Tokyo 2020 Day 3 round-up: Britain claim gold in diving and swimming

Adam Peaty lived up to expectations while Naomi Osaka advances in women’s tennis

Tom Daley (right) and Matty Lee during the men’s synchronised 10m platform final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the third day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Tom Daley (right) and Matty Lee during the men’s synchronised 10m platform final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the third day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

 

Diving

Tom Daley and Matty Lee claimed a stunning gold in the synchronised 10 metres platform in Tokyo on what was a successful day for Britain in the swimming and diving pools.

The nerveless duo finished with 471.81 points having never dropped out of the top two and took the Olympic title 1.23 points ahead of China, with the Russian Olympic Committee third.

It is Daley’s third Olympic medal after he won bronze at the London and Rio Games.

The pair started well after an inward one-and-a-half somersault pike in the first round and continued their form to lead with two rounds left.

China’s poor dive — a score of 73.44 points was ranked sixth in the fourth round — left the route to gold open for Daley and Lee.

They scored 93.96 in the fourth round with an impressive backwards three-and-a-half somersaults pike to take charge.

A fifth dive — a reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tuck — earned 89.76 points to put the pressure on China ahead of the final round.

The British pair were 1.74 points ahead and an impressive forward four-and-half somersault tuck earned them 101.01 points and China could not catch them with their final effort.

Daley said he could not believe it after securing his first Olympic gold medal at his fourth games.

“You want to win an Olympic gold medal but never think you actually will,” he said. “I will carry on but I will definitely take a break. There are some beverages with my name on it to celebrate with my husband and family.

“This means an incredible amount. All athletes put in such hard work and dedication into our performances. To be an Olympic champion after four attempts at it feels extremely special.”

Lee added: “In 2018 I moved my whole life to London from Leeds, I had nothing really in London. Our aim was to get an Olympic medal and for it to go the way we wanted it to is awesome.

“I owe a lot to Tom because he has taught me a lot.”

Daley said this was the first Games he had come into believing they were the ones to beat.

“I mean to finally have this gold medal around my neck after so many — I mean I’ve been diving now for 20 years and this is my fourth Olympic Games and lots of people probably would have counted me out of this Olympics being the older person but I’m in the best shape physically and mentally,” Daley told the BBC.

“With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way that we’ve been preparing, I think we’ve just had that unstoppable mentality this year and this is the first year that I’ve ever been able to think like that — that we are the ones to beat.

“I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening and I honestly didn’t think I would get there in the first place, but here we are.”

Swimming

Earlier, Adam Peaty became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title with a characteristically dominant display in the final of the men’s 100 metres breaststroke at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

While he was unable to break his own world record of 56.88 seconds, the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter stormed to Team GB’s first gold of Tokyo 2020 in a time of 57.37secs.

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Adam Peaty celebrates winning gold. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images
Adam Peaty celebrates winning gold. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Closest challenger Arno Kamminga, the only swimmer other than Peaty to breach the 58-second barrier in this event, was a distant 0.63s behind in second.

Nicolo Martinenghi collected bronze in a time of 58.33s as Peaty’s compatriot James Wilby missed out on a podium position, settling for fifth as he clocked 58.96s.

There was an air of inevitability to Peaty’s victory as he recorded the fifth fastest time in the history.

Not only is his personal best over this distance almost one second better than anyone else in the sport, but he continued a proud record of being undefeated in seven years in major competitions.

“I haven’t felt this good since 2016, it just means the world to me,” Peaty told the BBC.

“I didn’t have the best preparation of my life. But you throw that out the window.

“That’s really what it takes to be an athlete. It’s not who’s the best all year round, it’s who’s the best on the day.”

Also in the pool, Katie Ledecky was level-headed after being upstaged in the final of the women’s 400 metres freestyle as Ariarne Titmus claimed gold in her first Olympic medal race.

Ariarne Titmus (right) beats Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m freestyle final. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Ariarne Titmus (right) beats Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m freestyle final. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ledecky set a world record in topping the podium at Rio 2016 but the American was beaten by over a second in the discipline at the 2019 World Championships by her Australian rival, setting up an intriguing showpiece in Tokyo.

