Olympics Latest: China leads in men’s gymnastics qualifying

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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China has sprinted to the lead in men’s gymnastics qualifying, putting on a clinic inside the nearly empty Ariake Gymnastics Centre as it aims to return to the top of the sport.

China total of 262.061 — fueled by four brilliant sets on parallel bars — edged out Russia’s 261.945 in the first of three qualifying subdivisions.

China is attempting to bounce back after slipping to bronze in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and coming in second to the Russians at the 2019 world championships.

Reigning world champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia has grabbed the early lead in all-around qualifying, putting together a steady 87.897, just ahead of China’s Xiao Ruoteng and Sun Wei.

Russian Artur Dalaloyan also assured himself of a spot in next week’s all-around finals with a total of 85.597, remarkable considering that Dalaloyan is competing on a surgically repaired left Achilles torn at the European championships in April.

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The French Olympic Committee says some of the medical and support staff for its men’s basketball team have been forced into quarantine at the Tokyo Games because a passenger aboard their flight to Japan tested positive for the coronavirus.

The committee didn’t say how many staff members are affected as possible contact cases. It said they have been in isolation since July 19, unable to work with the athletes. It said all of the staff members’ tests so far have been negative.

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Dutch team officials say rower Finn Florijn has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of the Games. The other members of the team who are considered close contacts can stay, but will need to adjust to separate transportation and eating and sleeping arrangements.

The 21-year-old son of former Olympic gold medalist rower Ronald Florijn was competing in single sculls and had finished fourth in his heat on Friday. He was scheduled to row again Saturday in the repechage before positive test results late Friday ended his Games.

“I was hopeful to improve in the rematch. Now it’s over in an instant. I can’t really say much more about it,” Florijn said.

Florijn is the fourth member of the Dutch team or staff to test positive for COVID-19. The team said earlier this week that taekwondo athlete Reshmie Oogink and a rowing team staff member tested positive and skateboarder Candy Jacobs announced on Instagram that she had tested positive.

Chef de Mission of TeamNL Pieter van den Hoogenband says the team is doing everything it can to curb more positive tests.

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The ban on fans for the Summer Olympics does not extend past Tokyo, and that means thousands of cycling fans have turned up at Fuji International Speedway to await the finish of the men’s road race.

The facility built in the 1960s but extensively renovated over the years has a grandstand capacity of 22,000 people. And with 50 percent capacity limitations due to COVID-19, that means up to 11,000 will be able to see the finish.

Their eagerness to see the Olympics after a year delay was clear by the way fans turned out early Saturday. They showed up nearly seven hours before riders were expected to reach the finishing circuits, and the layout of the speedway meant they would be spending all that time in the sun on a steamy day two hours southwest of Tokyo.

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MEDAL ALERT

China’s Yang Qian has won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics in women’s 10-meter air rifle.

Yang overtook Anastasiia Galashina when the Russian missed the center two rings for an 8.9 on her final shot.

Yang had a 9.8 on her final shot and finished with an Olympic record 251.8. Galashina finished at 251.1.

Switzerland’s Nina Christen took bronze.

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An Algerian judo athlete will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after he withdrew from the competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73 kg division on Monday. Nourine was to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the opening round, with the winner facing Butbul, the fifth seed.

The International Judo Federation’s executive committee has temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics, which began Saturday. The Algerian Olympic committee then withdrew both men’s accreditation and made plans to send them home.

The IJF said Nourine’s position was “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.”

Nourine and Benikhlef attribute their stance to their political support for Palestinians.

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Two Georgian tennis players have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics after officials in their home country told them they were entered for the Games but never actually sent the paperwork.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that it had to turn away doubles players Oksana Kalashnikova and Ekaterine Gorgodze because they were never formally entered for the games, even though Georgia’s Olympic committee “informed the applicants that their application had been submitted.”

Without a formal entry for the Olympics, the court ruled that the “consequence, however unfortunate for the two athletes, can only be the dismissal of their petition.”

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Australia is without cyclist Rohan Dennis for the men’s Olympic road race, though it’s not because of a positive test for COVID-19.

Dennis chose to skip the race, which is taking place on a brutal course through searing heat that hardly suits his skillset, so that he can focus instead on next week’s time trial.

Dennis, who has won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, is also one of the best in the world in the race against the clock. He’s a two-time time trial world champion, helped Australia win team pursuit silver at the 2012 London Games and is a former world hour-record holder.

He was in medal contention at the Rio Games in the time trial, but he had a mechanical issue that required a bike change and took him out of the running.

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The entire Spanish cycling team has been cleared for the men’s road race hours before the start, ending a stressful period of limbo following a positive COVID-19 test involving a team masseuse.

Alejandro Valverde, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Omar Fraile and Jesus Herrada were considered close contacts of the masseuse, but all returned negative test results that allowed them to make the start at Musashinonomori Park on Saturday.

Spain has one of the strongest teams in the men’s road race, which will finish at Fuji International Speedway. Valverde, Fraile and Ion Izagirre in particular have skillsets that are perfectly suited for the mountainous course.

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The very first match of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament has been canceled because a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19.

Markéta Sluková tested positive earlier this week, knocking her and partner Barbora Hermannova out of the Tokyo Games.

The Czechs were supposed to be playing a team from the host country that would have been making its Olympic debut. Instead, the Japanese pair of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii earned the victory by default.

Sluková is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive since their arrival in Japan, including men’s beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič.

The team has said it’s investigating if the outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.

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German cyclist Simon Geschke has been ruled out of the men’s road race after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The German team says Geschke initially tested positive Friday and his result was confirmed by another test later in the day.

Germany says fellow riders Nikias Arndt and Maximilian Schachmann are cleared to race Saturday. The fourth rider on the team, Emanuel Buchmann, was Geschke’s roommate and was waiting overnight on the result of another PCR test for the virus. Team staff tested negative.

Geschke was a stage winner on the Tour de France in 2015.

The German road race team is living in a hotel and not in the Olympic Village.

Geschke says he followed the hygiene rules at the Olympics. He adds that “I feel fine physically but emotionally it’s a really terrible day for me.”

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Categories: National Sports