Tokyo Olympics: Shocking gold medals for Kiesenhofer and Hefnawi as Osaka and Biles start their campaign


Ahmed Hafnaoui
Ahmed Hefnaoui’s gold is only the fifth for a Tunisian athlete in the Olympic Games
dates: July 23 – August 8 Time in Tokyo: GMT +8
coverage: Watch live broadcasts on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen to BBC 5 Live Radio, Sports Extra and Sounds; Live text and video clips on the BBC Sport website and app.

Austrian Anna Kissenhofer won a surprise gold medal in road racing, and Tunisian youth Ahmed Hefnaoui stunned the candidates in the pool on the drama-filled second day of the Tokyo Olympics.

Tennis also witnessed surprises, with Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty knocked out, and Taekwondo, where two-time defending champion Jade Jones lost Britain in the first round.

Even favorite Simone Biles wobbled in gymnastics qualifiers, while golf was robbed of leading players with positive Covid-19 tests, and defending champion Andy Murray withdrew from the men’s singles.

But the biggest shocker of the day was certainly Dutch cyclist Annemck van Vleuten, who celebrated when she crossed the line thinking she had won the gold only to find out that she was in fact second.

Amid all the surprises, there was the reassuring return of Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, and it was all about the excitement as skateboarding and surfing made their Olympic debuts.

Dream wins for Kiisenhofer and Hefnawi

Hundreds of fans took to the sun to gather in the streets of Fuzhou, in the suburbs of Tokyo, to catch a glimpse of the women’s cycling race, violating official advice to avoid gathering due to the pandemic.

What they witnessed was remarkable as 30-year-old Kiesenhofer – who is not part of a professional cycling team and was making her Olympic debut – became the first Austrian to win an Olympic road race medal after a devastating individual breakup.

She was at the front of the race from the start, and was one of an early splinter group, before going solo for the 40km to go.

Kiesenhofer’s advantage was so great that Van Vleuten didn’t realize someone had beaten her to the end, with the Dutchman celebrating at first before shouting, “I was wrong.”

Earlier there was a big surprise at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, where 18-year-old Tunisian Ahmed Hefnaoui finished first in Australia and America to win the 400m freestyle.

He said he was so surprised to play the final that even when he touched a wall, he didn’t immediately “accept” his victory even though it was a dream come true.

New sport, new records!

Japan’s Yuto Horigome won his first Olympic gold medal in skateboarding, snatching victory on men’s street in skating a stone’s throw from where he grew up after being introduced to the sport as a young boy by this dad.

Another sport started at these games, surfing, where the competitors took advantage of the morning wave which gave them the strength they needed to show off their sport in the heat after some tamed waves in the training sessions.

It was an old sport but was a new record as the Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team broke their own world record of 3:29.69 in pool, while South Korea won their ninth consecutive gold medal in the women’s shooting teams event to tie for the longest gold medal. A streak in Olympic history.

Osaka & Biles launch their campaign

Two of the biggest draws of the games were in operation on Sunday, with home favorite Osaka returning to play for the first time in nearly two months after taking a break from tennis to protect her mental health and featuring Biles in a gymnastics qualifier.

Second seed Osaka, who lit the torch at Friday’s opening ceremony, beat China’s Saisai Cheng 6-1 6-4 but said the competition in her Olympics “was on my nerves.”

Meanwhile, four-time Olympic champion Biles was penalized for jumping and flooring – where she jumped completely out of the competition area – in a sub-par display as the US finished second behind the Russian Olympic Committee in the team qualifiers.

With qualification still going, she looks set to make four of her singles finals but will lose the Ulysd Bars final.

Golfers are excluded and brought in photography

American Bryson Deschamps and Spaniard John Ram have been disqualified from a golf tournament after they tested positive for Covid-19.

DeChambeau had not yet traveled to Japan, where he was due to make his Olympic debut, while world number one Ram has tested positive for the second time in as many months.

Every aspect of the late games has been affected by the pandemic, but athletes are allowed a short “normal” moment to take a photo on the podium.

On Sunday, organizers said medal winners can remove their masks for 30 seconds to show a smile to the cameras, although wearing masks remains mandatory in all venues.

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