Monday 18 December 2017

What you missed in Rio while you slept: King David wins 800m while hometown hero takes shock gold

Harry Yorke

Here are 7 things you probably slept through from the Rio Olympics overnight.

1. Team GB make it through to the women's hockey semi-finals

Another Olympics, another semi-final for Great Britain’s women’s hockey team, who are surely destined for better than bronze after six straight victories in Rio.

Playing with the kind of swagger a run of wins instils, a first-half blitz decided last night’s quarter-final against Spain and set up a rematch against the New Zealand side they so beat so memorably to third place at London 2012.

They are threatening to do something even more unforgettable in Rio amid mounting expectation they can repeat the gold medal-winning exploits of the 1988 men’s squad.

2. Brazilian dives headfirst over the line in 110m hurdles

In any of the track and field sprint events, athletes are taught from a young age to run through the line in order to shave a few all-important milliseconds off their times.

But it appears the Brazilian hurdler Joao Vitor de Oliveira has come up with a far more audacious method of getting the competitive edge over his opponents.

On Monday night, in front of an adoring home crowd, the 24-year-old progressed to the next round of the competition after diving headfirst over the finishing line - pipping South Africa's Antonio Alkana and Mikel Thomas of Trinidad to fourth spot in the process.

3. Shaunae Miller stumbles to victory in women's 400m final

It took a dramatic dive by Shaunae Miller of Bahamas at the finish line to win the women's 400-meter final, preventing American Allyson Felix from capturing a record fifth Olympic gold medal.

Miller clocked 49.44 seconds, running in lane 7, to narrowly hold off Felix, who finished in 49.51. Shericka Jackson of Jamaica won the bronze in 49.85.

Felix won the 400 at the world championships last year and was planning to run the 200- and 400-meter double in Rio, but was hampered by an ankle injury at the U.S. trials and didn't make the team for the 200. She won the 200 in London four years ago.

Felix now has seven Olympic medals, including three silvers. She could still run both the 4x100 and the 4x400 relays in Rio.

The 30-year-old American entered the games as one of six women with four Olympic gold medals in track and field.

4. David Rudisha coasts to 800m gold for Kenya

David Rudisha retained his Olympic 800 metres title with another imperious display in Rio.

The Kenyan, who broke the world record in taking gold at London 2012, hit the front with 300m to go and stayed strong to come home in one minute 42.15 seconds. It was the fastest time in the world since that unforgettable run in London.

Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi took silver in 1min 42.61, with American Clayton Murphy getting bronze.

Rudisha's 1:40.91 world record from four years ago was achieved with an awesome display of front-running, hailed by Lord Coe as his highlight of the whole Games.

Injuries have prevented the 27-year-old from reaching that level since, but the two-time world champion was still in total control.

His compatriot Alfred Kipketer set a crazy early pace, going through 400m in 49.23 seconds, but Rudisha sped past him down the back straight and from that moment there was only one winner.

5. Diving Pool turns blue - again

Ater a week-long thriller the water in the diving pool has finally gone back to blue just in time for the Men's 3m preliminaries.

The colour of the diving pool  at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre has been an embarrassing mark on the Rio Organising Committee, as it changed from clear blue to murky green last Tuesday, earning nicknames such as "the swamp" and "green abyss."

6. Torrential downpours cause disruption to track and field

Torrential rain played havoc at the Olympic stadium on Monday night as pole vault finalists, discus throwers, and hurdlers were caught up in lengthy delays.

Flooding the track in a matter of minutes, on the field, women's Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic was nearly knocked out of contention after recording two fouls in the wet and slipper conditions.

One throw away from elimination, she managed to find a respectable distance on her third attempt to gain automatic qualification.

Meanwhile, the 110 metre hurdles were equally hard hit, with Deuce Carter of Jamaica being disqualified in his heat.

Thankfully for the  medal hopeful, the weather was judged to be so bad that organisers were forced to schedule a special race later in the night, allowing fastest losers to have a second chance at qualification.

Unsurprisingly, Carter took full advantage of the opportunity, coming first in the rerun to progress to the next stage, his medal hopes still very much alive.

7. Da Silva wins Brazil's first track and field gold of 2016

Before stepping onto the field tonight, few followers of the pole vault - save for a couple of patriotic Brazilians - would have considered Thiago Braz da Silva as a medal contender, let alone the new Olympic champion and record holder.

The unheralded Brazilian  sent the home crowd wild on Monday as he trumped France's defending Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie to win the men's pole vault title.

In a thrilling competition in which Lavillenie was jeered every time he vaulted, Da Silva won gold with an Olympic record of 6.03 metres.

Lavillenie pitched everything on a last-gasp vault at 6.08m, but failed and had to be content with silver with a best of 5.98m.

American Sam Hendricks took bronze with 5.85.

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