Kohei Uchimura offered a reminder of the skillset that has brought him three Olympic gold medals before the unimaginable happened, delivering a major jolt to hosts Japan.

The veteran national sporting hero only entered the horizontal bar event at Tokyo 2020 and hoped to sign off his Games career with a golden flourish.

But on the first full day of competition at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Uchimura lost his grip after a mesmerising start to his routine, and fell down onto the crash mat.

His hopes not only of gold, but of a medal of any colour, were over. Uchimura was also certain to miss out on the final, and must have known that as he climbed back onto the bar, performing and dismounting flawlessly second time around.

Uchimura won all-around gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, also taking team gold in Brazil five years ago. He also won two silver medals both in Beijing and London.

This time, his score of 13.866 put Uchimura way out of contention, and the 32-year-old accepted his fate.

"I couldn't perform what I have practised," he said. "That's how I simply think. In the last three Olympic Games I could perform what I practised. But I couldn't do that at these Olympics.

"I hit my peak already. It has been so tough to get selected as a national team member. That itself was already really tough. So maybe that's why."

Asked whether that would be his swansong, Uchimura asked for time to consider his future. Retirement is certainly an option.

"Let me think about it when I go back to the accommodation," he said. "But I have experienced the bottom of the bottom when I wasn't doing well. So I am not as disappointed as I expected."

Uchimura's exit was a blow to the Japan team, but there may be many highs still to come in the gymnastics arena.

That was Uchimura's view, after he took time to observe and was struck by the reality that Japanese gymnastics is moving into a new era, beyond his time as talisman.

"They are a really strong team," he said. "After I finished the horizontal bar and came back to the arena to watch, I saw them sorting out their problems on their own. I felt I wasn't needed anymore."

Iga Swiatek says adjusting to the tricky Tokyo conditions will be key to winning gold after she came through her Olympics opener on Saturday.

The Polish athlete was the highest-ranked seed in action in the women's singles in the Japanese capital and comfortably dispatched of Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2.

World number one Ash Barty gets her individual campaign underway on Sunday but the Wimbledon champion was a doubles victor on the first day of action on the tennis courts.

SWIATEK OUT TO ADJUST

Swiatek was on court for a little over an hour, breaking serve six times and firing down 13 winners to Barthel's eight.

The tough hot and humid conditions were a big talking point at Ariake Tennis Centre on Saturday, and Swiatek – whose father represented Poland as a rower at the 1988 Olympics – had her say.

"I'm pretty happy that I'm into the second round and for sure not only the temperature was hard, but also the sun because on one side it was pretty hard to serve," she said. 

"But we had to adjust quickly and change our toss, so that was hard, but you know I would say the players who can adjust quicker are going to be the best ones here."

KREJCIKOVA BENEFITS FROM DIYAS RETIREMENT

Eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova was 5-2 up against Zarina Diyas before her opponent had to withdraw with an ankle problem.

The Czech now meets Leylah Annie Fernandez in the second round. Fellow seeds Belinda Bencic (9), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (13), Maria Sakkari (14) and Elena Rybakina (15) all made it through round one.

But Kiki Bertens, the 16th seed, was sent packing 6-4 3-6 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova.

BARTY REVELS IN TEAMING UP WITH CHILDHOOD FRIEND

Barty is fresh off her triumph at SW19 earlier this month, and the amiable Aussie started her Olympics adventure alongside long-time friend Storm Sanders.

The sixth feeds hammered home pair Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-1 6-2.

"Playing with my childhood friend in what is a dream for both of us is really cool. And to be here in some of the most unique circumstances I think ever for an Olympic Games, it's really awesome for us," Barty said.

"We're very grateful and thankful that we're able to be here to play and to experience what is really cool Games."

Daniil Medvedev says it is a "joke" that players do not have longer at changeovers but will not "cry about the heat" after coming through his Tokyo 2020 opener, while Novak Djokovic started at a canter as he looks to add the next step of a Golden Slam.

Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Medvedev appeared fatigued at times in his 6-4 7-6 (10-8) triumph over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The conditions in the Japanese capital were sweltering on Saturday but Novak Djokovic was able to keep his cool in coasting to a 6-2 6-2 win against Hugo Dellien.

MEDVEDEV CALLS FOR MORE TIME

Medvedev, who saved three of four break points and now has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Bublik, was pretty pointed about what he feels should be done about the heat.

"Like they do in Mexico, the matches maybe should start at six (pm) because the heat actually gets much, much lighter. We all try to practise at six," said Olympics debutant Medvedev, who next plays Sumit Nagal.

"The fact that we have only one minute between changeovers is a joke. If you ask, let's say 200 tennis players that are here, I think 195 will tell you that one minute is a joke. It should be 1:30.

"But you have to play, that's the Olympics, you go for the medal. You're not here to cry about the heat. It was really tough for both of us. We talked about this after the match on the court. It was unbelievably hot. But you need to get through it."

Fellow Russian athlete Aslan Karatsev (11) defeated Tommy Paul 6-3 6-2 to set up a meeting with Jeremy Chardy, while Lorenzo Sonego (13), Ugo Humbert (14), Fabio Fognini (15) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (16) all progressed.

 

DJOKOVIC UP AND RUNNING

Since winning bronze in Beijing 13 years ago, Djokovic has not had the best of luck at the Olympics – losing in 2012 and 2016 to Juan Martin del Potro on both occasions.

But with a host of big hitters from the ATP absent – including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite in Tokyo.

Only Steffi Graf in 1988 from either the WTA or ATP Tour has ever completed a sweep of all four slams and an Olympic gold in a calendar year, and Djokovic needs Olympic gold and victory at the US Open to match the feat.

He needed just 61 minutes here to beat Dellien of Bolivia.

MURRAY SCORES UPSET DOUBLES WIN

Andy Murray is the two-time defending men's singles champion in Tokyo, but struggles with injuries mean it would take a herculean effort to make it three in a row.

But he is also representing Great Britain in the doubles and together with Joe Salisbury upset French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3 6-2 in their first time competing with one another.

Murray is not looking too far ahead, though, saying: "You take one match at a time, you know, so a lot of the players here are really motivated to play for their country. 

"This is such a rare opportunity for all of us and I think we all want to do well. So, yeah, just take it one match at a time."

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz powered away to Olympic gold medal glory in the Tokyo 2020 men's road race.

After finishing third in the general classification at the Tour de France, Carapaz produced a stunning ride just six days later in Japan

He crossed the line one minute and seven seconds clear of a distant chasing pack.

Silver in a sprint finish was secured by Belgium's Wout Van Aert and, barely the width of a tyre further back, bronze went to Slovenia's Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.

Carapaz, 28, adds the Olympic title to his 2019 Giro d'Italia triumph, and he slapped his handlebar, punched the air and clapped himself as he crossed the line.

The 234-kilometre race took in the lower slopes of Mount Fuji and a daunting ascent of Mikuni Pass that featured an average gradient of 10.6 per cent and sections that topped 20 per cent.

The riders finished on the Fuji International Speedway, in front of a crowd – being outside Tokyo, a limited number of spectators were allowed to watch the action.

Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas was involved in an early crash with Great Britain team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart and subsequently abandoned the race.

Thomas later tweeted: "Think I must have done something bad in a previous life... Freak crash, Tao lost his front wheel and decked it in front of me. I had nowhere to go, other than the floor as well."

The Netherlands' Bauke Mollema was edged out of the medals in the sprint, finishing fourth, with fifth going to Canada's Michael Woods and sixth to American Brandon McNulty, who had joined Carapaz in a two-man break in the closing stages, only to drop off the champion's pace.

Japanese gymnastics great Kohei Uchimura dramatically tumbled out of Tokyo 2020 when he fell during qualifying for the horizontal bar final.

The home hope was bidding to add to his three Olympic gold medals but lost his grip during an elaborate part of his routine and slumped to the crash mat.

