Debut climbing to gold as sun shines on volleyball sands, diplomacy creeps in
- USA wins gold in women’s beach volleyball for first time in 9 years
- IOC withdraws two Belarusian coaches after sprinter’s defection
- Spaniard Gines wins gold in climbing that made his Tokyo debut
- Japan’s Ryo Kiyuna set for karate gold
- Outdoor athletes continue to battle scorching heat
TOKYO, Aug.6 (Reuters) – Beach volleyball players roasted on the sands of Tokyo Bay and Olympic walkers roasted in supposedly cooler northern Japan on Friday as organizers fired two Belarusian officials after the defection of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya.
As solar and political heat gripped the athletes in their final three days of the Games, climbers climbed the walls in the sport’s Olympic debut as the U.S. team won gold in women’s volleyball for the cradle. Sport. In karate too, the home country seemed poised to finish on the top step of the podium.
Belarusian athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich and team manager Artur Shumak have been asked to leave the Olympic village, the International Olympic Committee said, days after ordering Tsimanouskaya to pack his bags and to go to the airport against his will. Read more
In a saga reminiscent of Cold War sports defections, Tsimanouskaya refused to board the Sunday return flight and sought protection from the Japanese police before fleeing to Poland, where she was offered a humanitarian visa and reunited with her husband on Thursday.
She told Reuters that the two officials said the order to send her home came from “up” in Belarus.
The 24-year-old’s case threatens to further isolate Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been the subject of Western sanctions after a crackdown on his opponents since last year and whose son heads the National Olympic Committee.
Back in Tokyo, gold in boxing went to dominating Cuba as Julio la Cruz outclassed Russian world heavyweight champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov to claim his second Olympic title and his country’s third gold on the five awarded so far. Read more
45 ° C AND NO SHADOW
Outdoor athletes continued to suffer from Japan’s punitive summer weather.
Sapporo, in the far north, was chosen for the 50km walk for a bit of a respite from the heat in the capital, but Pole Dawid Tomala had to battle Tokyo temperatures to win gold with a dominant second half. Read more
Tomala, 31, has moved from the 20km this year because he “was bored and needed new challenges,” he said. “This is the second 50 in my life and a gold medal is crazy, isn’t it?”
More on the minds of the walkers than the heat, perhaps, was the anger that the event may have been their last – it was withdrawn from the Paris 2024 Games as there is no equivalent race for the women. Read more
On the hockey field, officials doubled the usual two-minute breaks between quarters to allow players to calm down, and deployed additional one-minute water breaks during the final two quarters of the game.
Air temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) – and a warmer temperature of 45 ° C (113 ° F) on the shadowless sands of Shiokaze Park – April Ross and Alix Klineman of the States- United won the women’s beach volleyball. Read more
They regained gold for the birthplace of the sport for the first time in nine years, to the chants of “USA” from 20 team members in an otherwise empty arena.
Hailing from the birthplace of karate, Ryo Kiyuna, a native of Okinawa, Japan, also appeared poised to win gold in his sport, after his punch, sharpness and precision on the tatami mat prompted gasps during of the kata event at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, the spiritual home of traditional Japanese martial arts. Read more
MENTAL HEALTH AND DIVERSITY
In an Olympic first, the fight for gold in climbing for men was played out to the end, with 18-year-old Spaniard Alberto Gines Lopez ahead of American Nathaniel Coleman, while Austria’s Jakob Schubert moved from seventh place to take bronze. Read more
Schubert’s effort knocked out top contenders Adam Ondra of the Czech Republic and Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki in the sport combining three disciplines – a 15m wall sprint, boulders around and over obstacles and a timed climb. which tests the endurance of athletes.
In addition to international politics, the Olympics that end on Sunday have highlighted mental health, transgender rights and equality – including even the clothes that female athletes wear, skimpy bikinis mandatory for players of beach handball to gymnasts allowed to wear whatever they choose.
The Olympics were supposed to showcase Japan’s growing ethnic diversity, but the Games brought a national debate into international spotlight on whether the country can be both multicultural and Japanese. Read more
Judo gold medalist Aaron Wolf, NBA basketball player Rui Hachimura and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka – with fathers from the United States, Benin and Haiti, respectively – play for their home countries in a team that would have been incredibly diverse a few decades ago.
But like many countries, Japan still has a long way to go.
“The government wanted to use Métis people to show that Japan has become a global country,” said researcher Lawrence Yoshitaka Shimoji of Ritsumeikan University.
“On the other hand, the government has taken no action to combat discrimination.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Martin Petty, Chris Gallagher, Daniel Leussink, Tetsushi Kajimoto, Paresh Dave, Chang-Ran Kim, Rozanna Latiff, Sam Nussey, Junko Fujita, Tetsushi Kajimoto and Ami Miyazaki; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Himani Sarkar
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