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Olympics Latest: Judoka Takato claims Japan's 1st Tokyo gold

·18 min read

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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Naohisa Takato has won Japan’s first gold medal at its home Olympics, beating Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei in the men’s 60-kilogram judo final.

Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s 48-kilogram final less than an hour before Takato made sure his team wouldn’t have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art.

Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed too many fouls.

The charismatic Takato’s success — and Tonaki’s heartbreaking, last-minute defeat — could provide a much-needed jolt of excitement for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo beat Funa Tonaki in the women’s 48-kilogram Olympic judo final, depriving host Japan of its first gold medal in its home Olympics and winning Kosovo’s second-ever Olympic medal.

Krasniqi won on a throw with 20 seconds left, scoring a waza-ari and claiming a title that moved her to tears moments later.

Although Krasniqi was the top seed, she was severely challenged by the 4-foot-10 Tonaki, who beat a series of difficult opponents to reach the final.

Tonaki fell agonizingly short of claiming a gold medal in Japan’s beloved, homegrown martial art. Her success would have provided a much-needed jolt of positivity for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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MEDAL ALERT

Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo beat Funa Tonaki in the women’s 48-kilogram Olympic judo final, depriving host Japan of its first gold medal in its home Olympics and winning Kosovo’s second-ever Olympic medal.

Krasniqi won on a throw with 20 seconds left, scoring a waza-ari and claiming a title that moved her to tears moments later.

Although Krasniqi was the top seed, she was severely challenged by the 4-foot-10 Tonaki, who beat a series of difficult opponents to reach the final.

Tonaki fell agonizingly short of claiming a gold medal in Japan’s beloved, homegrown martial art. Her success would have provided a much-needed jolt of positivity for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. first lady Jill Biden have attended a 3-on-3 Olympic basketball game in Tokyo.

The two sat near one another as the French women’s team played the U.S. The U.S. won 17-10.

The 3-on-3 Olympic basketball tournament is making its debut at this Olympics.

Macron and Biden both attended the opening ceremony for the Games on Friday night.

Earlier Saturday, Biden attended a watch party at the U.S. ambassador's residence for embassy staff to watch the United States vs. Mexico women’s softball game. The U.S. won 2-0.

She said she was excited to watch the game and apologized for not being able to offer food or drink due to COVID protocols. She also thanked foreign service officers and their families for their service.

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Russian weightlifting leader Maxim Agapitov has beaten the IOC in court to win back his right to attend the Tokyo Olympics despite his own doping ban 27 years ago.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it upheld Agapitov’s appeal to regain his games accreditation, which the International Olympic Committee took away this month.

The IOC had decided Agapitov should “not have a personal history linked to any anti-doping rule violation” in order to stay at the Olympics representing the International Weightlifting Federation.

CAS says its three-judge panel decided it was “clearly disproportionate” to punish someone for a violation at any point in their athletic career.

Agapitov’s doping case was in 1994, before he became a world champion. He’s now president of the Russian weightlifting federation and an executive board member of the troubled IWF.

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The International Surfing Association has confirmed a last-minute alternate: Carlos Munoz, who will surf for Costa Rica as the sport makes its Olympic debut.

Munoz replaces Frederico Morais of Portugal, who announced Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would not travel to Japan while he quarantines at home.

Munoz’s confirmation comes at the very last minute possible, as the association had set the 3 p.m. Saturday Tokyo time as the deadline for alternates to be approved.

Surfers qualify by name as individuals via world tournament rankings, though each country can only have two surfers per gender.

The first alternate for Morais’ spot was Italian Angelo Bonomelli, who won't participate, though the association did not say why. Munoz was the next male surfer eligible.

The eight-day shortboard surfing competition period begins Sunday at Tsurigasaki beach.

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and French President Emmanuel Macron have met in Tokyo as the Olympics get underway.

They welcomed the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as “a powerful symbol of global unity” for a victory over COVID-19, according to a joint statement released by the Japanese foreign ministry.

