Olympics Day Nine: Women’s Marathon Plus More Pool Action

As some events came to an end, such as the indoor pool swimming, others are just starting to get going and heat up. The men’s water polo preliminaries continue today with some teams needing a win to have any chance of progressing into the next round of matches whilst the women’s marathon runners just have one chance to get it right to get gold.

The women competing in the three metre springboard final and the men competing in the water polo will no doubt be a mixture of concerned and relief that the famous green pools are getting drained and refilled after organisers revealed that the cause was 80 litres of hydrogen peroxide somehow ending up in the water. The chemical seen the chlorine in the open air venue neutralised and it allowed the algae to be able to grow. Nobody seems to have got ill from the water so far but several people, especially the water polo players who are in the water for around an hour have complained of itchy eyes.

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If you are unsure what to watch or which athletes and teams to keep an eye on I have written a little preview for each sport, event or match. As well as live action updates you can also find summaries of all the action after it has happened just in case you do not have time to go through the twists and turns of the event in-depth.

Ordering of events; Marathon, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo, Diving, Track And Field

Women’s Marathon

Preview

This event gets started at 1:30pm UK time, 9:30am Brazil time, and sees 160 women running just over 26 miles towards the finishing line in the hopes of getting gold. It is unlikely that the entire field, the largest field for a women’s marathon in its history, will all make it to the finish line. For this event the finish line is where the archery took place last week, the Sambódromo, and that has undergone a transformation to make it suitable for the runners to end in front of a decent seated area for the crowd.

Each country is allowed to have three entrants in this event and where they have managed that you may see a little bit of teamwork and pace making amongst them to push each other to the best. There will be a point though where each runner decides that they have to focus solely on their own game plan and one may decide to run off leaving the others behind.

A few people to watch out for in this event include Helah Kiprop (Kenya) and her two fellow Kenyan runners and Mare Dibaba (Ethiopia) and her two Ethiopian compatriots. The reigning Olympic Champion and Olympic Record holder Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) does not compete this year and will be hoping one of her countrywomen who made the team will be able to hold onto the Olympic crown. Silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) and bronze medallist Tatyana Petrova Arkcipova (Russia) do not part of the starting line up either.

Dibaba is the main favourite of the field as she is the current World Champion and that 2015 race has given her the best personal best amongst the entire field and she will be desperate to improve on her 22nd place finish in the London 2012 games. Kiprop will be her main rival though as she is showing herself to be in fine form this year after winning the Tokyo marathon with a new personal best, two minutes outside of Dibaba’s, and will be looking to improve on her second place finish behind Dibaba in the World Championships.

The USA, who normally manage at least one top ten finisher, have put together an experienced team this year but the runners have not found personal bests in recent years and will be hoping that this year, in what may be the last Olympics for some, they are able to come back and storm through to a medal position. Great Britain have only entered two runners, Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels, whilst Ireland have a team of three but all five of them are likely to be in this race enough to be able to find even the bronze medal.

Live Updates

14:00 – The race got under way 30 minutes ago. The course sees a loop that they go around three times before heading off to the finish line. It looks like organisation of the event, especially the water and feeding stations, is below standard of a lot of events and several team have left water stations without a person on them. This may cause issues by the third lap if all the water bottles are right at the back of the tables and out of comfortable reach of the runners. Some of the participants are also going to struggle though because the weather has decided to bring the warmest day since the start of the Olympics out but also linked to the fact that the organisers have changed the track several times in the last few days and that would have disrupted their preparation.

14:30 – The American Desiree Linden has taken the early lead in the race or at least in terms of controlling the pace as she keeps speeding it up and slowing it down to what suits her but it is clear that this is the way she feels the race needs to be run if she has any chance of getting a medal a at the end of the 26 miles.

14:45 – The leading pack have just managed to reach the halfway point, after running for one hour, twelve minutes and 56 seconds. It is Mazuronak (Belarus) that hits that marker point first but the front group is still fairly bunched up. A few runners have struggled to grab water bottles and then to keep hold of them for long enough to get all the water from them that they needed and that may prove crucial to their performance later in the race.

15:00 – Nine athletes are now remaining in the lead pack as Linden, the early leader, has dropped off and is running the race alone in tenth place but looks like she could catch them back up if she picks the pace up a little and the front pack remains at the speed they have gone at for a little while but it looks like the Belarus runner is thinking about increasing the pace and making this a real race before they head off to the bendy section of the course towards the finish line.

15:15 – Tsegaye the Ethiopian has just edged into the lead slightly at the 30km mark but she is unlikely to keep it up at this stage or not be caught back up by the rest of the leading group.

15:30 – There are seven runners still holding on at the front but a couple, especially one of the Americans, are starting to struggle and fade a little as the pace starts to be cranked up a little bit.

15:40 – The race has quickly gone down to three runners; Dibaba (Ethiopia) the world champion, Sumgong (Kenya) the London marathon winner and Kirwa (Bahrain).

15:50 – Dibaba has currently dropped off the top two a little and will require an epic sprint to recover the silver or gold but it looks like she will have to settle for bronze. Sumgong is starting to try to pull away from the Kenyan born Bahrain runner but she might end up pushing it a touch too much.

15:55 – For the first time a Kenyan, Sumgong, wins the Olympic women’s marathon in two hours 24 minutes and four seconds. Kirwa comes in nine seconds later and Ethiopia’s Dibaba gets bronze ahead of Tsegaye.

Summary

After a close race for the first 30km the pack slowly started to split up from ten they became seven and within moments they had become three.

Ethiopia’s Dibaba, the current world champion, was unable to hang on and quickly dropped to third and would not be able to recover the gap. Her copatriot Tsegaye nearly caught her up but Dibaba managed to cling onto third.

In the end Sumgong from Kenya is able to push harder and get the countries first gold medal in the women’s marathon with a time of two hours 24 seconds and four seconds. Bahrain’s Kirwa, who used to run for Kenya after being born there, secures the silver by crossing the line just nine seconds later.

The weather, and the poorly placed and organised water stations, resulted in several runners being unable to make it to the end of the race. The two British runners, Dixon and Samuels, finish in 28th and 30th.

Synchronised Swimming

Preview

I do not know about you but I find it pretty difficult to do anything other than dive in, swim and sort of hold myself under water for a few moments. Yet these athletes are able to twist and bend their bodies and hold themselves in a whole range of positions in the water AND at the same time in the same manner as at least once other person in the pool. They somehow make it look so effortless and the amount of training and hours they put into this moment to get to the top of their game is truly extraordinary.

Today is the first of two days of preliminary rounds for the 24 pairs competing in the women’s duets to take to the pool and will see the swimmers do a free routine before going on to do a technical routine tomorrow.

The gold medal winners at London 2012 are back and hoping to retain their Olympic title. With the Russian doping scandal there were question marks over whether Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina would be allowed to participate but they have been accepted and will now just be focussed solely on becoming back to back champions.

One half of the pair of the Spanish silver medal winning team at London 2012 return and Ona Carbonell will be hoping that with her new partner, Gemma Mengual, she can go one better and get gold. Similarly only one half of the bronze medal winning team in London 2012 return to the pool as Xuechen Huang is now partnered up with Wenyan Sun to represent China. These pairs have had a few years together to hone their skills and gel as a unit and they will be hoping that they can hold it together on the biggest stage of all.

In the free preliminary round the pairs are likely to end up with a total score of between 70 and 100. The higher the score from the judges, based on execution, difficulty and that crucial synchronisation, the better it is. The scores from today will get added to the scores tomorrow and the top 12 duets will make it through to the final where they will do another free and technical round to see who gets to take away the Olympic champion title.

Live Updates

15:05 – The Colombian duo, both competing in their first Olympics, are the first to perform and achieve just over 80.4 points from their free routine and avoid any penalties.

15:12 – Israel take to the pool second and get 78.9 points from their first routine and are likely to be a little disappointed in it.

The Greek teams outfit is really rather spectacular and would have cost a lot to produce

15:13 – The Greek team are just starting their performance and their theme is spies but their costumes are incredibly sparkly skeletal designs on the front and back. Those combined with their makeup make this pair look incredible.

15:17 – Greece’s duo go into first place with 86.1 points and it was a really good performance to watch.

15:23 – Slovakia, the fourth pair to go, find themselves in fourth place with  77.7 points. This is their first Olympics and, as they have not gone to the world championships either, were expected to just use this as a chance to showcase themselves and get the experience for the future.

15:30 – The Ukrainian pair are the first ones to get over 90 points in the first five pairs to go. The manage 93.5 which is a massive score and helped by their high difficulty being carried out to a pretty decent level of execution.

15:36 – Mexico complete their performance, which perhaps lacked that little extra something, but go into third at this early stage with 85.7 points.

15:37 – France start their routine and I am not too convinced by their choice of costumes as it looks a little confused pattern and colour combination wise.

15:40 – France look delighted after they find themselves in second with 86.8 points. That should be enough, combined with a solid technical routine tomorrow, to make it into the final.

15:46 – The Czech Republic duo complete their routine in the most underwhelming lilac costumes, with small fake cutouts covered in sparkles, so far. They get 80.5 points and currently find themselves in fifth place.

51:51 – Belarus can only manage 79 points due to a low execution score and go into seventh place at this stage but they will need a really good technical performance to secure a place in the final.

15:54 – Japan are up next and their costumes and busy and colourful but work really well. Greece are still winning on that front for me but this may be second.

15:59 – The British pair compete and have the theme of snakes, which is clearly represented in the costumes as it is shimmery and looks like snake-skin but with glitter and gems to make eyes and the wavy body rather than the usual ghastly snake pattern.

16:03 – The British duo, who were the eleventh to go, find themselves in 8th at this stage after getting a score of 79.9 points.

16:09 – Spain just finish behind the Japanese leaders with 92.76 after performing something that represented the flamenco.

16:12 – The Brazil duo get a huge roar from the crowd as they take to the platform to begin their performance. They have a focus of the Amazon for their theme and the music involves a variety of animal and nature noises. Their costumes are sparkly to make up a compilation of animals that you hear during the music.

16:15 – At the end of the performance the crowd give them a huge cheer and chant Brazil. They end their first day of the qualifications with 84 points.

16:22 – With their bolero style costumes Argentina go into 11th with 79.8 points as their execution score dragged them down a little and they lacked speed at certain points.

16:28 – Kazakhstan managed 81.4 to put themselves in 12th after their free performance but there are still nearly ten more duets to performance on this opening day.

16:32 – The Switzerland pair, who have a theme of Chinese bizarre which is represented well in the costumes, gets 83.5 points and nudges them into 8th.

16:36 – Italy’s duet have my heart as they perform to a remix of Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. They have a white and pink kriss cross costume which is very simple but is so elegant and beautiful. They keep ending up drifting apart a little in the performance but they are being very original and moving around the pool a lot. This is a great performance.

16:37 – After that really enjoyable performance to watch, which the crowd seemed to adore, Italy go into 4th place with a score of 91.13.

16:44 – China have toppled Japan, who are being trained by their old coach, off the top spot with 96.06 points. It is the difficulty score that helps them to go into the lead.

16:48 – I feel a little emotional after watching the Canadian 19-year-old and 27-year-old duet after they do a performance representing the pains of heartbreak. They get 90 points and go into 6th place.

16:54 – The Austria duet, two 18 year olds from a set of triplets, competing in their first Olympics do a performance of an interpretation of swan lake and end on 85.2 points.

17:00 – The Australian team, who live on opposite sides of Australia which makes training together a lot tougher than it is for most of the duets, finish with 74.7 points and it puts them in 21st position.

17:05 – USA do a performance representing fury and it is full of action, speed and emotion and is certainly very beautiful they make a tiny mistake in the middle. They go into 8th place with 86.4 points but it could have made 90 if they executed it better but they are delighted with their results.

17:08 – It is now time for the World and Olympic champions, the Russian duet, to perform. Their theme is mermaids and they have a beautiful costume of sparkling scales in a variety of greens and a shell pattern over their breasts in a shiny pearly white.

17:11 – The Russian performance raises the crowds noise levels and it gets a very well deserved 98 points to put them at the table of the table.

17:13 – I feel a bit sorry for the final pair out as the Egyptian duet, mainly here just to get experience, as they now have to follow on from the best performance of the round.

17:18 – The Egyptian team finish in 23rd out of the 24 teams with a score of 77 points.

Summary

After all 24 duets have performed their freestyle performance it is Russia that leads the field ahead of China and Japan with Spain just hanging on in fourth.

The Russians performance was practically faultless and came very close to 100 points and was genuinely a joy to watch. Whilst teams do not have to choose a theme to base their performance around they decided to choose mermaids and had costumes of different colours to make up scales and shells.

Japan had performed early on and held onto the lead for a fair while until the team that their coach used to look after, the Chinese duet, took to the pool and judged them down into third points.

With one day still to go because of the technical performance there are some pairs that will be hoping they can do enough to hang on or dislodge others to get a spot in the final 12. There will be no recovery into a final place position for the likes of Australia and Egypt though as they trail at the back of the pack with scores in the mid 70s.

Water Polo

Preview

The men’s water polo preliminaries continue today as the 12 teams, across two groups, battle it out for some more crucial winning points to advance out of the group stages and into the quarter-finals. Whilst only four teams, two from each group, get dropped it looks certain to include Japan and France who have lost all of their games in each group so far. The USA and Australia are also in the danger zone so will need to put in a good performance today whilst hoping that other matches swing in their favour if they want to avoid the drop zone.

Today sees the Group A preliminaries conclude with Australia needing to beat current table toppers Greece and Serbia lose to zero-pointers Japan to be able to progress to the next round. The other match in this group is Brazil v Hungary.

Whilst in Group B last place France take on top of the table Croatia and regardless of the result of the match they will be out of the competition by the end of the match so this one will be all about pride for them. The USA will need to beat Italy and hope that Montenegro lose to Spain and the goal difference goes in their favour if they want to stay in the competition and progress to the quarter-finals.

With the host nation taking part the game including Brazil, which is due to start at 12:50am UK time, is likely to be the most lively. They are only second on goals scored as Greece currently have more in their favour so they will be wanting to put in a big performance to try to top the table in their home Olympics.

Croatia are favourites to win the gold and retain their Olympic title but Brazil may end up being the team that try to stop them especially given several players had their nationality switched back to Brazilian to be able to help the host nation win at water polo on home ground. They will both be wanting to finish top of their tables to avoid a potential clash before the final.

The conclusion of the indoor swimming means that the water polo has moved from its original venue with the diving over to the swimming pool. Despite the water in the other pools being drained and no longer being green I am sure it will come to them as a welcome relief to no longer be in an outdoor pool and be surrounded by a slightly larger crowd.

A few things to mention: Teams have rolling substitutions, quarters are eight minutes long but the clock stops every time there is a goal or the referee notices something and pauses the play, coaches have time outs that they can use to discuss tactics with the players in the water and if a referee sees a serious infringement players will be excluded from the match for 20 seconds and if that happens three times they are unable to play any more in the match.

Live Updates

—– Match One —–

16:50 – The first match of the day is Montenegro v Spain in Group B and it gets going with the swim off that Montenegro win for the first spell of possession.

16:51 – Montenegro make the most of getting possession and score within the first 30 seconds of the match.

16:53 – The Spanish team respond and get the ball into the back of the net to level the match at 1-1.

16:58 – After a time out and as a Spanish player gets an exclusion the Montenegro team score to put them 2-1 up with just less than four minutes on the first quarter clock.

17:03 – Spain are awarded a penalty and make the most of it to bring the match back to 2-2 but that makes Montenegro being doing a player for 20 seconds with an exclusion rather meaningless.

17:10 – In the second quarter Montenegro are able to recover their lead again, thanks to Misic with just under six minutes to go until half time,  to make it 3-2.

17:17 – Janovic helps to increase Montenegro’s lead to 4-2 with one and a half minutes on the clock until the end of the second quarter.

17:19 – Spain snatch a goal back on the minute remaining marker to leave them trailing by just one goal at 3-4.

17:20 – The Montenegro team are no going to end the first half with only a one goal advantage if they can help it though and swiftly make it 5-3.

17:21 – Both teams are giving the end of this first half their all and grab another goal right before the hooter to leave them with less of a job to do in the second half. As they refuel and have discussions Montenegro lead 5-4.

17:28 – As the third quarter gets going Spain are able to score in the first 30 seconds to make the match level at 5-5.

17:32 – For the first time in the match Spain have taken the lead as one of the team get their first goal in the entire Olympics to make it 6-5.

17:33 – The momentum seems to have really swung in the favour of the Spanish in this second half as they now lead 7-5 with just over four minutes of the quarter remaining.

17:34 – Eventually the Montenegro team are able to find a response and reduce their deficit to just one goal, as Spain go temporarily down to six players, to make it 6-7.

17:36 – Spain score again though to give them seven different goal scorers in this match so far to show they have great depth in ability throughout their team. After the goal Montenegro decide to call for a time out to have a little tactical team talk to try to recover the game.

17:41 – The deficit between the two teams is reduced with fifteen seconds to go as Spain threaten at one end but Montenegro go on a stunning counter-attack and get the game to be just 8-7 in Spain’s favour.

17:44 – There are rolling substitutes in water polo so Spain do not suffer too much as their keeper, Lopez, has to get some medical treatment and talk to staff after he gets a bump to the head and seems to be struggling a bit with vision and he quickly returns to the pool for the start of the fourth quarter.

17:47 – The Montenegro team are able to make the most out of Spain being a player down through an exclusion and score to level the match back up at 8-8 with six minutes to go on the final quarters clock.

17:52 – Right on the hooter of having to hand the ball over, based on how long they would have had the ball in the shooting area, Spain are able to score to go ahead 9-8 in the match with less than three minutes remaining.

17:53 – Montenegro go forward with the ball at pace and Lopez is initially able to save the ball but it remains in play and Montenegro get hold of it again and are able to score. The match is now at 9-9. The Spanish coach calls an emergency time out with just less than two minutes to go.

17:57 – The match ends 9-9 and they will have to make do with sharing the match points.

—– Match Two —–

18:10 – The second game is between Australia and Greece in Group A and the first quarter swim off is won by the Australian team to take initial possession in the match.

18:12 – After winning the swim off Australia’s captain Howden is the first player to score in the match and gives his side a 1-0 lead.

18:13 – The Greek team get an equaliser as a very strong shot from Mouikis cannot be stopped and finds its way into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

18:16 – It is now Greece that has the lead, with four minutes of the first quarter remaining, as Fountoulis scores to make it 2-1.

18:18 – Australia get the match back to 2-2 as Roach sends the ball into the net with just over three minutes left on the clock.

18:20 – Greece now trail 2-3 as they had an exclusion and Campbell was able to make the most Australia having an extra player to score a shot on target.

18:23 – With a minute on the clock the score is 4-3 in the favour of the Australians as both teams are able to snatch another goal.

18:24 – With fifteen seconds left on the clock Cotterill scores for Australia to give them a two goal cushion going into the second quarter at 5-3.

18:29 – Kayes, who has scored multiple goals in previous matches, get his first goal of the game to make it 7-3 early into the second quarter. The Greek team are trying to respond but the Australian keeper, Stanton-French, is in very fine form and keeps making block after block.

18:32 – Vlachopoulos drives the ball under the arms of the goalkeeper to reduce their goal deficit to three points as the match stands at 4-7.

18:33 – With just over five minutes of the quarter left the Australian captain Howden gets his second goal of the match, by sending the ball from long distance into the left corner of the net just beyond the reach of the Greek keeper, to put his team ahead 8-4.

18:38 – The Greek team are being the slightly more clumsy, despite only having two exclusions in the match so far, as they give the ball away whilst they are on the attack and Howden is able to get his third goal of the match to give Australia the 9-4 lead with just over a minute remaining on the second quarter clock.

18:41 – A bit of improvisation sees the Australian Swift backhand the ball into the back of the net to but his team 10-4 up with just a few moments left on the clock.

18:46 – The second half gets under way and Australia are the ones to get hold of the ball for possession.

18:52 – Australia call a time out with just over four minutes left on the third quarter clock after being unable to score since before half time. Greece have also been unable to score so, from a watching point of view, it has been a rather dry quarter so far.

18:55 – Greece call a time out with Swift having an exclusion for Australia to try and discuss how to make the most of it and claw a goal back in this game. If Greece do not start scoring soon they are going to struggle to be able to get anything out of this game.

18:56 – As one exclusion ends the Australians end up getting another one and Fountoulis is able to get his third goal of the match to leave them trailing against Australia’s ten goals by five.

18:59 – The third quarter comes to an end without Australia being able to find a goal as Greece gain more defensive control and composure to block them out but luckily for the Australians their opposition have generally struggled to move forward and score long range shots.

19:03 – Australia open the final quarter by scoring a goal and going 11-5 ahead but they end up with two players quickly going into the exclusion zone. Greece are unable to keep hold of it however and no damage is done to the scoreline from the silly errors by the Australian duo.

19:04 – Greece score to make it 11-6 in Australia’s favour thanks to Dervisis who gets his third goal of the Olympics.

19:11 – Australia make the most of having an extra player in the pool, as Greece receive their third exclusion on the match, and it allows Cotterill to score with just over a minute on the clock to put them 12-6 ahead.

19:13 – In the dying moments of the game Australia get another exclusion and Greece are able to get their seventh goal of the match. The hooter goes seconds later and Australia win 12-7.

—– Match Three —–

19:30 – The third match of the day sees a return to Group B action with the USA taking on Italy. This game is meaningless to the USA team but they will want to put in a good performance for pride and to give themselves some added confidence to carry on into the future.

19:32 – Italy have taken the early one goal lead after the USA get a really exclusion in the game. The American squad will be desperate to get a goal back quickly to stop this turning into a long and painful game for them to participate in.

19:34 – The USA have a chance to score but Samuels gets dispossessed near the goal, as he seems to be going alone, and Italy have a chance to go on the counter-attack.

19:37 – It is the Italians that get the second goal but a long range shot from the USA mean that they are still only ahead by one goal as the match stands at 2-1 with four minutes left on the first quarter clock.

19:41 – Samuels scores for the USA and equalises the match to 2-2. That will no doubt be a relief for him after he missed out on an earlier chance.

19:42 – The USA end up going down to six men for twenty seconds and the Italian team wave the ball around at close range before passing it to Aicardi who helps them to resume a lead of 3-2.

19:45 – Figouli scores in the final couple of seconds of the first quarter to put Italy up 4-2 going into the next round of eight minutes.

19:49 – Nearly two minutes into the second quarter Bonanni scores for the seventh time during the Olympics to leave USA trailing just 3-4.

19:54 – Italy are a player short in the pool as they receive an exclusion and Cupido is able to find a way to get through the remaining Italian players to score and bring the match level at 4-4.

19:56 – The ball is sent over the top of the American keeper, out of reach of his arms being able to close in on time, and Italy resume the lead at 5-4 with two and a half minutes left in the first half.

19:58 – USA are really wanting to keep hold of the draw or the win and manage to make it 5-5 just seconds after they conceded. There is just a minute left on the clock now in this second quarter.

19:59 – Italy make a serious mistake and give the USA a penalty but the keeper puts really strong hands against it to save the shot and regain possession of the ball. Another time out is called and both sides have now used two each (of the allocated four in a match).

20:01 – Just as the clock is running down and Italy were running out of time to have a shot on target Italy are able to score and put them ahead 6-5 at half time.

20:09 – USA are able to score as Obert hits the ball in after it is rebounded of the Italian keeper. The match is now back level at 6-6.

20:11 – The ball just sneaks past the American keeper, much to his disappointment, to allow Italy retake the lead 7-6.

20:12 – Samuels scores again for the USA to level the match at 7-7 with just under five minutes left on the third quarter clock.

20:17 – The Italian team nearly score but the ball ends up going straight into the Americans stomach for him to block it and catch it to regain possession. The coach calls a time out a few moments later.

20:20 – USA take the lead with fifteen seconds left on the third quarter clock ad Obert gets the ball really close to the keeper but finds a way round. The third quarter ends 8-7 in the American teams favour.

20:25 – Azevado scores for USA to help them extend their lead to 9-7 with six minutes left of the match.

20:29 – It looks like the USA are going to be able to leave this competition on a positive note as Bonanni scores to out them 10-7 up with three minutes remaining.

20:36 – The match is over and USA have won 10-7 to get some pride back from this competition.

—– Match Four —–

20:50 – Group B carries on here as France take on Croatia. As both teams are introduced to the crowd they look a lot more nervous than usual and a few are even rubbing their hands uncontrollably whilst looking like they could be sick. Both teams clearly really want to win this match. Croatia will want to win to top then group whilst France are playing for pride to at end the competition with at least a point in the group stages.

20:54 – A few minutes into the match and the French keeper has made a string of great saves but the defence really should be helping him out a little more.

20:55 – After leaving the keeper to stop the Croatian team on his own for the first four minutes of the match he is able to do it no more and the ball bounces of the post and behind him to give Croatia a 1-0 lead.

20:57 – Blary scores for France to make the match 1-1 with three minutes of the first quarter remaining.

21:00 – France take the lead in the match by scoring again a game play minute after the last one. They now have the lead 2-1.

21:03 – The ball bounces off the post as Krapic tries to score at short range but he is able to get back hold of it and makes it 2-2.

21:05 – Despite there not being much time left on the clock France manage to squeeze another goal in the end the first quarter 3-2 ahead.

21:09 – France give away a penalty but their keeper is able to save it. A moment later though the Croatian team have a go at goal and the French defence mess up and practically push the player and the ball into the net to the absolute despair of the keeper. It is now level 3-3.

21:14 – Manzouki scores for France to put them 4-3 up and then they have another quick chance as the ball slowly moves through the waves and crosses the line before the keeper is able to get to it to put them 5-3 up.

21:16 – Bukic helps to reduce Croatia’s deficit by finding the back of the net to make the score 4-5 with three minutes left before half-time.

21:22 – At half time both teams have scored again and France go into the break leading 6-5. The French keeper will be desperate for better defending in front of him whilst the Croatian coach will be keen on his players to apply more pressure without then immediately conceding at the other end.

21:28 – Sukno, one of the Croatian players, scores his 24th goal in two Olympics to bring the match level at 6-6 from a long range shot.

21:33 – France goes 7-6 ahead as Simon uses his right arm to launch the ball towards the near left post and the Croatian keeper dives towards it but is unable to reach it before it bounces off the netting behind him.

21:36 – Marzouki scores his third goal of the match to give France, who have not won any matches in their group so far, a two cushion lead with two minutes to go in the third quarter.

21:44 – Sukno is able to score again after toying with the French player to make him move around before deciding on a place to aim for. He reduces the French lead to 8-7 and gets a wry smile from the keeper as he knew there was very little he was going to be able to do about it when the ball came towards him and the net.

21:47 – Croatia use their last time out of the match, with just over four minutes of the match left, to try and motivate the team and help them to recover that goal deficit and even possible be able to take the lead. France have only used two of their time outs so far but use it as a chance to have a quick discussion as well.

21:49 – The goal difference increases as France’s Peisson is able to score his first goal of the match to put them 9-7 ahead.

21:55 – The method applied from Sukno for his previous goals gets used by him again, as he spins the wall around in the air, for his third goal on the match to reduce France’s lead to 9-8. They nearly manage to get an equalising goal but the keeper catches it and the decision is no goal. France finally win a game and it happens to be against the defending champions but it is too late to take them into the quarter-finals.

—– Match Five —–

23:30 – Serbia take on Japan in the first match of the evening session. Japan have lost every single match in Group A so far so will be wanting to finish the competition on a high note whilst Serbia need a win to get into the quarter-finals.

23:35 – Japan are starting hard and score three goals in the opening four minutes of game play. Serbia also manage one goal but they trail 1-3 in the opening quarter of this must win match.

23:39 – It seems that Japan have finally decided to bring their a-game to the competition just a little too late as they score yet another goal. Serbia need to make some serious changes to their team line up if they want any chance of keeping in touch with the opposition throughout this match.

23:40 – The Serbian team manage to recover a goal and reduce the deficit thanks to a successful shot from Nikic to leave them trailing 2-4 with three minutes of the first quarter remaining.

23:41 – Japan take another shot towards goal but the keeper is able to make his first stop of the match to deny them of advancing their lead any further. It will no doubt be a relief for him and his team to know that not all the balls are going to go against them in this match.

23:42 – There is a counter-attack from the Japanese team as the ball is launched forward to Takei and he is able to bounce it off of the water and into the goal to make it 5-2.

23:43 – The hooter for the end of the first quarter goes and Japan lead 5-2 going into the very short break. Serbia will use this moment to have a quick team talk with their coach before getting the second quarter under way.

23:50 – Japan’s coach calls his teams first time out of the match and will be trying to bring about fresh life and enthusiasm into his team as the goals have somewhat dried up as we enter five minutes remaining of the second quarter.

23:52 – It looked like Serbia had scored but the series of events happens so quickly that it then looks like a player has blocked it and then the keeper but it actually just bounces off the post and way out of the court. It remains 5-2 to Japan with three minutes left in the first half.

23:54 – One of the Japanese players gets an exclusion and Serbia make the most of it to call a time out and discuss tactics to try and get a goal. Everybody expected Serbia to get through the group stages coming into this competition so the pressure to perform may well be getting to them whilst the Japanese team can just play.

23:55 – The team talk in the time out clearly worked for the Serbian team and a little bit later, despite Japan being back to a full strength squad, are able to score a goal to reduce their deficit to 3-5.

23:56 – Suddenly the Japan defence seems to have completely melted away and are not marking their opposition or placing themselves in sensible positions. They give Pijetlovic the chance to score and he takes it to leave Serbia only trailing by one goal.

23:58 – The match is now level at 5-5 as Mandic crosses a ball across the net for Croatia and out of reach of the keeper with not enough time left on the clock for the Japanese team to do anything with possession before half time.

00:05 – The second half gets started after the teams have a short break and Serbia score in less than 30 seconds to give them the lead for the first time in the match at 6-5.

00:09 – The goals are coming again as quickly as they did in the first quarter as with just under five minutes of the third quarter remaining the momentum has really shifted to Serbia and they are leading 8-6, thanks to a couple of long shots, against a quickly tiring Japan team.

00:11 – Mitrovic makes the most of the keeper stopping the ball and then having to chase after it and is able to finally get it into the net to increase Serbia’s lead to 9-6. They need this win and are not willing to give up the fight as easily as it initially looked like they had.

00:13 – Japan are awarded a penalty and they score it, by sending it to the far right top corner just past the keepers arm reach as he leaps towards it, to reduce their deficit to 7-9.

00:16 – One of the Serbian players receive an exclusion so the Japanese coach calls his second time out of the game to discuss further tactics with his team but their shot on goal afterwards gets stopped and the possession gets turned back over.

00:19 – The third quarter comes to an end with Serbia leading 9-7.

00:30 – After a little confusion about the scoreline as the boards by the pool have a few technical issues Serbia lead 12-8 with just under three minutes left on the clock of the fourth quarter.

00:36 – Serbia have done enough to win the match 12-8 and get into the quarter-finals regardless of the result of the final match of Group A that is still to happen.

—– Match Six ——

00:50 – The last match of the day, and of Group A, is between host nations Brazil and Hungary. if Hungary do not win this match they will be tied in fourth with Australia and as they tied their match with Australia (normally it is whoever won that match) it will come down to overall goal difference.

00:56 – It takes nearly four minutes of the first quarter before a goal is scored. It goes to Hungary thanks to Varga and they have the 1-0 lead.

00:59 – Hungary are able to score their second of the match to double their lead as Brazil have been unable to find the back of the net in the first five minutes. 2-0.

01:03 – Again the Hungarian team are able to score and have a 3-0 lead with less than a minute to go before the end of the first quarter. Brazil call a time out to try to find a way to score a goal and stop the Hungarian team.

o1:13 – Brazil get an exclusion and before the player can even swim to the waiting zone Harai scores for Hungary to give them a 4-0 lead with five minutes of the first quarter remaining.

01:23 – Whilst Hungary have scored to now have five Brazil also score and the crowd get on their feet and the roof is lifted with delight. At half time Hungary lead 5-1.

01:34  – It takes a couple of minutes at the start of the third quarter before there are any goals and then in the space of three minutes both teams grab two goals each to make it 7-3 in the Hungarian teams favour. Perrone scores both of them for Brazil and like previous matches looks like their most dangerous player in front of goal.

01:38 – Again the roof erupts as Brazil score their fourth goal of the match to leave them trailing just three behind Hungary with just under two minutes left on the clock of the third quarter.

01:41 – Hungary send the ball into the close quarter to the net and Harai is able to spin himself in the water with the ball to launch it into the back of the net to give them an 8-4 lead.

01:47 – Kis scores for the Hungarian team to extend their lead to 9-4 with six minutes of the match remaining.

01:53 – There are just two and a half minutes left on the game clock and it looks like Hungary are going to do enough to win the match and push themselves up the group table to get an automatic qualifying spot and send Australia home.

01:55 – The Brazil team manage to get another goal and whilst it is perfectly possible with the amount of time on the clock it seems unlikely given their performance that they will do enough to win the match.

01:56 – Hungary have scored again to make it 10-5 in their favour with just under two minutes left on the clock.

01:58 – It seems that Brazil have finally found a way to break the Hungary team down and score to put them at 6-10 with a minute left on the clock. The cheers from the crowd have slowly decreased as they realise it is not going to be enough to win them the match.

Summary

The first match of the day, between Spain and Montenegro in group B, ends in a draw at 9-9. Spain’s keeper made some excellent saves and several of the goals were absolutely nothing that he, or most keepers, would have been able to do anything about.

Australia win, to give themselves every chance of sneaking into the quarter-finals in fourth from the group, against Greece and both teams will have to wait until later games in Group A have finished to find out overall ranking on the table.

Despite already being knocked out of the competition the USA can go away on a high note after beating Italy in their Group B match. Italy will be disappointed to not win and improve their own ranking position going into the next round.

France manage to get their first victory of the competition, despite already being out and unable to go to the quarter-finals, against the current Olympic champions Croatia in Group B. It will be a real boost to the moral of the team to have beaten them 9-8.

After a tricky beginning to the match Serbia secure a 12-8 win over Japan and are safely through to the quarter-finals regardless of the result in the final Group A game. Japan end the competition without a single win or draw against their name.

Brazil lose against Hungary but they are still through to the quarter-finals. Hungary winning 10-6 mean they are also out of the group stage. It looked like the Brazil team were not on their A game or perhaps saving a little bit of energy for the next round.

Spain, Croatia, Italy and Montenegro have secured a quarter-final spots from Group B whilst France and USA see their hopes of medals crushed as they leave the competition.

Women’s 3m Springboard

Preview

After preliminaries and semi-finals 12 divers have made the cut to compete in the final that starts at 8pm UK time. There were a few issues in the semi-finals, apart from not being able to see them after their body entered the water because of the dark green pool, regards the slackness of the diving boards. Several divers struggled to keep their balance on the run ups and their scores were damaged as a result.

Of the three medallists at London 2012 only He Zi (China) that got silver is going to feature in this final. In the semi-finals she was just over 20 points behind her compatriot Tingmao Shi so will be looking to make big improvements to go one better than she managed at her last Olympic games.

Grace Reid from Great Britain just managed to sneak into the final in the 11th place but is very unlikely to get anywhere near the medals. Abigail Johnston (USA) and Jennifer Abel (Canada) may be able to spoil the Chinese party to at least split them on the podium but gold may just be out of their her without the Chinese divers making a serious mistake in at least one of their dives.

Live Updates

20:06 – The divers take part in reverse order to what they qualified in and the competition is under way. The pool is currently a very dark blue rather than the previously unwanted green shade.

20:14 – After one round the two Chinese divers are both on 81 points at the top of the leader board but there is still a long way to go and mistakes can happen.

20:22 – At this early stage in the competition a few divers are finding themselves going sideways from the diving board as they rotate and also over rotating going into the water.

20:27 – Round two still sees the two Chinese athletes tied as they both get 81 points again to put them on 162 and give them an 11 point lead ahead of the rest of the field.

20:36 – It looks like the American Johnston is not going to be able to reach the medals after she ends up rotating too quickly and going over as she is heading into the water and resulting in a low third round score.

20:41 – At the end of the third round it is confirmed that Johnston is now in last as Shi (China) takes a ten point lead ahead of her compatriot He.

20:55 – Four rounds in and the British diver Reid is up to 8th place whilst Shi has extended her lead over He and they remain first and second on the leader board.

