After the opening ceremony on Friday (23), the Olympic Games in Tokyo-2020 had their first medals this Saturday (24), with Asia winning more than half of the gold medals.
Brazil, which has yet to win a medal – Felipe Wu’s defeat in shooting and Nathalie Moelhausen in fencing – celebrated places in the men’s gymnastics finals, Felipe Lima’s qualifying in swimming and victories in volleyball – on the court and on the beach. The women’s soccer team tied with the Netherlands, getting very close to the quarter-finals.
Among the highlights of the day, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz won a historic title in road cycling, in a 234 km route, with five ports and the emblematic Mount Fuji as witness.
“It was an amazing moment. I dedicate to my country. I’ve worked hard to get here,” he declared after the podium, which he shared with Belgian Wout Van Aert (silver) and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (bronze).
Of the eleven finals played this Saturday, seven were won by Asian countries, with China leading the medals table (three gold), while Japan, South Korea, Iran and Thailand each got one gold medal.
The first gold of these Games was won in shooting by the Chinese Qian Yang (10 meter carbine). China was the only country to win more than one gold on ‘Day 1’ of the event, thanks to weightlifter Hou Zhihui in the 49 kg category and fencer Sun Yiwen.
Japan won the first gold of ‘their’ Olympic Games in an iconic sport for the country, judo, where Naohisa Takato was crowned in the 60 kg category. The home country of this martial art did not get a double, as Funa Tonaki lost the other final this Saturday, the women’s under 48kg final, against Kosovar Distria Krasniqi.
Thai Panipak Wongpattanakit won in the 49 kg category, defeating Spanish Adriana Cerezo in the final.
In turn, in archery, South Korea demonstrated its hegemony and won the mixed-team competition with An San and Kim Je Deok, where Mexico achieved bronze with Alejandro Valencia and Luis Álvarez.
Iranian Javad Foroughi won the 10-meter pistol event.
Among the three European golds this Saturday, in addition to judoka Krasniqi, in Taekwondo, Italian Vito Dell’Aquila (-58 kg) and Hungarian fencer Aron Szilagyi (sabre) also stood out.
Szilagyi’s gold was historic as it was the first time a man had won three consecutive Olympic titles in fencing. He thus emulated the Italian Valentina Vezzali, who got him in the rapier.
– Fall of Uchimura –
If today’s joys were mostly Asian, so was the big disappointment, that of Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, who suffered a fall on the bar, precipitating the end of his fourth Olympiad.
At 32, the Japanese star, seven-time world champion and winner of seven Olympic medals (three golds, four silvers), responded evasively when asked if he had lived his last competition: “No. I do not know. I have to think”.
Brazil, in turn, confirmed three places in the men’s finals. Arthur Zanetti finished fifth in the rings and will fight for an unprecedented third Olympic medal in the apparatus. Caio Souza made two decisions: the jump and the general individual. Diogo Soares won the last place in the general individual final.
In terms of teams, Brazil was in ninth position, just 0.229 points behind Ukraine, last classified for the final.
The veteran Argentine judoka Paula Pareto confirmed his retirement, gold at the Rio-2016 Games and bronze in Beijing-2008, but who failed to climb the podium in the 48 kg category at 35 years of age.
“It’s my last competition. I forced my body into this competition because it’s important and it’s always good to be in the Olympics”, he said.
On Sunday, the Games continue with 19 finals. All this with a threat on the horizon, which adds to the covid-19: Typhoon Nepartak is approaching Tokyo and will arrive at the beginning of the week, which threatens the Olympic programme, especially in rowing and sailing.
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