Macron attended the opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Olympics to represent France, the host nation for 2024.

They’ve also agreed to share Japan’s experiences for the 2024 games, which will be held in Paris.

Japan has struggled to balance virus measures and preparation for the Olympics amid growing public concern about the health risks of holding the games.

Suga and Macron also agreed to co-operate in a wide range of areas including defence, climate change and the economy.

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MEDAL ALERT

Ecuador won its first cycling medal as Richard Carapaz took gold in the Olympic road race.

Embracing his nickname of “The Locomotive,” Carapaz rode away from American breakaway buddy Brandon McNulty as they approached the finish at Fuji International Speedway.

He slapped his handlebars in celebration as he crossed the line, where he was greeted by one of the few crowds allowed at the Olympics.

The chasing group rounded the corner in sight of him at the finish line, then played a game of cat-and-mouse for the other two medals. Belgian star Wout van Aert wound up edging Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia in a photo finish.

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MEDAL ALERT

An San and teenager Kim Je Deok have paired up to lead South Korea to a gold medal in the Olympic debut of archery’s mixed team event at the Tokyo Games.

On a sizzling Saturday at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, they held off Gabriela Schloesser and Steve Wijler of the Netherlands by a tally of 5-3 to bring home yet another archery gold for South Korea. The country has now captured 14 of 17 gold medals in archery team competitions since the current format was introduced to the Olympics in 1988.

What’s more, it was the 24th Olympic gold medal for South Korea’s archery program, matching short track speedskating for most by the country in a particular sport.

Alejandra Valencia and Luis Alvarez combined for Mexico and knocked off Yasemin Anagoz and Mete Gazoz of Turkey to earn the bronze medal.

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Heat and humidity are quickly becoming a major issue for players at the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo.

The temperature soared to 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) and the heat index made it feel like 100 F (38 C).

French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova says she wasn't feeling great, although she still routed Sara Errani of Italy 6-0, 6-1.

Mona Barthel struggled with 10 double-faults in a loss to Iga Swiatek as a searing sun made it nearly impossible to see the ball once she tossed it.

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev, who also competes for ROC at the Tokyo Games, called it “some of the worst” heat he has played in after eliminating Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

“I’m not going to lie. But you have to play,” Medvedev said. “That’s the Olympics, you go for the medal. You are not here to cry about the heat.”

Medvedev suggested that organizers move all matches to the evening to avoid the heat of the day.

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Novak Djokovic’s bid for a Golden Slam is alive and well following a routine 6-2, 6-2 win over 139th-ranked Hugo Dellien of Bolivia in the opening round of the Tokyo tennis tournament.

The top-ranked Serb is attempting to become the first man to win all four major tennis tournaments and an Olympic singles gold medal in the same year.

Steffi Graf was the only tennis player to accomplish the Golden Slam in 1988.

Djokovic’s next opponent will be 48th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

Struff eliminated Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-3, 6-4.

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The youngest table tennis player in Olympics history is out of the Tokyo Games.

Hend Zaza of Syria lost in straight sets to Liu Jia, a 39-year-old from Austria, in a preliminary match Saturday.

The 12-year-old told Olympics.com that she was pleased with her performance and learned from the loss — and she’s hoping for another shot at the next Olympics, in Paris.

Zaza is from Hama, which has been heavily damaged by war.

She is the youngest athlete at the Tokyo Games.

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MEDAL ALERT

Javad Foroughi has become the oldest Iranian athlete to win an Olympic medal, earning gold in men’s 10-meter air pistol.

Foroughi set an Olympic record with 244.8 points, finishing 6.9 ahead of silver medallist Damir Mikec of Serbia. China’s Pang Wei, the 2008 gold medallist, took bronze.

The 41-year-old Foroughi surpasses Iranian weightlifter Mahmoud Namdjou, who was 38 when he took bronze at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Foroughi, ranked fourth in the world, qualified fifth and immediately jumped to the lead in the finals with a series of shots in the 10-ring. He led Mikec by 4.2 points entering the final two shots and celebrated by waving his towel before kneeling on it to pray.