21:10 – He can only manage silver for the second Olympic games in a row as she finishes nearly 20 points behind Shi. Cagnotto (Italy) beats Abel by just over five points.

Summary

The two Chinese divers started the competition being unable to be split as they both finished the first two rounds of dives with 81 points to give them 162 each going into the third of the five rounds. After the third round Shi had established a ten point lead and that continued to develop after each round to allow her to add Olympic champion to her World champion title with 406 points overall. He was left to take the silver medal like she was four years ago.

There was also a battle developing for bronze between Abel (Canada) and Cagnotto (Italy) but on the final round of dives the Italian pulls out a cracking dive whilst Abel’s can only manage 69 points and as a result the Canadian loses out on bronze by just over five points.

Great Britain’s Reid was able to move up the table from her opening round dive to finish in eighth place.

Track And Field

Preview

Today sees the big showdown between Justin Gatlin (USA) and Usain Bolt (Jamaica), providing neither of them face any shocks in the semi-finals before hand, in the men’s 100m final. The men also see the 400m race come to a conclusion whilst the women have the chance of getting a medal in the triple jump.

As well as those finals there are qualifying rounds and semi-finals for the women’s 400m and 1500m as well as the men’s high jump to give the crowds in the Olympic stadium a great variety of events and a moment to breath between all the medal excitement.

In the women’s triple jump, due to happen between 12.55am and 2.20am UK time, Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) will be one of the competitors to keep an eye on despite getting through the qualifying round in 6th place.

London 2012 silver medallist Caterine Ibargüen (Colombia) finished the qualifying round with a distance of 14.52m just 9cm ahead of the Greek Papachristou and are both looking in good form with a good chance of getting a medal.

The three above jumpers will need to watch out for defending Olympic champion Olga Rypakova (Kazakstan) who qualified in third place with a distance of 14.39m, a whole 49cm shorter than her winning distance in London 2012, and looks like she might have a little more to give in the final.

In the men’s 400m final Bralon Taplin (Grenada) goes in one of the middle lanes and looks the favourite to win the race after easing off comfortably in the previous rounds to make it into the final fastest. But he lines up next to LaShawn Merritt (USA) and he will be his biggest competition for the gold.

The rest of the field should not be ruled out of however and lane eights Wayne Van Niekerk (South Africa) should be watched with one eye as they go around to see where he is as they come out of the last bend. Matthew Hudson-Smith (Great Britain) has also made it into this final but is likely to need the race of his life to get a medal out of it.

Live Coverage

—– Women’s 400m —–

00:33 – The first semi-final takes place and includes Ohuruogu (Great Britain) and Francis (USA) and they come out into the stadium and get introduced to the crowd as they stand by their blocks.

00:36 – Francis wins the first heat in 50.3 seconds and is followed by Mcpherson (Jamaica) for them to both secure the automatic qualifying spots in the final.

00:43 – Jackson (Jamaica) looks shocked as the times are announced and she gets a personal best with 49.8 seconds to win the race and Hastings (USA) gets the second automatic qualifying spot.

00:48 – The third and final heat has the current world champion Felix (USA) and Miller (Bahamas) in. The others are almost certainly going to have to just run faster than the others to get a fastest loser spot (currently 50.4 and 50.88 seconds).

00:51 – Felix and Miller do both get the automatic qualifying spots by both easing down way before the line to just take a comfortable jog over the line and still go into the final as one of the fastest qualifiers.

—– Men’s 100m —–

00:58 – The first semi-final athletes come out onto the track and prepare themselves to try and win one of the available automatic qualifying spots.

01:02 – The first automatic spot goes to Vicaut (France) with a time of 9.95 seconds and Meite (Ivory Coast) grabs the second available spot.

01:07 – Bolt (Jamaica) and Ujah (Great Britain) take part in the second semi-final. How good will bolt look ahead of the final tonight? Or will there be a big upset?

01:08 – Fisher, who only got clearance to participate for Bahrain after originally representing Jamaica on the 9th August, leaves the blocks early and gets disqualified.

01:10 – Bolt wins in 9.86 seconds and is joined in the final be De Grasse (Canada). Ujah finishes in 10.01 but the 1000th of a second puts him into fourth and that is likely to result in him just missing out on a fastest loser spot.

01:16 – The reaction to Gatlin (USA) from the crowd is very mixed but he is favourite to win the final semi-final. He competes with Blake (Jamaica) and Cambridge (Japan).

01:17 – Gatlin wins the heat in 9.94 seconds to get the first automatic qualifying spot along with Blake getting the second.

02:30 – Bolt wins comfortably ahead of the field. Gatlin gets silver. De Grasse gets bronze.

Summary

I mentioned it in the preview of today’s events that South Africa’s Niekerk was the not talked about threat to the 400m men’s final. And in the end he won the race with a new World Record of 43.03 seconds to beat James and Merritt to the line. All three runners make history by becoming the first three runners to get the three medals in under 44 seconds.

Bolt wins the 100m ahead of Gatlin and De Grasse. If this ends up being the last Olympics for both Bolt and Gatlin then De Grasse may very well become one of the next superstars (along with Niekerk). He has now won this event for three Olympics in a row.

One thought on “Olympics Day Nine: Women’s Marathon Plus More Pool Action

  1. Pingback: Olympics Day Ten: Mammoth Swims And High Hurdles | Cooking Up A Treat

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