© Reuters. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Shooting – Women’s 10m Air Rifle – Medal Ceremony – Asaka Shooting Range, Tokyo, Japan – July 24, 2021. Gold medalist Yang Qian of China celebrates on the podium REUTERS / Ann Wang TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
By Ossian Shine
TOKYO (Reuters) – The sport swept over Tokyo on Saturday when the Olympics finally began, but the shadow of COVID-19 and controversy were never far away on opening day.
China issued an ominous warning as Yang Qian took home the first gold of the Games, the morning after world superstar Japan https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/slimmed-down-ceremony-open-pandemic- hit-tokyo-games -2021-07-23 Tennis player Naomi Osaka had lit the Olympic cauldron to officially open the show delayed by the pandemic.
That moment had capped an opening ceremony devoid of ostentation and staged in an eerily quiet stadium.
But even though the ceremony had been like none before, the first day of sports offered a much more familiar feel.
Despite the absence of spectators, the world’s elite athletes ran, rode, fought and swam as a long-awaited business environment began to build as usual.
The sight of an athlete, eyes shining with joy, would always be welcome for the organizers, and the 21-year-old Chinese shooter Yang https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/shooting-chinas-yang -wins- battle-nerves-claim-tokyos-first-gold-2021-07-24 provided it, maintaining its value in the women’s 10-meter rifle competition to review Anastasiia Galashina.
WRINKLE UNDER PRESSURE
The Russian collapsed under pressure on her last shot, shooting 8.9, by far her worst shot of the day, and the worst score any of the finalists recorded.
“I got too nervous, I endured too much,” she said. “My thoughts were not in the right place. I lost concentration. The explanation is very simple.
“I had mixed feelings, joy and bitterness at the same time. But now I am happy. I made a mistake. Nothing important. It will allow me to learn something, it is a lesson for the future.”
Yang was delighted and hinted at her main motivation: “It is the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party,” she said. “I am very happy that this gold medal is a gift to my country. I am very proud.”
Later in the shootout, Jin Jong-oh missed his goal of a record-setting fifth individual Olympic gold as the South Korean failed to qualify for the men’s 10-meter pistol final.
With 11 gold medals up for grabs on day one, organizers hope the sport can distract from the stream of embarrassing mistakes and COVID-19 issues that have marked the event, postponed for a year.
But the global pandemic could not be ignored, as organizers said one more athlete had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of disclosed cases to 123.
Later, two American archers said they were free to choose whether or not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/olympics-archery-unvaccinated-us-archers-say-covid- shot -personal-choice-2021-07-24, after a US Olympic swimming gold medalist prospect who had rejected the vaccine was widely criticized on social media.
“It is one hundred percent a personal choice, and anyone who says otherwise is taking away people’s freedoms,” said Brady Ellison, the world’s number one and one of the highest medal hopefuls in Olympic archery, of the competition guidelines.
Organizers are also preparing for a typhoon, having rescheduled Monday’s rowing competitions to integrate into the Saturday and Sunday schedule.
But while the rowers look anxiously at the sky, the surfers, who start their competitions on Sunday, should benefit from a bigger swell.
At 12, Syrian Hend Zaza is the youngest athlete competing in Tokyo, but her table tennis tournament ended in an instant when she lost to Austrian Liu Jia, before taking a selfie https: //www.reuters .com / lifestyle / sports / table-tennis-syria-12-years-of-games-from-tokyo-the-youngest-competitor-leaves-first-2021-07-24 with her conqueror.
Liu, who has a 10-year-old daughter, had had trouble sleeping on the eve of the event.
“Yesterday I asked my daughter: ‘Do you know that your mother is playing against someone two years older than you?’ His first response was, “Then you better not lose!” I said ‘Don’t push me!’ “
The 3×3 basketball tournament made its debut and the hosts were well beaten by the Russians in the first women’s match.
“From the streets to the Olympics” is the slogan of the event, pronounced three-ex-three, as basketball seeks to increase its global appeal.
All eyes will be on Tadej Pogacar later on as the 22-year-old Slovenian tries to win Olympic gold en route less than a week after claiming his second consecutive Tour de France title.