It meant his chances were over, despite Uchimura being able to get back on the apparatus, and the outcome left hosts Japan stunned. A sporting hero in his homeland, news of Uchimura's exit was instantly a top national news story.

Uchimura won all-around gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, also taking team gold in Brazil five years ago, but his only event for the Tokyo Games was the horizontal bar.

His score of 13.866 put Uchimura well down on the scoreboard, in a lowly 18th place during the qualifying session, with only the top eight going through to the final.

The 32-year-old Uchimura has won seven Olympic medals in all, picking up four silvers to go with his gold haul, claiming two of those at Beijing in 2008 and two four years later in London.

Algerian Fethi Nourine has been suspended by the International Judo Federation and will be ordered to leave Tokyo after withdrawing from the Olympics to avoid a potential meeting with an Israeli competitor.

Nourine, 30, was scheduled to take on Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool in the 73kg division on Monday, ahead of a possible clash with Israel's Tohar Butbul.

Speaking to Algerian media before his suspension was announced, Nourine said he refused to "get his hands dirty", with his political support for the Palestinian cause triggering the decision to pull out of Tokyo 2020.

Nourine also withdrew from the 2019 world championships after being paired with Butbul, and he will be sent home from the Olympics after refusing to compete.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) said Nourine and his coach Amar Benikhlef had both received a temporary suspension, with a disciplinary commission to further examine the case and consider possible further punishments.

"The IJF launched the investigation and notified the Algerian Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee," the IJF said in a statement.

"Responding to the information, the Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew both the athlete and coach accreditation and plans to send them home, applying sanctions accordingly.

"These actions were taken based on the official recorded declarations of both Fethi Nourine and Amar Benikhlef, that were published in the media and that are in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo."

"According to the IJF rules, in line with the Olympic charter and especially with rule 50.2 that provides for the protection of the neutrality of sport at the Olympic Games and the neutrality of the Games themselves, which states that 'no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas', Fethi Nourine and Amar Benikhlef are now suspended and will face a decision by the IJF disciplinary commission, as well as disciplinary sanctions by the national Olympic committee of Algeria back in their country.

"Judo sport is based on a strong moral code, including respect and friendship, to foster solidarity and we will not tolerate any discrimination, as it goes against the core values and principles of our sport."

Nina Christen of Switzerland finished 16th in the 10-metre air rifle at the Rio Olympics, but she became a footnote to history five years later as the first athlete to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.

The 27-year-old locked up the bronze medal several minutes before China's Yang Qian beat Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee to take gold in the first medal event of the Games.

As soon as she was eliminated from contention for the final two, Christen flashed a smile and waved, knowing she had at least won a spot on the podium this time – no small feat on this stage.

After the first medal ceremony of the Tokyo Games, she spoke about the pressure as the competition entered the final rounds.

"You just try to not reach your head out for the medal before you have the medal," Christen said. "That is the worst thing you could do. Having in your mind, 'Oh I could win a medal, or I could be eighth which would be a failure'.

"So you just try not to think about both of them, you just try and think about what your job is like breathing, holding, aiming, balance, triggering, and then follow through.

"It helps to not think about what is behind you and obviously there are a lot of cameras and a lot of people. And it would be even more if COVID would not have hit. So yeah that is the thing you have to do, otherwise you would just crack."

 

Sixth seed Swiatek rolls in tennis opener

Two seeded players enjoyed easy victories in the women's singles draw as play began at the Ariake Tennis Park.

Sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the 2020 French Open champion, cruised past Germany's Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 to open her first Olympics.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 11th seed representing the Russian Olympic Committee, had an even easier time in a 6-0 6-1 rout of Italy's Sara Errani.

Pavlyuchenkova will face Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam, who upset Great Britain's Heather Watson 7-6 6-3 in another early match.

In doubles, there was an eye-catching result for Britain's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who took out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory.

 

Men's gymnastics gets under way

Nikita Nagornyy turned in the strongest showing in the opening group as men's gymnastics got under way.

