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2020 Olympics action starts Wednesday, with 3 softball and 6 football games

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By Gistflash News

July 20, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics start in earnest on Wednesday, two days before Friday’s opening ceremony, and it can possibly see some first athletes enjoying more freedom in expressing themselves.

Three softball and six women’s football matches are scheduled for Wednesday.

A softball date between hosts Japan and Australia starts the Games at 9 a.m (0000 GMT) in Fukushima.

This is the city hit hard by the tsunami-caused meltdown at the nuclear power station in 2011.

Also in action is the U.S women’s football team who as world champions seek revenge against Sweden against whom they lost in the 2016 quarter-finals.

The American women were on the forefront of a fight against racial injustice when they took a knee during national anthems before games, but they have given it up since February.

The gesture, and others, are now possible for the first time at the Olympics.

This is because a revision of the rule 50 of the Olympic Charter allows athletes to express themselves ahead of their competitions, in social media and in interviews.

“When expressing their views, athletes are expected to respect the applicable laws, the Olympic values and their fellow athletes,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said earlier this month.

Protests remain forbidden during ceremonies, including victory ceremonies and in the Olympic village, and offenders face sanctions right up to exclusion from the Games.

This means that, for instance, a raised fist protest on the podium like at the 200m medal ceremony in 1968 from Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos remains outlawed.

“I hope the athletes will respect each other,” IOC athletes commission chair Kirsty Coventry told reporters on Tuesday.

dpa/NAN

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Debutant Omotayo says he struggled with ambience of Tokyo Olympics

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By Gistflash News

July 29, 2021

Olajide Omotayo, one of Team Nigeria’s table tennis stars, on Wednesday said he struggled with the ambience of the Tokyo Olympics in his first game against Tiago Apolonia of Portugal.

Omotayo, who is participating in his first Olympics, lost 0-4 to the Portuguese in the first round of the men’s singles event of the competition last Saturday.

Speaking from Tokyo, the 26-year-old told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) he started the game well but struggled to control his emotions later.

“I started very good but later I found myself crying.

“ It is probably because this is my first Olympics and the feeling was too much for me to handle. I couldn’t get over it until the third set and it affected my performance.

“Probably, the next Olympics won’t be like this,’’ he assured.

The table tennis player also said he was looking forward to attending more tournaments ahead of Paris 2024.

He also said he is hopeful that seven-time Olympian Segun Toriola would be part of his coaching team.

“I am sure he can help me train better ahead of future events.”

NAN

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Ogunbanwo wins women’s 100m freestyle heat at Tokyo Olympics

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By Gistflash News

July 28, 2021

Abiola Ogunbanwo stunned the pool on Wednesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre to win heat 1 of the women’s 100 metres freestyle event of the 2020 Olympic Games’ swimming competition.

Running from lane 3 in the four-competitor heat, Ogunbanwo emerged st the finish lane after 59.74 seconds to qualify for the event’s semi-finals.

The 17-year-old who is based in Australia finished 0.27 seconds ahead of Andela Antunovic of Montenegro to win the race.

Antunovic placed second with 1:00.01, while Gaurika Singh of Nepal was third in 1:00.11.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogunbanwo’s time is good enough for her to advance as the best 16 swimmers from the seven heats are expected to qualify.

NAN

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Aruna crashes out after first game at Tokyo Olympics

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By Gistflash News

July 27, 2021

Africa’s highest-ranked player Quadri Aruna on Tuesday crashed out of the men’s singles event of the table tennis competition at the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Aruna who reached the quarter-finals of the event at the Rio Games in 2016 could not go far this time around as he lost 2-4 in the third round.

He lost to Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 15-13 9-11 6-11 11-7 7-11 6-11.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his exit has brought a sad end to Team Nigeria’s campaign in the sport at this Games.

His three teammates in the sport —— Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem, Olajide Omotayo —- have all been eliminated.

Nigeria did not qualify for the doubles events.

NAN

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