Sunday September 19, 2021

McLaughlin lights up track as Japanese teen wins skateboard gold

August 05, 2021

TOKYO: Sydney McLaughlin obliterated her own world record to win Olympic gold in the women’s 400m hurdles on Wednesday as Japanese teenager Sakura Yosozumi maintained the hosts’ stranglehold on the skateboarding competition.

Elsewhere on day 12 of action in Tokyo, the Netherlands dumped defending champions Britain out of the women’s hockey while the women’s golf got under way in sweltering conditions.

At the Olympic Stadium, McLaughlin powered home in 51.46 seconds, with defending champion Dalilah Muhammad claiming silver in 51.58 after another classic duel between the two dominant American hurdlers.

The 21-year-old McLaughlin’s blistering time bettered her world record set at the US trials in Oregon in June, when she ran 51.90sec.

World champion Muhammad, 31, also ducked inside the previous world record, with bronze medallist Femke Bol of the Netherlands just outside the 52-second mark.

It came a day after an epic duel between Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin in the men’s 400m hurdles, which ended with Norway’s Warholm winning and improving his own world record by a huge margin.

“I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go,” said McLaughlin. “I just thought ‘run your race’. The race doesn’t really start till hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had.”

Canada’s Damian Warner leads the way in the men’s decathlon after three events while defending champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium tops the heptathlon standings with two events gone. British world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson is in third spot.

In a hotly anticipated men’s 200m final in the evening session, pre-Games favourite Noah Lyles takes on exciting 17-year-old US compatriot Erriyon Knighton and Rio 2016 silver medallist Andre de Grasse.

Dutch star Sifan Hassan will be attempting the next step in her bid for an unprecedented treble, running in the 1500m semi-finals two days after winning the 5,000 title.

Away from the athletics, Yosozumi won the women’s park skateboarding event to stop compatriot Kokona Hiraki and Britain’s Sky Brown becoming the Games’ youngest-ever gold medallists.

The 19-year-old carved up the Ariake Urban Sports Park with a flowing opening run in the final, and her 60.09 points proved enough for victory ahead of Hiraki and Brown.

“This medal feels unreal — it feels like a dream,” said Yosozumi, as she celebrated at a sun-baked Ariake Urban Sports Park.

“I hope skateboarding is going to be very popular in Japan because of the strong performances of the Japanese team,” she said, adding: “Now I want to go back home and eat some delicious food.”

Japan also snapped up the men’s and women’s street titles earlier in the Games and they have now bagged five of the nine medals so far as skateboarding makes its debut as one of four new Olympic sports.

Both Brown, at 13 years and 28 days, and Hiraki (12 years and 343 days) were bidding to break an 85-year-old record to become the youngest Olympic gold medallists.

The Dutch team hammered Britain 5-1 in the semi-finals of the women’s hockey to avenge their defeat in the gold-medal match in 2016.

Serbia edged China 77-70 in their women’s basketball quarter-final to set up a last-four clash against the USA, who hammered Australia 79-55.

China continued their march towards another table tennis team gold, crushing Germany 3-0 to set up a mouth-watering final against Japan while Cuba’s Arlen Lopez beat Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker in the men’s light heavyweight boxing final.

Away from the action, all 12 members of the Greek artistic swimming team are in isolation after five tested positive for coronavirus in the first cluster detected at the Games.