Nagornyy, who won the all-around at the 2019 World Championships and was part of Russia's silver medal-winning team at Rio 2016, posted an 87.897 to lead subdivision one, which included gymnasts from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), China, Ukraine and Spain along with individuals from other nations.

But his showing was not enough to put the Russians on top, as China earned the top score in the group with a 262.061 to the ROC's 261.945. The top eight ranked teams qualify for the team final, with two subdivisions still to compete Saturday.

"I don't think our team was really good today, but we made our best effort," Nagronyy said. "We have a lot to do."

 

Brazilians start strongly on the beach

Brazil's two returning beach volleyball medallists are off to a strong start five years later.

Alison Cerutti won gold in Rio and is teamed with new partner Alvaro Morais Filho for Tokyo. They won their opening match 2-0 against Argentina's Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad.

On the women's side, Rio silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk, also with a new partner in Eduarda Santos Lisboa, won by the same score against Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.

While she was happy to advance, Agatha found the difference between Rio's raucous crowds and Tokyo's COVID-driven quiet jarring.

"It's so different. In Brazil we have the biggest support there. Many, many people cheering for us, and here, it's silence," she said.

"Here we need to put our emotion (aside) because we don't receive the emotion from the people. For me, this is very important because I like to play with emotions."

Hend Zaza's Tokyo 2020 adventure came to a quick end but the youngest Olympian in almost 30 years told youngsters around the world to "fight for your dreams".

Aged only 12 years and 204 days old, Zaza – who was Syria's flagbearer at Friday's opening ceremony – is the youngest competitor at a Games since 11-year-old Carlos Front and and 12-year-old Judit Kiss competed in rowing and swimming for Spain and Hungary respectively in 1992.

Zaza's story is an inspiring one. Her home city of Hama was destroyed by war and finding facilities in which to train can often be a challenge.

She was beaten 11-4 11-9 11-3 11-5 by 39-year-old Austrian Jia Liu, appearing at her sixth Games – three of which in 2000, 2004 and 2008 Zaza was not even born – in Saturday's preliminary round.

"For the last five years I've been through many different experiences, especially when there was the war happening around the country, with the postponement with funding for the Olympics, and it was very tough," Zaza said.

"But I had to fight for it and this is my message to everyone who wishes to have the same situation. Fight for your dreams, try hard, regardless of the difficulties that you're having, and you will reach your goal."

Zaza conceded the excitement of Friday's ceremony coupled with the effects of jet lag may have been contributing factors in her defeat.

"Yesterday we had to start our journey to the Olympic opening ceremony at six o'clock, which is quite early, standing there, or preparing, till 11 or after 11, which is quite a long time," she added. 

"Getting ready for the morning session, plus the jet lag, which is seven hours difference from Syria, both are definitely factors that put me out of my comfort zone."

Opponent Liu revealed how she had some pressure at home from her daughter, explaining: "Everybody knows that losing to someone so young can be a bit embarrassing. 

"Yesterday I asked my daughter, 'do you know your mother is playing against someone two years older than you?' 

"Her first response was 'then you better not lose!' I said 'don't give me pressure!' I did tell the media though that if I did lose I would jump off my balcony. So my daughter said 'if you really lose, please don't jump. You've got to come home.'"

Liu also spoke of her admiration for her young opponent.

"There's sport and there's life. There are people who have to endure difficulties," she added.

"They are amazing, it hasn't been easy for them. She's a girl, too – to be in an Olympics at 12, in my heart I really admire her."

Organisers of the troubled Tokyo Olympics are facing a new headache with the prospect of an incoming typhoon early in the Games.

Monday's rowing events have already been moved to Sunday, to guard against the possibility of the powerful storm hitting Japan's capital.

Masa Takaya, spokesperson for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, addressed the threat posed by the tropical cyclone after it was confirmed there was "adverse weather" expected on Monday.

He said the issue had been "discussed in crisis management", with the typhoon currently off shore but heading in the general direction of Tokyo, according to some forecasts.

