Athletics in Tokyo Olympics: Parchment shocks Holloway, strikes gold

Crouser, Warner break Olympic records; Indian walkers too slow.

Hansle Parchment of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold.   -  REUTERS

Grant Holloway came very close to toppling the world record at the recent US trials and he appeared very confident as the 110m hurdlers lined up for the final at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

The the World champion, the only man to go under 13s this year, had a healthy lead at the halfway stage too but landed hard after the eighth barrier and lost his rhythm. Seizing the opportunity, Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment came through strongly to win the gold in a season-best 13.04s and pull off one of the biggest shocks in athletics at Tokyo. Holloway's silver came 13.09.

“It’s unbelievable that I caught this guy (Holloway). I’m really grateful.” said Parchment.

Meanwhile, Steven Gardiner ran a smart race to take the 400m gold in 43.85s and became the first man from the Bahamas to win an individual Olympic gold in any sport. And in a repeat of the 2019 Doha Worlds, Colombia's Anthony Zambrano was second in 44.08.

READ| Tokyo Olympics Athletics: Belgium's Thiam retains heptathlon title

American Ryan Crouser produced the greatest series in shot put history as he defended his title with a 23.30m best which was very close to his world record (23.37m). All his throws either equalled or bettered the Olympic record of 22.54m while his compatriot Joe Kovacs won the silver with 22.65m.

Also breaking the Olympic record was Canadian Damian Warner who became the fourth man in history to break 9000 points in decathlon while winning the gold with 9018 points. Kevin Mayer, the world record holder from France, was second 8726.

And Belgian Nafissatou Thiam, a two-time World champion, became the second woman in history to win back-to-back Olympic heptathlon titles – after Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988 and 1992) – with 6791 points.

Portugal's Pedro Pablo Pichardo was in a world of his own in the triple jump. All his jumps easily beat the rest of the field and his gold came with 17.98m with China's Yaming Zhu taking a surprise silver in 17.57.

Nageotte bounces back

While Pichardo was very steady, American Kate Nageotte was very shaky. She missed the opening height, 4.50m, twice but bounced back to win the pole vault title with 4.90m pushing World champion Anzhelika Sidorova to silver.

Nothing was expected of the three Indians in the 20km race walk, they had not been in good form this year, and while Sandeep Kumar – the national record holder with 1:20.16s – finished 23 in 1:25.07, Rahul Rohilla (1:32.06) and K.T. Irfan (1:34.41) took the 47 and 51

Italy's Massimo Stano staved off a strong challenge from Japanese favourites Koki Ikeda and Toshikazu Yamanishi to take the title in 1:21.05s in Sapporo.

The World champion USA, home to six of world's 10 fastest men this year, finished sixth in its 4x100m relay heats and failed to qualify for the final. Jamaica was the fastest overall going into the final while China, surprisingly, was second.

Indian race walkers Gurpreet Singh (men's 50km) and Priyanka and Bhawna Jat (women's 20km) and the men's 4x400m relay team will be in action on Friday.

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