Japan shot to the top of the medal tally with eight golds on Monday night when mixed doubles partners Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito upset China in a table tennis thriller.
GOLDEN HOME TEAM
The table tennis capped off a successful day for the host nation, which ended Monday night with more gold than the U.S. and two ahead of third-placed China.
Earlier in the day, 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya won gold in the women’s skateboarding event, making her the country’s youngest gold medallist. In an unusually young field of contestants, both the gold and silver went to 13-year-olds, with a 16-year-old Japanese skater clinching the bronze medal.
As the nation began to warm to Olympic success, some Japanese sports fans defied the organizers and gathered along the route of the triathlon, grabbing a rare opportunity to see live competition and Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt scoop up the gold.
“I think the risk of getting infected is extremely low, almost equal to zero,” said Masao Kitada, a 35-year-old finance worker standing at the roadside. “The Tokyo Games are very special, so I can’t miss this chance.”
Organizers, however, reported 16 new Olympics-related coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 148.
Support for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga slid nine points to 34 per cent, its lowest since he took office, a survey showed on Monday, as worries about COVID-19 clouded his hopes the Tokyo Olympics would boost his ratings ahead of an election this year.
British divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee pulled off a stunning victory in the men’s 10-metre synchronized platform diving, ending China’s golden run in the event. China had won gold in the last four Games, but costly errors in the their fourth dive meant the lead slipped through the fingers of Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen, as four-time Olympian Daley and new diving partner Lee held their nerve to top the podium. Daley later told reporters that LGBTQ representation at the Games can change lives.
“When I was a little boy and felt like an outsider and felt different and felt like I was never going to be anything because who I was wasn’t what society wanted me to be, and to be able to see out LGBT people performing at the Olympic Games is – I hope [it] can give young kids hope,” he said.
Britain’s Tom Pidcock blew the opposition apart to win gold in the men’s Olympics mountain bike race when he seized control after four laps of the 4.1-kilometres Izu circuit and was never challenged.
First gold for Philippines
Philippine’s Hidilyn Diaz became her country’s first gold medallist, winning the women’s 55-kilogram category for weightlifting at Tokyo 2020.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus drew first blood in her Olympic showdown with American Katie Ledecky after her brilliantly timed swim secured a famous victory in the 400-m freestyle at the Tokyo Games. It was Titmus’s coach, however, who deserved the gold medal for celebrating. Viewers were mesmerized by Dean Boxall as he leaped in the air, tore off his mask and screamed ecstatically, head-banging with his surfer-like hair tumbling around him. “I just lost it in the moment,” he later told Australia’s Seven network. Britain’s Adam Peaty delivered another dominating swim to repeat his gold medal success from Rio in the 100-m breaststroke, while Canadian Maggie Mac Neil stormed to victory in a close women’s 100-m butterfly and the United States triumphed in the men’s 4x100-m relay.
The female gymnasts who would not have met age eligibility criteria if the Tokyo Games had been held in 2020 are relishing their unique Olympic experience. The International Gymnastics Federation, the sport’s governing body, decided to allow those turning 16 in 2021 – instead of 2020 – to compete in Tokyo in light of the postponement, something that has stirred debate within the sport.