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MEDAL ALERT

Hou Zhihui has won China’s second gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a commanding showing in the women’s 49-kilogram weightlifting category.

Hou lifted a total 210kg, 3kg short of her world record, to take gold ahead of Indian lifter Chanu Saikhom Mirabai on 202. It was India’s first Olympic silver in weightlifting.

Indonesia took bronze as Windy Cantika Aisah lifted a total of 194kg.

Jourdan Delacruz of the United States was third after the snatch portion of the contest but failed on all three or her lifts in the clean and jerk.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura’s Olympic career is over.

The 32-year-old Japanese gymnast, considered by many the greatest of all time, fell during qualifying on high bar and will not advance to the event finals.

Uchimura, the 2012 and 2016 all-around gold medallist, was midway through his set when he peeled off while doing a complicated connection. He picked himself up and finished his routine, drilling his dismount.

His score of 13.866 placed him outside of the top eight, meaning he will not make the finals. Uchimura competed as an individual, meaning he will not be part of the team final on Monday.

Uchimura waved to the judges and received a round of applause inside the largely empty Ariake Gymnastics Centre before quickly exiting the competition floor.

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Tokyo organizers say the total of Olympics-related COVID-19 cases in Japan is now 127, with one athlete added to the tally.

German cyclist Simon Geschke’s positive test was announced Friday, one day ahead before the men’s road race. That’s a signature event on the first full day of competition at any Summer Games.

Athletes account for 14 of the 127 cases in Japan since July 1. Among the new positive tests are 14 games contractors who live in Japan.

Dutch team officials said Saturday that rower Finn Florijn tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of the Games. Two other Dutch athletes previously tested positive. Florijn's positive test won't show up in the official tally of cases until Sunday.

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China has sprinted to the lead in men’s gymnastics qualifying, putting on a clinic inside the nearly empty Ariake Gymnastics Centre as it aims to return to the top of the sport.

China total of 262.061 — fuelled by four brilliant sets on parallel bars — edged out Russia’s 261.945 in the first of three qualifying subdivisions.

China is attempting to bounce back after slipping to bronze in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and coming in second to the Russians at the 2019 world championships.

Reigning world champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia has grabbed the early lead in all-around qualifying, putting together a steady 87.897, just ahead of China’s Xiao Ruoteng and Sun Wei.

Russian Artur Dalaloyan also assured himself of a spot in next week’s all-around finals with a total of 85.597, remarkable considering that Dalaloyan is competing on a surgically repaired left Achilles torn at the European championships in April.

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The French Olympic Committee says some of the medical and support staff for its men’s basketball team have been forced into quarantine at the Tokyo Games because a passenger aboard their flight to Japan tested positive for the coronavirus.

The committee didn’t say how many staff members are affected as possible contact cases. It said they have been in isolation since July 19, unable to work with the athletes. It said all of the staff members’ tests so far have been negative.

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Dutch team officials say rower Finn Florijn has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of the Games. The other members of the team who are considered close contacts can stay, but will need to adjust to separate transportation and eating and sleeping arrangements.

The 21-year-old son of former Olympic gold medallist rower Ronald Florijn was competing in single sculls and had finished fourth in his heat on Friday. He was scheduled to row again Saturday in the repechage before positive test results late Friday ended his Games.

“I was hopeful to improve in the rematch. Now it’s over in an instant. I can’t really say much more about it,” Florijn said.

Florijn is the fourth member of the Dutch team or staff to test positive for COVID-19. The team said earlier this week that taekwondo athlete Reshmie Oogink and a rowing team staff member tested positive and skateboarder Candy Jacobs announced on Instagram that she had tested positive.

Chef de Mission of TeamNL Pieter van den Hoogenband says the team is doing everything it can to curb more positive tests.

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The ban on fans for the Summer Olympics does not extend past Tokyo, and that means thousands of cycling fans have turned up at Fuji International Speedway to await the finish of the men’s road race.

