London 2012 Olympics: Day 3 (The Games Update)

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Badminton World number one Lee Chong Wei survived a huge scare before booking his place in the last 16 of the men’s Singles. The top seed was taken to three games by Finn Ville Lang in a late-night thriller at Wembley Arena, but produced a strong finish to prevail 21-8 14-21 21-11.

Lee, who plans to retire after the Games, said: ‘I am only mentally strong because I have had an injury and I am still not 100%. ‘But I had nothing to lose and I just tried my best.’

Ruta Meilutyte has become Olympic Games champion at the age of 15 by claiming Lithuania’s first Swimming medal with victory in the 100m Breaststroke. The teenager made her intentions clear throughout the rounds, setting a new European record in the heats, and was fastest into the final.

Meilutyte led from start to finish and held off a fast-finishing Rebecca Soni, the Beijing silver medallist, to win in 1:05.55.

Yannick Agnel won his second, and France’s third, gold in 24 hours when he led from start to finish to take the 200m Freestyle title in 1:43.14, the fastest ever in a textile suit.

Talking about France’s success in the pool this week, Agnel said ‘We are very pleased because it is a reward for several years of very hard work. It’s pure happiness.’

Beijing silver medallist Park Tae Hwan and 400m Freestyle champion Sun Yang shared second, with world champion Ryan Lochte locked out in fourth.

Teenager Missy Franklin won her first individual medal when she took the 100m Backstroke title in 58.33, with her fellow American Matt Grevers setting a new Olympic record of 52.16 in the men’s equivalent.

Asked about her win, Franklin said ‘It’s incredible. I dreamt about it all my life and I can’t believe it happened at 17 (years old). I cannot put it into words, it’s incredible. I still feel like I am in a dream and someone has to pinch me.’

The USA turned on the style in women’s Volleyball as they scored a comprehensive 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 win over defending champions Brazil.

Chasing what would be a first gold in 10 attempts, Hugh McCutcheon’s side were almost faultless in front of a boisterous crowd, sending out the clearest of signals that 2012 could be their year.

Backed by the support of USA Basketball star Kobe Bryant – off-duty this afternoon – they got to grips with Brazil’s delicate style before blowing them off the court by way of the brilliance at the net of Destinee Hooker and Foluke Akinradewo.

Elsewhere, China beat Turkey 3-1 and there was also success for Host Nation Great Britain, who went beyond midnight to go the distance against Algeria at Earls Court and were rewarded with a first-ever win in Olympic Games competition.

In Rowing, The Australian men’s Four laid down the gauntlet to their British rivals by setting a new Olympic record as they qualified for Thursday’s semi-final.

Australia broke the previous best time by 1.46 seconds as they eased to victory over Germany and Canada, who did enough to book their own passage to the next round.

Great Britain have dominated the men’s Four over the last 12 years, winning gold in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

But the Australian crew, who won last month’s Munich World Cup regatta, are now a real threat.

Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana produced a typically classy performance as Cuba marked their return to the Olympic Boxing ring intent on making up for their intense disappointment in Beijing.

For the first time since 1972, the Cuban boxing team left the Games in the Chinese capital with no gold medals to their name, but the display by 18-year-old Ramirez Carrazana suggests their famed production line is showing no sign of slowing.

The 2010 world youth champion picked apart Japan’s Katsuaki Susa 19-7 to move into the last 16.

Frenchman Nordine Oubaali looked powerful in outclassing Afghanistan’s sole boxing representative Ajmal Faisal 22-9, while Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee – who is next up for the Cuban – impressed beating Turkey’s Selcuk Eker 24-10.

Mongolia’s former world silver medallist Tugstsogt Nyambayar was another potential medal contender at Fly Weight as he dispatched Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamishzada, himself a former world quarter-finalist, 18-11.

Earlier, Ihab Almatbouli made history as Jordan’s first Olympic boxer and marked the occasion by marching into the last 16 of the 81kg division with a powerful 19-7 win over Nigeria’s Lukmon Lawal.

In Table-tennis, World number one Zhang Jike dug deep to reach the men’s Singles quarter-finals, but the day was not so good for Timo Boll or Jun Mizutani.

Zhang was given plenty of problems by the veteran Belarus athlete Vladimir Samsonov and looked in trouble when he fell 3-2 behind.

But the world champion showed real guts in moving through the gears to claim the next two and set up a quarter-final clash with Honk Kong’s Jiang Tianyi. ‘I was prepared for a very tough match,’ admitted Zhang. ‘But I do not think there is anything to improve on; if I carry on playing like this I will win.’

While the rest of the star names were struggling, number two seed Wang Hao – a silver medallist at Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 – was easing to a straight-games win against Singapore’s Gao Ning.

Meanwhile, in the women’s Singles, Japan’s Ai Fukuhara produced a stirring fightback to set up a mouth-watering women’s Singles quarter-final against favourite Ding Ning.

Fukuhara was given a real scare by the Netherlands’ Li Jie, who at one stage held a 3-1 lead at the ExCeL Arena. That, however, sparked Fukuhara into action and, amid some glorious rallies, she found the necessary power to take the next three games 11-5, 11-8 and 11-8 and book a contest with world champion Ding.

Wana

Wana

Quo non Ascendam. Writer.
E-mail: wana@360nobs.com

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