Tokyo Olympics: shocking gold medals for Kiesenhofer and Hafnaoui as Osaka and Biles start campaign

Ahmed Hafnaoui’s gold medal is only the fifth for a Tunisian athlete at the Olympics
Appointment: July 23-August 8 Time in Tokyo: BST +8
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Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer won a surprise gold medal in the road race and Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui surprised the favorites in the pool on a drama-filled second day at the Tokyo Olympics.

There have also been upheavals in tennis, with Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty eliminated, and taekwondo where two-time British champion Jade Jones lost in the first round.

Even favorite Simone Biles was wobbly in gymnastics qualifying, as golf was deprived of two top players thanks to positive Covid-19 tests and reigning tennis champion Andy Murray retired from singles male.

But the biggest shock of the day was surely for Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten, who celebrated her stint thinking she had won gold only to find she was actually second.

Among all the surprises was the reassuring return to action of Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka and it was more of a thrill as skateboarding and surfing made their Olympic debut.

Dream victories for Kiesenhofer & Hafnaoui

Hundreds of fans have come in the sun to gather on the streets of Fuchu, on the outskirts of Tokyo, to catch a glimpse of the women’s road cycling race, going against official advice to avoid gathering due to the pandemic .

What they witnessed was remarkable as Kiesenhofer, 30, who is not part of a professional cycling team and was making her Games debut, became the first Austrian to win an Olympic road medal after a solo breakaway. devastating.

She was in the lead from the start, part of an early breakaway, before going it alone 40 km from the finish.

Kiesenhofer’s advantage was so great that Van Vleuten didn’t realize someone had beaten her until the finish, with the Dutchwoman celebrating first before exclaiming: “I was wrong” .

Previously, there had been a huge upheaval at the Tokyo Aquatic Center, where 18-year-old Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui finished ahead of favorites Australia and America to win the 400m freestyle.

He said he was surprised he even reached the final that even when he hit the wall he didn’t immediately “accept” that he won when it was a dream come true.

New sports and new records

Japan’s Yuto Horigome won the first Olympic gold medal in skateboarding, taking victory in men’s street skating a stone’s throw from where he grew up after being introduced to the sport by this father from an early age. .

Another novelty of these Games, surfing was set up, the competitors benefiting from a morning swell which gave them the necessary power to show their sport in the heats after a few tame waves during training.

It was an old sport but a new record as the Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team broke their own world record of 3: 29.69 in the pool, while South Korea won a ninth medal. consecutive gold in the women’s archery event to tie the longest gold medal. sequence in Olympic history.

Osaka & Biles launch their campaigns

Two of the Games’ biggest draws came on Sunday, with home favorite Osaka returning to action for the first time in nearly two months after taking a break from tennis to protect her sanity and Biles competing in qualifying. gymnastics.

Second seed Osaka, who lit the flame at Friday’s opening ceremony, beat China’s Saisai Zheng 6-1 6-4, but said it was “scary” to compete in her Games home.

Meanwhile, four-time Olympic champion Biles was penalized on vault and floor – where she bounced completely out of the competition area – in a below-par performance as the United States finished second behind the Committee. Russian Olympic Games in the team qualification.

While qualifying is still ongoing, she is expected to reach four of the individual finals but will miss the uneven bars final.

Golfers excluded and the photo shoot was organized

American Bryson DeChambeau and Spaniard Jon Rahm were excluded from the golf tournament after testing positive for Covid-19.

DeChambeau had yet to travel to Japan, where he was due to make his Olympic debut, while world number one Rahm tested positive for the second time in as many months.

Every aspect of the delayed Games has been affected by the pandemic, but athletes are entitled to a brief moment of “normalcy” for a podium photo op.

On Sunday, organizers said medal winners could remove their masks for 30 seconds to show cameras a smile, though masks remain mandatory at all venues.

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