HPN #Rio2016 – Day 2 recap

Best News of the Day

There’s probably not going to be a bigger upset at this games than Mathews Punza beating Golan Pollack in the men’s 66kg Judo. You see, Pollack was the bronze medalist in the 2015 World Championships, and was ranked 7 in the world in July.

Punza, on the other hand, was ranked around 117 in the world, and forced out of the London Olympics in uncertain circumstances. He had nothing to lose, and he fought like it.
After a shaky early start, Punza got Pollack to the ground and held him down for 20 seconds, winning the match right there and them. It’s results like these that make the Olympics worthwhile.

Villain of the Day

It’s not their fault, but for much of Dustin Brown’s match against Thomas Belluci the crowd booed Brown relentlessly. It’s somewhat understandable – Belluci was the hometown hero, and Brown was beating him down. But it wasn’t the best look for the games to date.

And then Brown went down, due to a rolled ankle. And they kept jeering. But when it was clear that it was serious, and that he couldn’t continue, the crowd cheered his effort, as they should have.

Highlight of the Day

Majlinda Kelmendi – Women’s Judo 52kg

The judo has been great so far this games, with a couple of odd rule tweaks making it even more inexplicable. It’s hard to go past the achievements of Majlinda Kelmendi in winning Kosovo’s first gold medal, in their first Olympics as a nation. As the other favourites went down around her in a chaotic competition, Kelmendi held her nerve and pulled through.

Results from countries that aren’t STRAYA

WORLD RECORDS IN THE POOL! Four events in the pool, and three of them ended in dominant performances and world records. Peaty, Ledecky and Sjostrom should feel proud of themselves right now, and the USA won the men’s 4x100m as could be expected.

Anna van der Breggen won a chaotic women’s road race, with Annemiek van Vleuten crashing 10kms from the end whilst in the lead, fracturing her spine. The road race course has been on the edge of dangerous, but the injury toll from the last two days shows that it was a little more than that.

China predictably won the women’s 3m synchro diving, as did South Korea in the women’s team archery. An Baul was another favourite, in the 66kg judo, run the board and take the gold. Hsu Shu-ching won the women’s 53kg weightlifting as expected. Daniele Garozzo pulled away in a tight individual foil competition.

Elsewhere, tennis number 1 seed Novak Djokovic was knocked out by Juan Martin Del Potro, who has had a very tough last few years. It was a terrible day for siblings in tennis, with both the Murray brothers and Williams sisters knocked out of the doubles tournament.

As mentioned yesterday, the rowing is absolute chaos and the entire day was cancelled.

STRAYA news

Catherine Skinner shot her way to gold in the women’s trap, which yeah is a thing. There’s a lot of shooting here. The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay put in a solid effort to snag bronze, as did Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith in the 3m synchronised springboard. But whilst McKeon, Packard, Cook and the like put in great efforts in the pool there was no further jewelry collected by Australia.

Elsewhere, the men’s hockey team went down in a surprise upset to Spain after going down 1-0 early, and the Opals basketball team squeaked home against Turkey. Larrisa Miller struggled to make an impact in the gymnastics, Serena Williams knocked out Daria Gavrilova in the tennis and Ian Borrows got through in the whitewater canoeing.

Most excitingly, the Australian women’s rugby team is through to the semi finals, with a great chance of making a dream Australia-New Zealand final happening.

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