Tokyo 2020: France wins judo gold medal; ROC takes gold in sabre

France claimed the judo gold medal in the mixed team event, Russia's women fencers won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the team sabre event and Belarusian Ivan Litvinovich won gold in the men's trampoline.

Team France celebrates after winning gold in mixed event.   -  REUTERS

France claimed the judo gold medal in the first mixed team event ever held in the Games on Saturday, beating Japan 4-1 in the final and helping its heavyweight legend Teddy Riner add to his collection of Olympic medals.

With Saturday's win, Riner, 32, now has a tally of three golds and two bronze medals from his Olympics appearances.

READ | Tokyo Olympics Medals Table: China tops list, India at 60th courtesy Mirabai’s silver

The success helped to make up for his shock loss in Friday's quarterfinals in the men's +100kg individual contest against Tamerlan Bashaev of the Russian Olympic Committee. The Frenchman had to settle for the bronze medal.

"It's my third Olympic gold medal, my fifth medal at an Olympics. I think this is very, very... important to win here in the country of judo during the Olympic Games in Tokyo at the Budokan. It's just amazing," Riner told reporters.

"This is a dream, we win the final (against the) Japanese team. Wow."

While Japan picked up the silver, the two bronze medals were awarded to Germany and Israel.

Overall, Japan has won nine golds, including two silver and a bronze in the judo in Tokyo - a record haul since it became an Olympic event for men in 1964 and for women in 1992.

Russians win gold in women's team sabre

Russia's women fencers won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the team sabre event on Saturday, beating France 45-41 in a tense final.

France refused to hand an easy win to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), at times closing the gap rapidly as the two teams chased each other across the piste, swiping and jabbing.

In the last bout, France's Cecilia Berder won three points in rapid succession with ROC one point away from victory. But it was Russian Olga Nikitina who scored the last point, prompting her team mates to run onto the piste, piling on top of her and screaming with joy.

The top-ranked ROC team counts individual silver medallist and four-time Olympian Sofya Velikaya, as well as gold medallist Sofia Pozdniakova among its members.

"They are (the) future stars and future of fencing," Velikaya said of her more junior team mates with the gold medal hanging from her neck.

She added that the new generation of fencers had a grit and faith that she had not seen before, making them capable of doing "what they want, for (the) team and for victory."

While France lost out on a gold medal, the silver marks the first ever medal in the women's sabre team event in French fencing history.

"It’s just magic," France's Charlotte Lembach said of the landmark medal. "They won the match… but next time it will be us," she added, setting her sights on Paris 2024.

South Korea won the bronze medal bout against Italy, placing third.

Belarusian Litvinovich wins men's trampoline gold

Belarusian Ivan Litvinovich won gold in the men's trampoline on Saturday, with China's Dong Dong taking silver.

Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand won bronze.

An admitted adrenaline junkie Schmidt said he gave up skateboarding and BMX for the high of trampoline and got the ultimate rush on Saturday winning New Zealand's first ever Olympic medal in the event with a bronze at the Tokyo Games.

The dangers of high-flying acrobatics sports like the trampoline, where athletes launch themselves 10 metres into the air then twist themselves into knots performing 10 tricks in 25 seconds, are clear and brought into sharp focus at the Tokyo Games by Simone Biles's struggles with the "twisties".

Getting the "twisties", or disorientation while in the air, might not just cost you a medal but cost you your life.

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