London 2012 Olympics: Day 8 Recap

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SWIMMING: Michael Phelps brought to an end an unparalleled career as he bowed out of the Olympic Games with 18 gold medals and 22 overall, bringing the curtain down on the London 2012 Swimming action at the Aquatics Centre.

The 27-year-old started his Olympic Games career at Sydney 2000, 12 years ago, where he finished fifth in the 200m Butterfly.
Six gold and two bronze medals at Athens 2004 were followed by his historic eight golds at Beijing 2008.

His London 2012 Games adventure did not start off so well with fourth place in the 400m Individual Medley – his worst result since Sydney 2000 – and he was shocked by Chad le Clos in the 200m Butterfly, the South African taking advantage of Phelps’ poor glide into the wall.

However, the Baltimore swimmer won the 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley – where he beat team-mate Ryan Lochte – as well as taking the titles in the 4 x 200m Freestyle and tonight’s Medley Relay and silver in the 4 x 100m Freestyle.

SMS messages and phone calls from the likes of US president Barack Obama followed, and tonight he was presented with a FINA lifetime achievement award by president Julio Maglione inscribed with the words: ‘To Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. From FINA. August 4 2012. London, Great Britain.’

Phelps’ retirement overshadowed the rest of tonight’s programme, in which the USA women set a new world record in their medley race of  3:52.05.

Sun Yang also set a new world record in the 1500m Freestyle, lowering his own mark by more than three seconds to 14:31.02.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo completed the sprint Freestyle double, winning the 50m in an Olympic record of 24.05.

BOXING: Manoj Kumar was defeated in the men’s Light Welter Weight competition on a mixed day of action for India in particular at the ExCeL.

Kumar went down to a 20-16 reverse at the hands of Great Britain’s Thomas Stalker, the world number one in the category.

The defeat came just shortly after compatriot Devendro Singh scored a victory over Beijing 2008 silver medallist Serdamba Purevdorj.

Meanwhile, Alexandar Aleksandrov from Bulgaria upset world number one Shin Jonghun in a closely-fought bout in the men’s Light Fly Weight category.

Though Shin had the lead in the first round, the Bulgarian made a comeback to win with a total of 15-14.

World silver medallist and second seeded Denys Berinchyk from Ukraine scored a win over Swedish fighter Anthony Yigit.

The Swede went down fighting 23-24 to the the Ukrainian who was boosted by vociferous support from his countrymen.

ATHLETICS: Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defended her 100m title in a time of 10.75 on what turned out to be a golden night for Host Nation Great Britain.

World champion Carmelita Jeter of the USA was second in 10.78, with Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown third in 10.81.

Britain, meanwhile, won three gold medals in one Athletics session for the first time in Olympic history as Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah delighted a capacity crowd of 80,000.

Ennis claimed a commanding victory in the Heptathlon, and Rutherford then leapt to victory in the Long Jump.

The 25-year-old’s winning jump of 8.31m came at precisely the same time as Ennis was being introduced to the crowd before her final event, the 800m.

And Farah then rounded off an astonishing evening with a blistering last lap in the 10,000m, completing it in 53 seconds to take gold ahead of training partner Galen Rupp of the USA.

Sandra Perkovic threw a Croatian national record of 69.11m to win the women’s Discus title, while China’s Chen Ding strolled to gold in the men’s 20km Race Walk.

FOOTBALL: The semi-final line-up in the men’s Football competition was confirmed on Day 8 of the Games, but not without plenty of late drama.

Mexico survived a stunning Senegal comeback as they won a Wembley thriller 4-2 after extra-time to reach their first Olympic Games semi-final since 1968.

The Mexicans blew a two-goal lead with just over 20 minutes remaining, but Tottenham’s Giovani dos Santos and substitute Hector Herrera punished extra-time errors to set up a guaranteed medal match.

Mexico will now meet Japan, who maintained their pursuit of double Olympic Games Football gold as the men followed the women into the last four courtesy of a routine 3-0 win over Egypt.

Women’s World Cup holders Japan stunned Brazil yesterday to set up a semi-final clash with France at Wembley on Monday.

Just 24 hours later, the men clinched their own Wembley date, with Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu all on target in their quarter-final clash with 10-man Egypt, who had defender Saadeldin Saad sent off.

Leandro Damiao fired Brazil into the last four as they overcame a major scare against nine-man Honduras to win 3-2.

The Internacional striker cancelled out Mario Martinez’s stunning opener, and after Neymar had done the same from the penalty spot following Roger Espinoza’s equally eye-catching 48th-minute finish, Damiao booked a trip to Old Trafford on Tuesday with his second goal.

In the final game of the night, Great Britain went out in painful fashion as they finished 1-1 with Republic of Korea but then lost a penalty shootout 5-4.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge missed the vital last kick, allowing Celtic’s Ki Sungyueng to send the Koreans into a last four meeting with Brazil.

BASKETBALL: The men’s Basketball competition found a new intensity on Day 8, as the race for the knockout stages stepped up yet another gear.

In the highlight of the day, Russia recovered from a huge early deficit to beat European champions Spain 77-74 and claim top spot in Group B.

In a victory that gives them a potential road to the final without facing the USA, Russia stormed back from a 20-2 Spain lead in the first quarter and a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes to snatch victory.

Elsewhere, two days after their record win, the USA were taken all the way by a spirited Lithuania team, before eventually coming through 99-94.

The USA pulled away in the final two minutes to stay unbeaten at London 2012, but only after being given a huge scare by opponents who looked to be on a mission.

France, meanwhile, booked their place in the quarter-finals as they held off Tunisia 73-69 for their third win in four matches.

The African champions fought hard and threatened a late comeback but had dug themselves into too deep a hole when they fell 20 points behind in the third quarter.

Brazil kept up the fight for the second seed in Group B as they beat China 98-59 to improve to 3-1.

Brazil will take on world number two and European champions Spain, also at 3-1 after today’s loss, on Monday in a head-to-head battle for second place in the group.

Great Britain blew a 15-point lead in a poor second half as they were defeated by Australia, 106-75, while in the final game of the night Argentina made certain of their place in the quarter-finals as they cruised to a straightforward victory over Nigeria.

HANDBALL: The medal contenders made their intentions clear on Day 8 at the Copper Box, with Iceland, Croatia and Spain among the big winners in the men’s competition.

Iceland exacted revenge for their Beijing 2008 final defeat to France with a thrilling 30-29 victory in Group A of the preliminary stage.

With both teams having won their opening three games, this was billed as the group decider and it lived up to the hype in a pulsating clash.

Earlier, Croatia had sent out a strong message by comfortably seeing off gold medal contenders Denmark 32-21.

Both sides had come into the match with 100 per cent records in Group B, but the eastern Europeans, two-time Olympic Games gold medallists, made their move by throwing in five unanswered efforts in the run-up to half-time to take a 14-9 lead at the break – and they never looked back.

Tunisia sent Host Nation Great Britain out of the competition with a 34-17 victory, while Sweden booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 29-13 win over Argentina and Serbia beat Republic of Korea 28-22.

Meanwhile, Spain booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 33-22 victory over Hungary, whose Olympic Games fate will be decided in the final round of preliminary matches.

Hungary, whose top scorer was Laszlo Nagy with seven, had no answer and they will go head-to-head in Sunday’s final Group B game with Serbia to see who advances to the last eight.

Current Top 5.

1. USA. 26G 13S 15B
2. China. 25G 16S 12B
3. Great Britain 17G 7S 8B
4. Korea. 9G 3S 5B
5. France. 8G 6S 8B

Wana

Wana

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

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