Fiji continued their Olympic men's rugby sevens dominance with a 27-12 win over New Zealand to retain the title they won at Rio 2016.

Their shorter-form rugby success represents their second gold in Games history, with Fiji's sevens team yet to lose at the Olympics after extending their unbeaten run to 12 games.

In April, COVID-19 forced the Fiji squad into isolation in the capital Suva before travelling to Australia in June for a pre-Games warm-up tournament.

Head coach Gareth Baber revealed some players, who had never been on a plane before nor played at an elite level, had not seen their families in "nearly 20 weeks".

"We locked them down for five months, basically," Baber said. "They came into a training camp on Easter Monday thinking they were going back on the Friday, and on the Tuesday they were told they couldn't go back and haven’t seen their families since. That takes a special kind of person to make that commitment.

"We were effectively locked up in a Christian hostel. We built a gym, basically in the garage of the hostel, and we were there for about 12 weeks.

"In fact, when the players go back and do their quarantine, it will have been about 20 weeks since they were last with their families."

Gold medal winner Asaeli Tuivuaka, whose try sealed the all-important final win, also spoke of the sacrifices involved for the sevens success.

"This gold medal is special to me. Back at home, their sacrifice and prayer motivated me through everything," Tuivuaka said. "I did not see them, only spoke to them on the phone, and that’s why it is meaningful to me.

"I have not seen my family for months. They are praying for me, they give me a lot of encouragement to keep on moving forward so that I can be here today.

Runners-up New Zealand claimed their first medal in a men's rugby event at the Games, though Great Britain lost out to Argentina, who claimed their first medal of the Olympics, for bronze.

ZHIYONG BREAKS OWN WORLD RECORD

China's Shi Zhiyong broke his own world record to secure gold in the men's 73kg weightlifting event.

The three-time world champion becomes the second weightlifter, after Waldemar Baszanowski in 1964 and 1968, to win back-to-back titles at the Games in the lightweight category, given his previous gold in the 69kg at Rio 2016.

"I prepared five years for Olympics so I really want to perform at the best," Zhiyong explained in Mandarin. "So if I didn't make to break my own record, just a gold medal, I would feel regret.

"I want myself to break the record in the Olympics... Even though I didn't make the 192kg [on my first attempt], I am still confident that I'm pretty sure I’m going to break my record so I did the 198."

A 166kg lift in the snatch achieved an Olympic record before a 198kg clean and jerk took his total to 364kg – one kilo more than his previous world record.

HASHIMOTO CONTINUES JAPAN'S GYMNASTIC DOMINANCE

Daiki Hashimoto captured a third straight men's gymnastics all-around title for Japan as he followed up Kohei Uchimura's back-to-back victories at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Across all six events, the 19-year-old totalled 88.465 to win gold by a whisker, with China's Ruoteng Xiao and Russia's pre-event favourite Nikita Nagornyy, the reigning world and European champions, winning silver and bronze respectively.

Hashimoto, who could only manage third behind Nagornyy's Russians in the team event on Monday, was in third again before a near-flawless routine gained 14.993 points to put him top.

Japan also claimed more gold in judo as Chizuru Arai defeated Austria's Michaela Polleres to bring the host nation its eighth judo medal of the Games so far.

LATVIA AND USA CLAIM FIRST EVER 3X3 BASKETBALL TITLES

The United States dictated proceedings throughout the five-day women's tournament, winning nine games and losing only one as they etched their names in basketball history with the first ever 3x3 Olympic basketball triumph.

Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young did the hard yards early before securing an 18-5 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Games.

In the men's edition, Latvia were the first winners as Karlis Lasmanis' two-point shot with 28 seconds left clinched a 21-18 win over the Russian Olympic Committee.

Though, basketball fanatics feel the real winner of the three-aside debut event is the sport itself.

"I think it's going to keep growing," the USA coach Kara Lawson said. "I think it's got a great future around the world, it's a lot of fun to play. Being an Olympic sport now, there's more converts probably than we've ever seen before."

