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Double for Thompson; US sweeps hurdles
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 19 - 08 - 2016

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Elaine Thompson captured a magnificent Olympic sprint double for Jamaica Wednesday as Brianna Rollins led a first ever clean sweep of medals for the United States in the 100m hurdles.
Thompson, who sprinted to gold in the 100m Saturday, stunned Dutch world champion Dafne Schippers to win the 200m in 21.78sec.
Schippers, who stumbled dramatically as she crossed the line, took silver in 21.88 while Tori Bowie of the United States won bronze.
The victory was the latest golden night for Jamaica, who 24 hours earlier had been celebrating Omar McLeod's 110m hurdles victory.
Thompson, 24, dedicated her victory to the trailblazing Jamaican stars who had won Olympic gold over the past years.
"It is very special for me to win," she said. "I spent my childhood growing up watching Veronica Campbell-Brown and then Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce."
It was a first Olympic women's sprint double since American world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner's at the Seoul Games in 1988.
Thompson's gold also avenged her loss to Schippers in the World Championships in Beijing last year.
"I knew she had a strong finish, so I knew I had to get out there as soon as possible," Thompson said of her Dutch rival.
Jamaica's golden games is likely to continue with Usain Bolt looking unstoppable in his signature event, the 200m.
Bolt, who completed a third consecutive Olympic 100m win Sunday, romped home in his heat in a season's best of 19.78sec.
But there was a shock as Bolt's US rival Justin Gatlin — the fastest man over the distance this year — failed to make the final.
In the final event of the night, 2013 world champion Rollins led a majestic performance by America's formidable trio of 100m hurdlers.
Rollins produced a flawless display to zip over in 12.48sec ahead of compatriot Nia Ali, who took silver in 12.59. The third US hurdler, Kristi Castlin, faced an agonizing wait before her bronze medal was confirmed in 12.61sec.
The American women hugged each other and jumped up and down after the sweep was confirmed.
"It's like a sisterhood," said Rollins. "I've known these girls for years. I'm so grateful and blessed that we were able to accomplish this together."
It was the first clean sweep of the event in Olympic history.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Tianna Bartoletta of the United States upset defending champion and teammate Brittney Reese to take the long jump gold.
Bartoletta, a 2005 world champion who gave up the sport as she struggled to regain her fitness, secured victory with her penultimate leap of 7.17m to knock Reese out of the gold medal standings. Reese, who could only manage 7.15 on her final jump, had to settle for silver.
"It's just a great feeling to have pulled that off," said Bartoletta. "It's been a good night for sure."
But it was a disappointing long jump final for Darya Klishina.
The only Russian athlete allowed to compete in the track and field competition following her country's doping scandal bowed out midway through the final.
"Ten or 15 years ago I couldn't imagine that my first Olympic Games would be like this," a disappointed Klishina said.
In the day's other final, Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won gold in the men's 3,000m steeplechase.
Evan Jager of the United States won silver, while Mahiedine Mekhissi of France was awarded bronze after Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi, who had crossed the line in third place, was disqualified.
South Korea claimed the first taekwondo gold medal, restoring some pride to the country that invented the sport.
Seventh-ranked Sohui Kim defeated Tijana Bogdanovic of Serbia in a tight final where both fighters struggled to find their form. Kim won 7-6.
The bronze medals were won by Patimat Abakorova of Azerbaijan and Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand.
In the men's 58-kg division, eighth-ranked Shuai Zhao of China beat Tawin Hanprab of Thailand 6-4 to claim gold. The bronze medals were won by Luisito Pie of the Dominican Republic and Taehun Kim of South Korea.
Venezuela's Yoel Segundo
Finol secured his country's first Olympic boxing medal since 1984 Wednesday after beating Algerian Mohamed Flissi to reach the flyweight semifinals.
Finol has at least a bronze to take home, the guaranteed reward for all semifinalists, and will fight Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan Friday with the winner securing silver and a shot at gold.
The last Venezuelans to take an Olympic medal were light-flyweight Marcelino Bolivar and featherweight Omar Catari who both won bronze at the Los Angeles Games.
In the other quarterfinals, Russia's Misha Aloian beat Colombia's Ceiber Avila to set up a semifinal with China's Hu Jianguan, who defeated Cuban southpaw Yosbany Veitia.
Britain beat New Zealand 3-0 in women's hockey, with two late penalty goals securing victory in a tense, close-fought clash and a place in the final against the mighty Netherlands.
Britain led 1-0 at halftime in the semifinal but the New Zealanders kept fighting until the women in red made it safe with goals from two penalties in the last 10 minutes.
The Netherlands, defending champion and unbeaten at the Olympics since 2004, will start as favorite to take its third consecutive gold in Friday's final. But it was lucky to go through Wednesday, only beating Germany 4-3 in a penalty shootout after finishing 1-1 in normal time.
World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand became the first player to top a women's Olympic golf leaderboard in 116 years as the event made a historic Games return Wednesday.
Ariya shot a first-round 6-under-par 65 in the Rio Games, showing flashes of the form that won her last month's British Open.
But the strong South Koreans, who qualified four golfers for the Rio Games — more than any other country — remain poised for an expected gold-medal run.
South Korean world No. 5 Park In-bee and sixth-ranked Kim Sei-young were just a shot back on 66.
The tournament got under way three days after Britain's Justin Rose won the first men's gold medal in 112 years in a down-to-the

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