Rio Olympics: Rahimov, Balandin shine for Kazakhstan (International Roundup)

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 11 (IANS) Weightlifter Nijat Rahimov of Kazakhstan broke the world record to win the gold medal of the men’s 77kg category while his compatriot Dmitriy Balandin created history by claiming the central Asian country’s first swimming medal at the ongoing Rio Olympics here.

Rahimo registered a total of 379kg on Wednesday, bettering the world record of the jerk by four kilos along the way with a successful attempt of 214kg, reports Xinhua.

Balandin meanwhile stunned several higher rated swimmers on his way to gold in the men’s 200m breaststroke category, his country’s first ever Olympic medal of any colour in swimming.

Kazakhstan now have a total of two gold medals at the Rio Games.

At the weightlifting arena, Rahimo held off a strong challenge from defending champion Lyu Xiaojun of China, who also registered a total lift of 379kg, but finished second due to bodyweight disadvantage.

Lyu however, broke the snatch world record as he lifted 177kg.

Ibrahim Ramadan Ibrahim Abdelbaki of Egypt claimed the bronze at 361kg.

Meanwhile, Xiang Yanmei of China shrugged off an unexpected neck injury to win the gold medal for China in the women’s 69kg Weightlifting category.

Xiang, winner at the world championships in 2013 and 2015, failed in her third attempt in the snatch competition on Wednesday when she put the 118kg barbell above her head but suddenly the barbell fell awkwardly on her head and down her neck and dropped to the floor.

“I saw little stars all of a sudden. I got hurt a little bit; I felt hurt when I knocked my head,” Xiang said.

Despite the thrill, the 24-year-old Xiang still took the lead and kept the momentum to jerk 145kg with a winning total of 261kg.

Zhazira Zhapparkul of Kazakhstan, who has stood below Xiang on the podium at the 2015 worlds, claimed the silver with a total of 259kg and the bronze went to Sara Ahmed of Egypt at 255kg.

Ahmed, 18, junior world champion in 2015, admitted that being a gold medalist at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games was a huge encouragement for her. She came to Rio Games for a medal.

At the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Balandin caused one of the biggest surprises of the Rio Olympics so far by winning the men’s 200m breaststroke gold medal.

Swimming in lane eight after qualifying last for the final, Balandin hit the wall in 2 minutes 07.46 seconds to beat Josh Prenot of the US by seven hundredths of a second.

Russia’s Anton Chupkov was third, 0.24sec further back.

Japan’s Ippel Watanabe, who set an Olympic record of 2:07.22 in qualifying for the final, finished sixth.

Balandin, 21, won the 200m breaststroke gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

At the shooting ranges, Jin Jongoh of South Korea edged Vietnamese Hoang Xuan Vinh to win gold at men’ s 50m rifle event, taking home the third straight Olympic gold medal on this event.

Jin scored 193.7 points in the final on Wednesday, in which the silver medalist Hoang shot 191.3 points.

It was the fourth Olympic gold for the 36-year-old South Korean. He had participated in four Olympics, and managed to take at least one medal in each of them.

Kim Song Guk of North Korea took the bronze with 172.8 points.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara has won his second gold medal in the Olympic men’s cycling individual time trial.

Cancellara’s first gold in the event came at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

The route stretched 54.6 kilometers (33.9 miles) along the Atlantic coast of the Brazilian capital. Riding in the rain, the 35-year-old Swiss cyclist completed the course in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 15.42 seconds.

Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin finished second to take silver, while the bronze went to Britain’s Chris Froome, winner of the Tour de France.

At the gymnastics arena, six-time all-around world champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan held off a strong challenge from Ukraine’s Oleg Vernyayev to take his second consecutive Olympic gold in gymnastics at the Rio Games.

The 27-year-old Japanese was second behind Vernyayev in Sunday’s qualification after falling off the high bar, but still considered as the favourite to win in the final.

As the reigning European champion and 2014 world champion on parallel bars, Vernyayev snatched the lead after the third rotation and extended his advantage to 0.901 points before the last routine thanks to his convincing performance on parallel bars, which earned him a all-high of 16.100 points.

Uchimura showed his best on the last apparatus of high bar with a routine of 7.100 difficulty in great quality, scoring 15.800 points.

Entering the field as the closing gymnast, Vernyayev needed 14.899 points to clinch the gold. With a routine of 6.500 difficulty, a small jump forward cost him the top podium in landing as the judges decided a score of 14.800 points, leaving Uchimura cheering and Vernyayev apparently stunned in remorse.

“Oleg achieved an incredible score. I knew that although high bar is one of my favorite, I have to achieve a certain score. I just perform as usual. I was calm and I think that’s really my key to success,” said Uchimura, whose had a total score of 92.365 points.

Since winning his first all-around world title in 2009, Uchimura has swept all the all-around gold medals both in the world championships and Olympic Games.

Britain’s Max Whitlock took the bronze medal with a score of 90.641.

In football, the Honduran men’s squad reached the Olympics knockout stage once again with a 1-1 draw in Group D action against Argentina, who needed a win to avoid going home early.

Anthony Lozano delivered the crushing blow to Argentina’s hopes when he converted a penalty for the Central American side in the 75th minute, finally opening the scoring in a match in which both teams had earlier squandered opportunities from the 12-yard mark, reports Efe.

Mauricio Martinez got the equalizer for Argentina off a free kick in stoppage time that ricocheted off Honduras’ wall of defenders, but too little time remained to summon up the winning goal.

Earlier in the match, Argentine goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli made amends for a costly foul in the area when he stopped a penalty attempt by Honduran captain Bryan Acosta during first-half injury time.

Argentina, who won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and four years later in Beijing, were a mere shadow of those teams on Wednesday.

Honduras, who reached the quarter-finals of the London Olympics, now have backed up that result by advancing to the knockout stages in Rio.

As the second-place team in Group D, it will next take on Group C winner South Korea on Augist 13 in Belo Horizonte.



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