The facility built in the 1960s but extensively renovated over the years has a grandstand capacity of 22,000 people. And with 50 per cent capacity limitations due to COVID-19, that means up to 11,000 will be able to see the finish.

Their eagerness to see the Olympics after a year delay was clear by the way fans turned out early Saturday. They showed up nearly seven hours before riders were expected to reach the finishing circuits, and the layout of the speedway meant they would be spending all that time in the sun on a steamy day two hours southwest of Tokyo.

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MEDAL ALERT

China’s Yang Qian has won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics in women’s 10-meter air rifle.

Yang overtook Anastasiia Galashina when the Russian missed the centre two rings for an 8.9 on her final shot.

Yang had a 9.8 on her final shot and finished with an Olympic record 251.8. Galashina finished at 251.1.

Switzerland’s Nina Christen took bronze.

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An Algerian judo athlete will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after he withdrew from the competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73 kg division on Monday. Nourine was to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the opening round, with the winner facing Butbul, the fifth seed.

The International Judo Federation’s executive committee has temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics, which began Saturday. The Algerian Olympic committee then withdrew both men’s accreditation and made plans to send them home.

The IJF said Nourine’s position was “in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.”

Nourine and Benikhlef attribute their stance to their political support for Palestinians.

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Two Georgian tennis players have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics after officials in their home country told them they were entered for the Games but never actually sent the paperwork.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that it had to turn away doubles players Oksana Kalashnikova and Ekaterine Gorgodze because they were never formally entered for the games, even though Georgia’s Olympic committee “informed the applicants that their application had been submitted.”

Without a formal entry for the Olympics, the court ruled that the “consequence, however unfortunate for the two athletes, can only be the dismissal of their petition.”

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Australia is without cyclist Rohan Dennis for the men’s Olympic road race, though it’s not because of a positive test for COVID-19.

Dennis chose to skip the race, which is taking place on a brutal course through searing heat that hardly suits his skillset, so that he can focus instead on next week’s time trial.

Dennis, who has won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, is also one of the best in the world in the race against the clock. He’s a two-time time trial world champion, helped Australia win team pursuit silver at the 2012 London Games and is a former world hour-record holder.

He was in medal contention at the Rio Games in the time trial, but he had a mechanical issue that required a bike change and took him out of the running.

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The entire Spanish cycling team has been cleared for the men’s road race hours before the start, ending a stressful period of limbo following a positive COVID-19 test involving a team masseuse.

Alejandro Valverde, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Omar Fraile and Jesus Herrada were considered close contacts of the masseuse, but all returned negative test results that allowed them to make the start at Musashinonomori Park on Saturday.

Spain has one of the strongest teams in the men’s road race, which will finish at Fuji International Speedway. Valverde, Fraile and Ion Izagirre in particular have skillsets that are perfectly suited for the mountainous course.

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The very first match of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament has been cancelled because a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19.

Markéta Sluková tested positive earlier this week, knocking her and partner Barbora Hermannova out of the Tokyo Games.

The Czechs were supposed to be playing a team from the host country that would have been making its Olympic debut. Instead, the Japanese pair of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii earned the victory by default.

Sluková is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive since their arrival in Japan, including men’s beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič.

The team has said it’s investigating if the outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.

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German cyclist Simon Geschke has been ruled out of the men’s road race after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The German team says Geschke initially tested positive Friday and his result was confirmed by another test later in the day.

Germany says fellow riders Nikias Arndt and Maximilian Schachmann are cleared to race Saturday. The fourth rider on the team, Emanuel Buchmann, was Geschke’s roommate and was waiting overnight on the result of another PCR test for the virus. Team staff tested negative.

Geschke was a stage winner on the Tour de France in 2015.

The German road race team is living in a hotel and not in the Olympic Village.

Geschke says he followed the hygiene rules at the Olympics. He adds that “I feel fine physically but emotionally it’s a really terrible day for me.”

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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