London 2012 Olympics: Day 11 Recap

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BASKETBALL: It was another memorable day at the Basketball Arena as the semi-final line-up for the women’s competition was finalised.

Lauren Jackson broke the all-time Olympic scoring record as Australia overcame China 75-60 to reach the last four.

Jackson, playing in her fourth Games, finished with 12 points, and her final lay-up in the fourth quarter was enough to edge her ahead of Janeth Arcain with 536 points in Games competition.

Australia will next face the USA, who ran out 91-48 winners against Canada and remain on track for a record fifth straight Olympic gold medal.

They recorded their 39th straight Olympic win in emphatic style against their North American neighbours.

Russia held off Turkey 66-63 in a dramatic finish to seal a semi-final place as Birsel Vardarli came up empty with a three-point attempt on the buzzer.

France stormed back from a 13-point deficit late on to stun their opponents, Celine Dumerc leading the way with 23 points and six assists, while Endine Miyem added 14 points.

VOLLEYBALL: Defending champions Brazil kept up their defence of the women’s Volleyball title on Day 11, but they will face a stern challenge in the last four after the semi-final line-up was decided.

Not for the first time in this tournament the Beijing 2008 gold medallists had to dig deep to make it through as they knocked Russia out 3-2 at the quarter-final stage.

The two rivals battled it out over five amazing sets, with the South Americans the ones to hold their nerve.

It was some achievement to do so too, with Russia, previously unbeaten in 2012, failing to take six match points in the face of some incredible fifth-set defence from Brazil.

In libero Fabiana they had an edge and, thanks to the great work of her and her defensive colleagues, they were eventually able to progress.

The South Americans will now face Japan, who held their nerve in a five-set thriller with China to book their place in a sixth Olympic Games Volleyball semi-final.

The 28-26, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 18-16 battle lasted two hours and 15 minutes and when it eventually ended, the outpouring of emotion from both sides could not have been more contrasting.

Japan’s players raced onto the court, jumping on each other, while China – the Athens 2004 winners – saw players slump to the floor, some of them in tears.

The statistics for both sides could hardly have been tighter. They won three points each on serve and 82 on spike, with Japan blocking 11 times and China 10. The latter made one unforced error more.

Yukiko Ebata and Saori Kimura equally shared 66 points for Japan, while for China Ruoqi Hui scored 26 and the incredible Yimei Wang set aside her injury worries to register 22.

In the other half of the draw, the USA continued to march towards the final after a straightforward victory over the Dominican Republic.

Foluke Akinradewo, Jordan Larson and Destinee Hooker contributed a combined tally of 42 points as the USA moved through, all though they were pushed by the battling Dominicans.

They were on the brink of victory for a considerable period of time in the third set but some wonderful resilience from the Dominicans kept them hanging on.

Up next for the USA is a meeting with the Republic of Korea, who ended the possibility of there being any European involvement in the semi-finals by seeing off Italy in four sets.

Inspired by the faultless Kim Yeon-koung, who ended the night with 28 points, the Asian side had too much for Massimo Barbolini‘s women, proving too quick to handle over the course of 105 brilliant minutes.

HOCKEY: Australia sent out a warning to their rivals in the men’s Hockey competition on Day 11, while Great Britain held on to make it through to the semi-finals.

The Australians re-established their reputation as the team to fear with a comprehensive 7-0 victory over Pakistan to confirm their place in the semi-finals as Group A winners.

For the third time in five matches, the Kookaburras scored five or more in a match – hitting seven for a second time – to finish with 23 goals to their tally.

Not content with having the best attacking record in the tournament, they also are the strongest defensively, having let in just five goals, which all came as they conceded leads to draw with Argentina and Great Britain.

Australia will now play Germany, the runners-up from Group B, who signed off their preliminary campaign with a thrilling 5-5 draw against New Zealand.

The Black Sticks raced into a 5-2 half-time lead with two goals from Simon Child and one each for Nick Wilson, Richard Petherick, Stephen Jenness, with Osckar Deecke and Florian Fuchs briefly making it 2-1 and then 3-2.

Goals continued to flow after the break but all went in Germany’s favour with two for Christopher Zeller and one for Thilo Stralkowski to level things up in the tournament’s highest-scoring match.

Earlier in the day,  the Netherlands finished their Group B campaign with a 100 per cent record after a fifth successive victory, 4-2 against the Republic of Korea.

Argentina ensured they avoided the last-place play-off as they came from behind to win 6-3 against South Africa, while eight-time Olympic champions India’s poor run continued as they were beaten 3-0 by Belgium.

In the evening, there was another thrilling encounter at the Riverbank Arena involving the Host Nation, as  Great Britain survived a tense finish to hold out for a 1-1 draw with Spain.

The result meant they secured the point they needed to finish second in Group A and now go on to meet the Netherlands in the last four.

BOXING: Michael Conlan said some timely words of advice from Head Coach Billy Walsh drove him on to pull away in the final round and beat Frenchman Nordine Oubaali to guarantee a third Olympic Boxing medal for Ireland on an action-packed Day 11 in the ring.

The 20-year-old Belfast man struggled to assert himself early against his more powerful opponent, but he turned on the style after heading into the final round of their Fly Weight bout to claim a 22-18 victory.

Conlan, who joins team-mates John Joe Nevin and Katie Taylor in their respective semi-finals with fellow Irishman Paddy Barnes still to come, said: ‘My coach told me to put the boot in because I was a bit too quiet.

A fine finish from the Irishman, in which he landed with both left and right hooks, helped him to victory.

Conlan will face Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana, in the semi-finals while the second semi-final will see Russian world champion Misha Aloian take on Tugstsogt Nyambayar of Mongolia.

Aloian produced a superb performance of amateur Boxing skills to see off teenage Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron 23-13, while the Mongolian came on strong in the last round to defeat Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov.

There was drama in the men’s Welter Weight division when Frenchman Alexis Vastine was handed a two-point penalty in his bout with Ukraine’s world number one Taras Shelestyuk, and was beaten on countback after an 18-18 draw, although he later appealed.

Custio Clayton lost on a countback to Great Britain’s Fred Evans, also appealing the decision, while the USA’s Errol Spence was sent out 16-11 to Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy.

That means the USA men’s Boxing team will fail to win a medal for the first time in Olympic Games history.

HANDBALL: Katarina Bulatovic scored a penalty with the last throw of the game as Montenegro edged out France 23-22 in the quarter-finals of the women’s Handball tournament on another thrilling night of action.

With the scores tied at 22-22 and the full-time hooter having already sounded following a foul on Madja Mehmedovic, Bulatovic stepped up and coolly threw home to spark mass scenes of celebration.

It was a fitting end to 11 days of epic Handball at the Copper Box before tomorrow’s move to the Basketball Arena, and earns the eastern Europeans a last-four tie with Spain.

Their opponents in the last four, Spain, overcame Croatia 25-22 in their quarter-final.

Reigning Olympic champions Norway also made it through to the semis after a 21-19 success against Brazil.

Shortly after the start of the second half, it looked as if the Scandinavians’ defence of the title they won in Beijing four years ago was fizzling out as they trailed by five goals.

But a fine comeback, inspired by two separate four-goal salvos, won them the match and a place in the last four against Republic of Korea, 24-23 winners over Russia.

It was a deserved success for Korea as they held the lead from the 10th minute.

CURRENT MEDAL TABLE:

1. China. 34G 21S 18B
2. USA. 30G 19S 21B
3. Great Britain. 22G 13S 13B
4. Korea. 12G 5S 6B
5. Russia. 10G 18S 20B

Wana

Wana

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

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