"Unlike an earthquake, we are able to predict the path of a typhoon, therefore we can prepare in advance," Takaya added.

"Especially when it comes to rowing, as a preventative measure we have decided to change the schedule.

"For the athlete we understand it is going to be a substantial burden; however, this is a case that has been experienced in past Olympics Games as well.

"But of course we are looking very closely at the path of the typhoon to ensure there are decisions made as a preventive measure."

Already delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking place largely behind closed doors, the Tokyo Games got under way in unprecedented circumstances.

A major storm, particularly one that might cause damage and even a threat to human life, would be another daunting hurdle that organisers would need to be ready for.

Sailing and surfing are among other sports on Monday's schedule.

Takaya added: "Should a typhoon make landfall there could be damages both human and also physical damages. When that should be the case, we would take responsible measures.

"As to what will happen in the days ahead, we are not able to accurately predict. At this point, I will not be able to inform you exactly as to what [action] precisely will be taken."

Yang Qian is the first gold medallist at Tokyo 2020. 

The Chinese shooter won the women's 10-metre air rifle despite saving her worst shot of the competition for last. 

The 21-year-old trailed Anastasiia Galashina, competing for the Russian Olympic Committee, by 0.2 points entering the final shot at the Asaka Shooting Range, but Galashina missed badly, scoring 8.9. 

Yang had scored at least 10 points on every shot up to her last, but her 9.8 was still enough to take gold with an Olympic record 251.8 as Galashina finished with 251.1. 

Nina Christen of Switzerland took bronze with a final score of 230.6.

Naomi Osaka will make her playing entry to the Olympic Games a day later than expected after her first-round tennis match was put back to Sunday.

Japan's big hope for gold will play China's Zheng Saisai in her opener at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The match was billed to be first on the centre court at 11:00 local time on Saturday, only for Games organisers to announce it has been moved back by a day.

The move came amid mounting expectation that Osaka would have a prominent role to play in Friday's opening ceremony, meaning she would have little time to rest between taking part in that event and playing Zheng.

Osaka abandoned her French Open campaign after one match, having been warned she risked expulsion for refusing to take part in news conferences during the tournament.

The reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, who has spoken of struggling with anxiety and depression, then elected to skip Wimbledon.

The quarantine experience has become routine for those travelling the world to play or watch sport during the coronavirus crisis.

It has been that way in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics. Depending on which country you arrive from, there may be a period of isolation to tolerate before being allowed to participate in the Games.

This has been the case for Stats Perform's journalist on the ground, Peter Hanson, who is approaching the end of a three-day quarantine at his hotel in order to comply with the rules for UK residents working in a media capacity in the Japanese capital.

Here, he provides five tips on how to survive quarantine…

Tip 1: Binge on Netflix

Admittedly this isn't a particularly novel idea but when you're pretty much confined to a hotel room for three days what better way to pass the time than with some easy watching?

It doesn't have to be Netflix…there are plenty of other streaming services available of course. But, right now I'm powering through the US version of The Office (even if that makes me feel a little traitorous towards the original UK edition, which – sorry folks – remains the significantly better show).

Tip 2: Reading

It's good to come prepared. Having undertaken a 12-and-a-half-hour flight to get to Tokyo before the three days of isolation even began, having a good book (or even a bad one really) just made good sense.

I'm a big fan of Harlan Coben's work, so with me in Tokyo is his thriller 'The Boy in the Woods', and also a book about the world's greatest football team…Sheffield Wednesday, penned by Sheffield Star journalist Alex Miller.

Tip 3: Bring out the bangers…

Admittedly this tip comes on the back of a bit of a head loss…but when in the moment, you have to fully embrace it folks!

Crack on with your Spotify, your Apple Music, or wherever you get your tunes from and let the music take control! Friday's morning get-up song for me belonged to Ronan Keating because, well, life is a rollercoaster right now…

Tip 4: Sick tricks!

