TOKYO — Barely half a day passed before politics, the pandemic and the scorching heat, affected the events of the Tokyo Olympics.
China’s Yang Qian, at least, was right on target.
Yang overtook Russia’s Anastasia Galashina to win her first Tokyo Games gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle on Saturday. His last shot was his worst shot in the final, but he still overtook Galashina with an Olympic-record score of 251.8. Nina Kristen of Switzerland won the bronze medal.
“It’s unbelievable that I can be here,” Yang said through an interpreter. “I was really nervous. The competition was really tough, but I’m so glad I could win.
Galashina led Yang by 0.2 points when they fired almost simultaneously on their last shot. The limited crowd at the Asaka Shooting Range gasped as the score later posted a split.
Yang, a 21-year-old who qualified sixth out of eight medalists, missed the innermost circle in her final shot, a 9.8 that she thought would be worth her gold.
He noticed that Galashina had missed the two center rings. The Russian’s 8.9 meant IOC President Thomas Bach would award the gold medal to Yang on a tray – per pandemic protocol – instead of Galashina.
The first event of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament was canceled after a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19. Marketa Slukova, who tested positive earlier this week, and partner Barbora Hermanova were ruled out of the tournament.
Already empty due to bans on fans, the venue of Shiokase Park was still quiet when the match was due to start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the only sound coming from the incredibly loud cicadas in the nearby trees.
The Japanese team of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii won by default after qualifying for the tournament through a reserve entry for the host country. Officially, the Czechs were marked “Did Not Start” and their three round-robin opponents would be awarded the victory.
Slukova is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive since their arrival in Japan, which also includes men’s beach volleyball player Ondrej Perucic. The team has said it is investigating whether the COVID-19 outbreak is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.
An Algerian judo athlete will be sent home after withdrawing from competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent.
Fethi Noorin and her coach Amar Benikhlef told Algerian media they were holding back on Monday to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73kg category. Naureen was to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdallarsoul in the opening round, with the winner facing fifth seed Butbul.
The executive committee of the International Judo Federation has temporarily suspended Noorin and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics. The Algerian Olympic Committee then withdrew recognition of both men and made plans to send them home.
Noorin and Benikhlef attributed their stance to their political support for the Palestinians.
Tennis player Daniil Medvedev wants organizers to move matches to evening, when players in their opening matches reached 91 °F (33 °C) in heat and a heat index that made it feel more like 100 F (38 C). .
Medvedev called it “some of the worst” summers after defeating Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-4, 7-6(8).
“I’m not going to lie. But you have to play,” said the Russian. “That’s the Olympics, you go for the medals. You’re not here to cry about the heat.”
French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova caught for an air tube during a medical timeout and threw bags of ice at her skirt during a changeover as she beat Italy’s Sara Irani 6-0, 6-1.
“You’re not feeling well,” said Pavlyuchenkova. “So I wasn’t enjoying it at all.”
The youngest competitor at the Tokyo Games is eliminated, and therefore an Olympic great.
Syria’s Hend Zaza lost to Liu Jia in straight sets, ending the 12-year-old’s hopes of making a noise as the youngest table tennis player in Olympic history.
Zaza told Olympic.com that she was pleased with her performance and learned from the loss – and is looking forward to another shot at the next Olympics in Paris.
Two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura’s Olympic career came to an end when the 32-year-old Japanese gymnast collapsed while qualifying on the high bar.
Considered by many to be the greatest of all time, the 2012 and ’16 all-around gold medalist was in the middle of his set when he peeled off while making a complicated connection. He picked himself up and completed his routine, drilling his unloading.
His score of 13.866 dropped him out of the top eight, meaning he would not make it to the final.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports