US bag five golds to be runaway leader at Rio Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 19 (IANS) The United States wrapped up five gold medals as it became the runaway leader on the medals table at the Rio Olympics.

The US again demonstrated their supremacy in athletics as it grabbed four golds at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday, reports Xinhua.

Dalilah Muhammad powered to a brilliant victory in the women’s 400m hurdles to become the first winner of the event from the United States in Olympic history.

The 26-year-old, the fastest woman in the world this year over the distance, blasted out of the blocks and held on to a commanding lead for a deserved gold in 53.15 seconds in light rain.

In men’s shot put, American Ryan Crouser hurled the longest throw of his life to win the gold and also broke the Olympic record.

The 23-year-old set three personal bests in the final and his longest throw of 22.52 metres shattered an Olympic record set by East Germany’s Ulf Timmermann in 1988.

There were also wins for the US in men’s 400m hurdles and men’s decathlon. Two-time world champion Kerron Clement stormed to victory in the men’s 400m hurdles while Ashton Eaton equalled the Olympic record when retaining his decathlon crown.

Clement said he had been determined to make the podium in Rio, targeting 2016 as a redemption year after his problems in 2012.

“I had one goal in mind and my mindset was to come here and get a medal,” Clement said. “In 2008 I fell short and got a silver. In 2012 I was battling injuries and surgeries. I was just happy to make the finals in 2012. Coming out here in 2016 for me was a redemption year. I’m just honored to get a gold medal.”

In wrestling, American Helen Maroulis beat legendary Japanese Saori Yoshida to claim the women’s freestyle 53kg title.

Maroulis, 24, dashed Yoshida’s dream of winning her fourth Olympic title and became the first-ever Olympic champion in women’s wrestling for the United States.

“I’ve been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long. She’s a hero. She’s the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It’s such an honour to wrestle her,” said Maroulis.

The 33-year-old Yoshida, 13-time world champion, started the final with a 1-0 lead but Maroulis came back in the second period, ducking under a Yoshida headlock attempt and scoring a takedown to go up 2-1. Then she attacked Yoshida and scored another takedown to go up 4-1, and held on for the victory.

China only claimed one gold in diving when teenager Ren Qian became the youngest gold medalist at the Rio Olympics by winning the 10m platform title.

The 15-year-old finished with 439.25 points to beat her compatriot Si Yajie by 19.85 points at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre.

“When I won I cried with joy,” said Ren, who became China’s first Olympic medal winner born this millennium.

“I didn’t perform by best in the heats and semifinals but I was able to keep cool when it mattered today, especially in my last three dives.”

Britain continued its momentum on the medals table by winning three gold medals in sailing, triathlon and taekwondo.

In the men’s triathlon, Alistair Brownlee became the first triathlete to defend his Olympic title with his brother Jonny taking the silver medal.

The British siblings finished comfortably clear of South Africa’s bronze medallist Henri Schoeman.

While Alistair, 28, was repeating his success in London’s Hyde Park, his two-year younger brother was improving on his bronze he collected at the 2012 Games.

Britain’s defending Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones has hung onto her title after defeating Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez in the final of the women -57kg division.

Elsewhere, British sailors Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills won gold in the 470 women’s event.

At the age of 36, Clark became the oldest Olympic champion in 470 women in Olympic history. She was overjoyed about the result. “I think we’re just going to smile like idiots for about a week,” she said.

In the most absorbing match in athletics, Jamaica’s superstar Usain Bolt remains on track for a historic “triple-triple” after winning the Olympic 200m gold medal.

The 29-year-old claimed his eighth Olympic sprint title in 19.78 seconds, 0.24 seconds ahead of Canada’s Andre De Grasse.

Bolt’s victory came four days after he won the Olympic 100m gold medal, defeating long-time rival Justin Gatlin by eight hundredths of a second.

Another gold medal with Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team on Saturday would give Bolt an unprecedented third straight clean sweep of Olympic sprint titles.

In women’s basketball, the United States is one win away to their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal as it beat France 86-67 in the semi-final.

The US will in the final play against Spain, which thrashed Serbia 68-54 in the other semi-final.

In women’s volleyball, Serbia made its first ever entry to an Olympic final by edging the United States 3-2 while China beat the Netherlands 3-1 in the semi-finals.

After Thursday’s finals, the United States tops the medals table with 35 golds, followed by Britain and China on 22 and 20 respectively.

–IANS

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