SOUTH KOREA'S KIM MAKES EMPHATIC RETURN

Fencer Kim Jung-Hwan won gold at London 2012 but quit the sport before making a comeback from retirement in 2019.

After taking bronze in the men's individual sabre on Saturday, the 37-year-old may have felt fate would not be on his side.

However, Kim was part of South Korea's team that won the men's sabre on Wednesday as they coasted past Italy 45-26 in a one-sided final to defend their London 2012 title - after the discipline did not feature at Rio 2016.

Kim also becomes the first Asian fencer to claim four Olympic medals in the field, while Italy's silver medal reflected a record-extending 21st Olympic medal in the men's team sabre event.

Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt said he never had a doubt he would win the triathlon, and his confidence never wavered as he pulled away late to take the gold. 

The top contenders spent much of Monday's race biding their time, with all the favourites in the mix following the swim and bike legs, but Blummenfelt drove the pace on the final leg. 

When the lead group winnowed down to himself, Great Britain's Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand, Blummenfelt urged the 23-year-olds to keep the hammer down – then ran away from them in the end. 

One last kick over the final kilometre put Blummenfelt atop the podium, with Yee taking silver and Wilde bronze. 

"We were like 10 guys in the running lead and when he picked up the pace I saw that we were down to four and I tried to get [Yee] motivated to keep the pace," Blummenfelt told reporters.

"I said, 'Guys, we have a medal now, keep the gas on,' and I think that for Alex and Hayden this is a great moment to get an Olympic medal, too."

Yee's compatriot Jonathan Brownlee, who won silver in the event in Rio and bronze in London as his brother Alistair took gold in both races, finished fifth on Monday.

"I told myself last night that all I can do is try my hardest and before that, prepare," Brownlee said. "I did everything I could, I got ready for the heat, I trained as hard as I could, had a great team around me and that's all you can ask.

"I think I've been very, very fortunate in my two Olympic Games, I've had two medals. It's hard to perform and I've performed well in three." 

 

'NERVOUS' OSAKA KEEPS ROLLING

Playing for the second consecutive day, second-seed Naomi Osaka showed no signs of fatigue as she cruised to a 6-3 6-2 second-round victory over Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic on Sunday. 

Japan's big hope Osaka had to play back-to-back after having her schedule altered following the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron Friday, and the other top women in action looked just as strong after a day off Sunday. 

"Honestly, I feel like I was a bit more nervous before the match," Osaka told reporters. "I felt a lot of butterflies, but I think as I started playing and feeling more comfortable, I knew that no matter what it would be a great match."

After pulling out of the French Open before the second round and skipping Wimbledon, the four-time grand slam winner has not had much match time over the last two months, but her goal in Tokyo remains the same. 

“It would mean a lot to win gold here, but I know it's a process," she said. "I know these are the best players in the world, and honestly I haven't played in a while, so I'm trying to take it one notch at a time.

"All in all, I'm just really happy to be here. I haven't been in Tokyo for a couple of years."

In other early matches, seventh-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain rolled past China's Wang Qiang 6-3 6-0, while eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova had a tougher time with Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez before moving on 6-2 6-4 and 11th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-1 6-1. 

 

MACNEIL EARNS CANADA'S FIRST GOLD

It took Margaret MacNeil a few moments to realise she had won Canada's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games.

The 21-year-old usually wears contact lenses but does not put them on when she is in the pool, so she had to focus to see her name atop the scoreboard after the 100m butterfly at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. 

"I like to check the scoreboard pretty quickly, but it's hard just because I don't have contacts," she said. "It does take me a minute to read the scoreboard, so I was just trying to squint and see where I came."

Her vision problems may have been a benefit during the race, which saw her edge China's Zhang Yufei by 0.05 from lane seven. 

"I could hardly see anyone on the far side of the pool, which I think helped me a lot, because I was able to just focus on my own race," MacNeil said. "I just put my head down and tried to get to the wall as fast as possible. I'm really glad it all came together."