The six-time Olympic gold medallist hit the front early on at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre and was just ahead at the halfway stage, but Titmus upped her level to come home in a time of three minutes and 56.69 seconds.

A magnanimous Ledecky, who settled for silver after finishing 0.67secs behind, said: “It was certainly a tough race and I delivered. I couldn’t do much better than that. It was a tremendous race, a lot of fun.

“I can’t be too disappointed. It was my second-best swim ever (over the distance). I felt like I fought tooth and nail and that’s all you can ask for.

“I didn’t feel like I died or really fell off. (Titmus) just had a faster final 50 or 75 metres and got her hand to the wall first.”

The battle between the 20-year-old Titmus and Ledecky will continue later this week as they both go for gold in the 200m and 800m women’s freestyle events.

Reflecting on her success, Titmus said: “It is the biggest thing you can pull off in your sporting career, so I’m over the moon.

“Honestly, at 200 metres I was a bit worried, but I did not come to the Olympic Games unprepared.

“I had to trust myself and stay as composed as I could. Use the speed that I have. And all that against a woman who has an amazing back end of her race. I’m really proud.

“I’m trying to contain it as much as I can. I have a big programme ahead of me, but I can enjoy this afterwards.”

Tennis

Japanese medal hope Naomi Osaka sailed into the third round of the women’s singles as some of her closest competitors in the women’s singles crumbled under pressure and crashed out of the tournament.

World number three Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus fell to Donna Vekic in a thrilling three-set encounter on Centre Court, with the Croatian prevailing 6-4 3-6 7-6(3).

Sabalenka’s loss came a day after top-ranked Australian Ash Barty stumbled out of the women’s singles event in a lopsided defeat to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Naomi Osaka serves against Viktorija Golubic. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA
Naomi Osaka serves against Viktorija Golubic. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Two-time Wimbledon champion and the Czech Republic’s Olympic flagbearer Petra Kvitova was beaten by Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 5-7 6-3 6-0, while last year’s French Open champion Iga Swiatek also fell 6-3 7-6(4) to Spaniard Paula Badosa.

Osaka, who returned to competition this week after a two-month break, has been in impressive form while embracing her role as one of the host country’s most prominent ambassadors of the Games.

Winning Olympic gold on home soil would be the icing on the cake, though Osaka said she was determined not to look too far ahead.

“Well you know, definitely it would mean a lot for me to win gold here but I know it’s a process,” the world number two said.

“You know, these are the best players in the world and I honestly haven’t played in a while so I’m trying to keep it one match at a time. All in all, I’m just really happy to be here.”

Osaka had not played a match since withdrawing after the first round at the French Open in May, amid controversy over her decision to skip mandatory news conferences during the tournament in a bid to protect her mental health.

The four-time Grand Slam singles champion was relentless in her match against 50th-ranked Swiss Viktorija Golubic, securing the 6-3 6-2 win with a powerful forehand to set up a meeting with Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

Some other title contenders also advanced.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova continued her run of good form, taking out Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-2 6-4, while two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza made short work of China’s Wang Qiang, winning 6-3 6-0.

On the men’s side, fourth seed Alexander Zverev brushed aside Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia 6-2 6-2, while world number two Daniil Medvedev breezed through with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over India’s Sumit Nagal.

The tennis tournament reported its first COVID-19 case among players on Monday after men’s doubles competitor Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands tested positive.

Rojer is the sixth member of the Dutch Olympic delegation to test positive after infections reported by a skateboarder, a taekwondo fighter, and three members of the rowing team, including staff.

Rojer and his partner Wesley Koolhof were placed in isolation, while their second-round opponents from New Zealand received a walkover into the quarter-finals, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.

Skateboarding

Japanese 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya clinched the Olympic title in the women’s street skateboarding competition on Monday, shedding tears of happiness after nailing her final trick and becoming the country’s youngest-ever gold medal winner.

Nishiya came out on top of an unusually young field of competitors, with all three medalists in their teens. Brazilian silver medallist Rayssa Leal is also 13, while bronze medallist Funa Nakayama, also from Japan, is 16.

Her victory brought a skateboarding double for Japan after Yuto Horigome won gold in the men’s street event on Sunday, claiming the first gold medal for the sport in Olympic history.

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