday was the men’s 4×100 free relay.

Phelps and the Americans didn’t mind a bit.

Narsingh Yadav Meets PM Modi, Assured of Justice

Narsingh Yadav Meets PM Modi, Assured of Justice

New Delhi: A day after being cleared by the National Anti-doping Agency (NADA), wrestler Narsingh Yadav on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who asked him to focus on winning laurels for the country at the Olympics without any tension.

The Prime Minister, who met the wrestler at his office in Parliament House soon after the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, also assured the wrestler that no injustice will be done to him.

“The Prime Minister gave his best wishes to me and asked me to be carefree and participate in Olympics without any tension. He asked me to focus on winning medals for the country. He also assured me that no injustice will be done to me,” Yadav said after the meeting.

The wrestler, who had failed a dope test on June 25 and claimed that it was a conspiracy against him, said he wanted to leave behind the controversy and focus on his participation in the Olympics and winning a medal there.

“I am thankful that the Prime Minister has met me and supported me. I am thankful to people for supporting me. I hope to live up to their expectations. I am also thankful for the support of the Wrestling Federation and the media for standing by me,” he said.

Asked if he would like those behind the doping row be punished, he said an inquiry is on and hoped that justice will be done.

“This should not happen to any player, otherwise they will stop taking interest in sports,” he said.

Wrestling Federation of India President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh accompanied Narsingh during his meeting with the Prime Minister.

Brijbhushan said, “The Prime Minister asked Narsingh not to take any tension and play freely and focus on winning laurels for the country.”

Yadav was on Monday exonerated of doping charges by the National Anti-doping Agency (NADA), which concluded that he was a victim of sabotage, paving the way for the wrestler’s participation in the Rio Olympics.

After more than a week of drama which began with Narsingh testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid methandienone in tests conducted on June 25, NADA DG Naveen Agarwal put an end to the suspense on the wrestler’s fate by exonerating him.

I Am Hopeful NADA Panel Will Take Right Decision: Narsingh Yadav

I Am Hopeful NADA Panel Will Take Right Decision: Narsingh Yadav

New Delhi: Despite not having enough evidence to prove the allegations of a sabotage, Narsingh Yadav on Thursday put up a brave face sounding hopeful that the NADA panel will give a proper verdict on his doping scandal.

“I have put forward my side of the story in front of the panel. I have told them the truth. Now I will have to wait for the panel’s decision. I am hopeful that the panel will give a right decision,” Narsingh told reporters after coming out of the hearing on the second day here.

NADA’s lawyer Gaurang Kanth said that Narsingh’s claims of conspiracy are not backed by sufficient proof.

“”The argument by NADA was that he is not eligible for remission which he has been asking. Narsingh did not produce the relevant circumstantial evidence that there could have been sabotage as had been claimed by them,” Kanth said.

“They filed an affidavit that his drinks or water was spiked but they did not produce the evidence to prove it to satisfy NADA and WADA,” he argued.

The suspense over Narsingh’s Olympic participation was today prolonged further after the National Anti-Doping Agency deferred its final verdict on the doping scandal surrounding him to Saturday or Monday at the end of a two-day hearing.

The 26-year-old wrestler said he was continuing his practice as he feels that there is still chance for him to board the flight to Rio.

“I am continuing with my practice and am still hopeful that I will be able to go to Rio,” Narsingh said.

“I have been framed. It was a conspiracy against me. I have never ever doped in such a long career,” he reiterated in his defence.

Narsingh’s hopes of competing in the Olympics had faded further after the wrestler failed a second dope test which was conducted on him on July 5.

Narsingh had been picked for the Rio Games ahead of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar after he won the quota place with a bronze medal in the World Championships last year.

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