While MacNeil took the first gold medal in the pool Monday, her win was overshadowed by later events. 

Great Britain's Adam Peaty defended his Olympic title in the 100m breaststroke, while Ariarne Titmus of Australia dethroned the reigning champion Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle. 

In the final medal event of the day, Caeleb Dressel – Michael Phelps' heir apparent – and the USA won the 4x100m freestyle relay by 1.14 seconds over Italy. 

 

UPSETS ABOUND IN FENCING

Three of the top six women in the world were eliminated early in the women's sabre competition Monday. 

Top-ranked Olga Kharlan of Ukraine, twice a bronze medallist, fell to Yang Hengyu of China 15-12 in the round of 32 to end her hopes of a third straight medal. 

Fourth-ranked Shao Yaqi of China and world number six Anne-Elizabeth Stone of the USA went out in the same round. 

Sofia Velikaya of Russia, who took silver in Rio, remains alive heading into the quarter-finals later Monday along with 2016 fourth-place finisher Manon Brunet of France. 

 

REIGNING CHAMPIONS FIJI OPEN RUGBY SEVENS PLAY

Reigning gold medallists Fiji rallied in the second half to defeat Japan 24-19 in a rematch of the Rio 2016 semi-finals. 

Fiji trailed 19-12 but fought back through a pair of tries and a conversion from substitute Waisea Nacuqu in the final four minutes.

The team they beat for gold five years ago, Great Britain, opened play with a flourish, thrashing Canada 24-0, while New Zealand crushed South Korea 50-5. 

Fourth-place finishers in 2016, South Africa defeated Ireland 33-14 while Argentina beat Australia 29-19 and the United States edged Kenya 19-14. 

China remain top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympics after an eventful round of action on Sunday that saw the United States and hosts Japan enjoy a golden day.

Having picked up four medals on the first full day of action, China added to their haul with three more golds, one silver and three bronze.

Two of China's golds came in weightlifting, with Li Fabin and Chen Lijun coming out on top in the men's 61kg and men's 67kg, followed by success in the women's synchronised 3m springboard final.

A lot is expected of hosts Japan at these Games and they picked up four golds on Sunday, two of those in judo through Hifumi Abe and Uta Abe.

Yuto Horigome made history by winning the first gold in the men's street skateboarding, while Yui Ohashi finished first in the women's 400m individual medley swimming event.

The United States failed to pick up a medal on the opening day of the Games for the first time since Munich 1972, but they stormed back into contention with 10 medals on Sunday.

That included a gold for Lee Kiefer, who became the first American fencer to win a gold medal in individual foil.

William Shaner and Chase Kalisz prevailed in the men's 10m air rifle and 400m individual medley swimming, meanwhile, and Anastasija Zolotic took taekwondo gold in the women -57kg.

Behind China, Japan and USA in the medal table is South Korea, who doubled their tally of golds thanks to victory in the women's team archery.

Austria, France, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Australia and the Russian Olympic Committee also got off the mark with their first golds of the delayed 2020 Games on Sunday.

 

China lead the way with four medals after the opening day of the Olympics, as Richard Carapaz doubled Ecuador's all-time tally of golds in Tokyo.

Yang Qian was the first athlete to strike gold in the Japanese capital, winning the women's 10-metre air rifle competition for China.

Sun Yiwen also claimed a gold medal for China in the women's epee individual fencing event, while compatriot Hou Zhihui came out on top with an Olympic record in the women's 49kg weightlifting.

Pang Wei claimed China's other medal on the opening day, taking bronze in the men's 10m air pistol event.

Carapaz produced a sensational ride to win the men's road race title, becoming the second athlete from Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

Host nation Japan and Italy are joint-second in the medal table with a gold and a silver apiece.

There were three medals for South Korea, including a triumph for Kim Je Deok and An San in the first mixed team archery event.

The United States remain notably absent from the primitive medal table, though, having ended the first day of the Games without a medal for the first time since Munich 1972.

 

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