Rio Olympics

Olympics Round-up - August 7

Ireland's Kieran Behan in action during the Men's Artistic Gymnastics on the first day of the Rio Olympics Games, Brazil.  Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Swimming

ALL three of Ireland’s swimmers had a taste of competition over the weekend.

Nicholas Quinn was the first to take to the water as he warmed up for his main event, the 200m breaststroke, in the heats of the 100m breaststroke on Saturday. A solid swim from the Castlebar man saw him fourth in heat two in 1:01.29s, just off his best time of 1:00.95s, and placed 33rd overall. The time, though not good enough to qualify, was Quinn’s third best 100m breaststroke time ever. His top two came from the final (1:00.95s) and semi-final (1:00.00s) of the event at the Eindhoven Swim Cup, the competition where he qualified for the Games.

Quinn returns to the pool today for the 200m breaststroke.

Fiona Doyle also failed to advance when she finished a few places outside the top 16 in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:07.58s, but Shane Ryan progressed to the semi-final of the 100m backstroke as 14th fastest in a time of 53.84s.

 

 

Gymnastics

Irish artistic gymnast Kieran Behan showed immense fortitude on Saturday after completing his final floor exercise in the men’s all-around individual event despite suffering a serious knee injury during his routine.

The 27-year-old, born in London to Irish parents, failed to qualify for the finals of the six-discipline event in Rio after finishing 38th, with only the top 24 making it through.

But Behan, the second Irish gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games after Barry McDonald in 1996, reportedly dislocated his knee, sustaining the injury at the beginning of the floor exercise.

He carried on to complete the event and record a final score of 83.232, with the lowest qualification score 85.289.

Behan’s injury came on the same day France’s Samir Ait Said suffered a shocking broken leg during the qualification rounds. The 26-year-old landed badly on the vault and his left leg folded beneath him, before swinging loosely below the knee as he fell to the floor.

 

Rowing

RIO 2016 opened with the worst Olympic rowing conditions ever faced, with high winds and choppy waters leading a boat to capsize and athletes to air their frustrations.

Complicated preparations for the first-ever Games on South American soil have been focused largely on the threat of Zika and polluted water at the Rio venues, but it was natural conditions that was the main issue on the first day of rowing.

Several boats struggled to stay afloat.

Irish rower Sanita Puspure, who finished second in her heat of the women’s single sculls, said the middle of the course was “absolutely horrendous” and Egypt’s Nadia Negm warned, half-jokingly, that “if you are rowing this week you better know how to swim”.

Coleraine’s Alan Campbell, the first British rower in action, may have won his men’s single sculls heat but compared it to a coastal row he did in Northern Ireland.

“The wind comes down from the mountain,” he said before pointing to the statue in the backdrop. “Christ the Redeemer needs to spread his arms out a little more.”

Peter Chambers was part of the Great Britain’s lightweight men’s fours who qualified for the next stage as runner-up from heat two.

 

Equestrian

Rio Olympics communications chief Mario Andrada has said the Games’ equestrian venue “was not a target” after a stray bullet flew into the media centre at Deodoro on Saturday.

The facility – which also hosts the modern pentathlon, rugby sevens and shooting – is based on a military compound.

Journalists at the equestrian venue found the bullet – and a hole in the tent’s wall – but no-one was hurt and the facility was not evacuated.

 

Boxing

A media report suggests that former Irish boxing High Performance coach Billy Walsh is among the favourites to succeed Gary Keegan, who recently announced he was stepping down from his post as director of Irish Institute of Sport in September to pursue a business venture.

Walsh is now coach to the United States boxing team at the Olympic Games in Rio following an acrimonious departure from Irish boxing’s chief coach role last year.

 

Cycling

DANIEL Martin finished 13th in Saturday’s men’s road race, won by Greg van Avermaet of Belgium.

Martin’s cousin Nicholas Roche finished 29th.

 

Hockey

A game Ireland performance wasn’t enough to stave off defeat in their first Olympic hockey match for 108 years, going down 3-2 to India in a contest in which all five goals came from penalty corners.

India took a 2-0 lead at half-time before John Jermyn pulled one back and after Rupinder Pal Singh gave India some breathing space, Conor Harte set up a frantic last five minutes with Ireland’s second.

Head coach Craig Fulton put it down to “accuracy” as Ireland matched and outdid the eight-time Olympic champions for many periods.

“We just didn’t take our chances today,” he said after the tie. “It ebbed and flowed for three quarters and we finished strong in the last quarter after John Jermyn’s goal. We were playing well and had a good few chances but were just not accurate enough.

“As a team, we normally pride ourselves on that accuracy and today it didn’t fire for us. All of our flickers are good and you can see that the shots were on, we just missed the target.”

Britain’s men’s hockey team suffered a comprehensive defeat in their opening pool match against Belgium, losing 4-1 at the Olympic Hockey Centre.

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