This one is inspired by one of my best friends back home, who will often yell "sick tricks!" before doing something pretty juvenile or a very basic skill with the confidence and gusto of a trapeze artist… and it gets a laugh from me pretty much every time.

Luckily, just before I left my house in Sheffield I spotted a tennis ball to take with me and – recalling the feats of skills posted by several ATP and WTA stars online during their own Australian Open quarantines – decided to have a go at some of my own tennis-ball tricks…it did not go particularly well.

Tip 5: Work, work, work...

No, not the Rihanna song... although playing that on repeat would absolutely be a great way to spend your time in quarantine.

What I'm alluding to is the fact that at some point during a three-day quarantine, some work will have to be done.

Only, in this case I got distracted by my Football Manager save and decided that was also a pretty decent way to kill some time…

Joe Ingles is coming off the sort of disappointment with the Utah Jazz that perhaps only an Olympic medal could soothe.

Ingles, runner-up for the NBA's Sixth Man Award in the 2020-21 season, could not prevent the top-seeded Jazz losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.

He scored 19 points in three successive games against the Clippers but twice in a losing cause, meaning a season that he packed with career-bests ended on a painful note.

Ingles is now chasing gold with Australia at Tokyo 2020, with an opening game against Nigeria scheduled for Sunday.

Australia have never won an Olympic medal in men's basketball, finishing fourth on four occasions, most recently at Rio 2016. 

They were also fourth at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but Ingles says the time has come to get hold of a medal.

Gold is the obvious target, and when Ingles was asked whether silver or bronze would be a disappointment, his verdict was that anything but top step on the podium would feel like a letdown, at least initially.

"In the moment, yeah; in the long run, no," he said. "We don't talk about anything else – there's one goal in mind and that's to win a gold medal in Tokyo.

"If we wait and look 10 years down the track we'll think different but we're here to make history."

Australia's women have fared better on the big stage, winning three Olympic silvers and two bronze medals.

 

Ingles had an NBA career-best 34 points against the Washington Wizards in March, while in January he passed John Stockton to set a new Jazz record for the most three-pointers in a career with the franchise. Stockton made 845 and Ingles is now on 993.

He set career highs in field-goal percentage (48.9 per cent), three-point success rate (45.1 per cent) and free-throw hit rate (84.4 per cent) in the regular season, along with a points-per-game average of 12.1 that matched his 2018-19 best.

Now the 33-year-old small forward heads into his fourth Olympics seeking that elusive medal, and a familiar face in Brian Goorjian is leading the team.

Coach Goorjian was in charge of Australia when Ingles made his Games debut in 2008 at Beijing, and he returned to the role in November of last year.

"He's a lot older. We're both a lot older," Ingles said. "So awesome to have him back.

"I was interested to see if there would be any differences in him. He moves a bit slower and his fingers are a bit more busted up but he's the same coach."

Germany's female gymnasts are preparing to compete at the Tokyo Olympics with a strikingly different look after packing unitards alongside leotards in their kit bags.

The unitard has characteristics of the traditional leotard but comes with attached leggings that run down to the ankles, being designed for comfort.

It was described by the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) in April as being a move "against sexualisation in gymnastics".

The DTB said the kit's purpose was "to present aesthetically – without feeling uncomfortable", and after a positive pilot at the European Championships in Basle, an Olympic Games version of the kit has been launched for Team Deutschland's competitors.

Elisabeth Seitz, set to compete in her third Olympics, said: "It's about what feels comfortable. We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear.

"Most people were positive about it. But after the European Championships the time was way too short for others to design a unitard. Maybe in the future. We really hope so."

It is not a given that Germany will wear the unitard for competition at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, but that is an option. The team will vote on whether to don the leotard or unitard ahead of Sunday's qualification event.

"We decided this is the most comfortable leotard for today. That doesn't mean we don't want to wear the normal leotard any more," Seitz said. "It is a decision day by day, based on how we feel and what we want. On competition day, we will decide what to wear."

The Germany team's move comes at a time when there is scrutiny on the demands put on female sports stars when it comes to their attire.

Norway's beach handball team were fined as their shorts were ruled to be too long, while British Paralympic long-jumper Olivia Breen was told by an official her briefs were too short.

The German gymnasts have found support for their mission, with Games newcomer Sarah Voss saying: "We girls had a big influence on this. The coaches were also very much into it.

"They said they want us to feel the most confident and comfortable in any case. It just makes you feel better and more comfortable."

Dina Asher-Smith says her "heart does go out" to banned sprint rival Sha'Carri Richardson but is convinced there will be several battles to be had in the coming years.

Richardson, 21, was primed to be one of the favourites for gold at Tokyo 2020 after winning the 100 metres at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 10.86 seconds.

However, it was revealed Richardson had tested positive for cannabis following that event last month and a consequent one-month ban – starting on June 28 – meant she was ineligible to register for the Olympics, which start on Friday.

Richardson told NBC that her biological mother had died prior to the trials, where she was pictured sharing a warm embrace with her grandmother, who helped raise her.

Asher-Smith, going for gold in the 100 and 200m for Great Britain, has sympathy for the circumstances that led to Richardson's exclusion from the Games.

Speaking to a round-table of journalists at a pre-Games TeamGB call, she said: "I feel sorry for her, her mother passed away, you know? 

"I was kind of thinking about that. Lots of you know my mum, personally I even said to my mum 'if you passed away I wouldn't have done the trials' I have to admit. 

"That's not a criticism, it's just emotionally that's a lot. My mum said 'don't be silly I'd always want you to do it' – it's definitely not a criticism but that's kind of just [how I would be] dealing with that situation. 

"Lots of stuff happened but I'm in absolutely no position to tell someone how to grieve, no one is, that's the first thing that comes to mind she was grieving. 

"If that was my mum…obviously rules are rules but the girl was grieving so your heart does out to her in that whole situation because no one ever wants to lose a parent, so yeah it's awful."

 

Richardson is the second fastest woman over 100m in the world this season having posted a 10.72s in April. Only Jamaican veteran Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has gone quicker, with a best of 10.63s.

Asher-Smith, the reigning world champion over 200m, has yet to lose a race in 2021 and she is sure there will be plenty of time to face off with Richardson down the line.

"We've both hopefully got very long careers you know?" she said. 

"It's not just about one person as well, you've got so many talented women that can run incredibly fast, it's one of those things I'm like don't worry about it there's so many more chances."

Asher-Smith is regarded as one of Britain's best medal hopes on the track in Tokyo and was described by World Athletics president and two-time Olympic champion Seb Coe as the "poster child" for Tokyo.

While grateful for such compliments, the steely focused 25-year-old is shutting out the external noise as she bids for glory in the Japanese capital.

"I didn't know he'd said that, it's very kind," she said.

"To me, I don't think about those things to be honest. I don't think about things around me, what people are talking about, what the headlines are I just don't think about that.

"I've always been like that because at the end of the day it's me and the track, me and the club, and all this stuff that's going around is literally just noise. 

"The only thing that can affect my performance is the mental state I'm in and physical state I'm in. 

"I try and make sure that is as strong and as good as possible. So, when people talk about all this stuff, postergirl or whatever, cool, I don't know to be honest, I don't pay attention to the noise, the chatter, what the opinions are."

 

An extremely relaxed Asher-Smith says she has no fear ahead of the Games as she has been preparing her entire career for these moments.

She added: "What's scary about it? I get this question all the time, when I was checking into Heathrow all the BA [British Airways] people were like are you nervous? And I was like 'No what is there to be nervous about?'

"Obviously, this is a very different scale, but I line up and race and I've done that since I was eight years old and I'm very good at it. Obviously, the stakes change, the mechanics change, the precision of it changes but fundamentally this is something I do week in, week out. 

"I love a show, I love a stage, and putting together a performance when it really matters when the lights are on. 

"I love championships, my coach always tell me to quell my excitement through the season until championships and then let it loose. He told me yesterday I can get excited so you can see more energy from me now."

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