The Belarusian sprinter who refused to board a flight home from Japan after allegedly being taken to the airport against her will is "safe" and being protected at a hotel, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, was in Tokyo to contest the women's 200 metres and 4x400m relay events but was told to pack her things after publicly criticising her team's organisation on social media.

She claimed a Belarusian coach entered her for the relay despite her never racing in the event before, which she suggested was a result of members of the team being considered ineligible due to not completing enough doping tests.

The Belarus National Olympic Committee (NOC) said her withdrawal from competition was due to her "emotional, psychological state", but Tsimanouskaya insisted she was being forced to leave Tokyo "without my consent".

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation indicated Tsimanouskaya feared for her life upon returning to Minsk. The country is under the authoritarian leadership of president Alexander Lukashenko, whose son Viktor heads the NOC.

Last December, IOC president Thomas Bach banned both men from attending the Games, declaring: "The IOC has come to the conclusion that it appears that the current leadership has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member federations or the sports movement."

Tsimanouskaya managed to alert police at the airport, and IOC spokesman Mark Adams later said at a news conference: "She assured us and has assured us that she feels safe and secure. She spent the night at an airport hotel in a safe and secure environment.

"The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with her and the Japanese authorities to determine the next step in the upcoming days."

Tsimanouskaya has already been offered a visa by Poland.

Jamaica’s bold ambitions of chasing a double sprint sweep evaporated in unexpected fashion after 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson failed to advance from the heats.

It was, however, the way in which Jackson saw her bid for another individual medal slip away that left onlookers slack-jawed.  Competing in heat 5, the athlete, one of the fastest women in the event this year, seemed well in control of the race early on but began to cruise closer to the line.

The Jamaican was passed by Portugal’s Lorène Bazolo and also Italy’s Dalia Kaddari at the finish.  Kaddari finished third in 23.26, the same time as Jackson but advanced when the times were rounded down further.  With the heat being one of the slower events Jackson was also unable to advance as one of the fastest losers.  Jackson’s heat was won by the Bahamas’ Anthonique Strachan.

There was no such trouble for Jackson’s compatriot, defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who advanced from heat 6 after finishing in third position.  The heat was won by Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel with Great Britain’s Beth Dobbin second.

100m silver medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also advanced in comfortable fashion after winning heat 2 in 22.22.  Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi was second in 22.63, with the Netherland’s Dafne Schippers also securing qualification with her third-place finish of 23.13.

The women’s semi-finals will take place on Monday at 5:25 am.

 

After the high of winning three straight titles, Jamaica did not contest the final of the Olympic men’s 100m for the first time in two decades, as the event culminated on Sunday.

In the end, history was made as the title went to Italy’s Marcell Jacobs, which was the first time that country was winning the title.  At the starter blocks, however, the famous black, green, and gold gear, which has become synonymous with speed, particularly over the last decade, was nowhere to be seen.

The country’s two representatives in the event Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville exited the competition at the semi-final stage.  Seville failed to advance after finishing fourth in semi-final two, with a time of 10.09.  Blake saw his bid come to an end after finishing a disappointing 6th in semi-final 1, with a time of 10.14.  The country’s other entrant Tyquendo Tracey, Jamaica's national champion, pulled out of the competition before the heats after sustaining an injury.

It was a particularly disappointing end for Blake, likely to be in his final Olympics. For several years he was considered the heir apparent to compatriot Usain Bolt, who dominated the event for the last three editions, the first man in history to do so.  Blake has the second-fastest time ever run over the event (9.69) and finished just behind the great sprinter at the 2012 edition of the Games in London.

Since sustaining devastating hamstring injuries in 2013 and 2014, however, Blake has not come close to rediscovering his best form.  At the previous edition of the event in Rio 2016, he finished just outside the medals behind Canada's Andre De Grasse, the USA’s Justin Gatlin, and Bolt.

 

Decorated track and field icon Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce called being a part of a Jamaican clean sweep of the medals, for the second time at the Olympics, a blessing.

The two-time Olympic Champion released a statement on Instagram after winning the silver medal behind teammate Elaine Thompson-Herah in the Women’s 100 Metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this historic moment. Gracing the podium in a 1-2-3 sweep for Jamaica on two separate occasions is a tremendous blessing,” Fraser-Pryce said.

The trio of Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson repeated the feat of herself, Sherone Simpson, and Kerron Stewart in Beijing 13 years ago, the only difference being on that occasion Simpson and Stewart shared the silver medal.

After thanking her friends, family, coach, and sponsors, Fraser-Pryce assured her fans that the job is not yet complete.

“I continue to keep my head in the game because there is still work to do.”

The multiple-time World Champion also offered some perspective on what legacy means to her.

“Legacy isn’t just about winning, it’s also about gracefully watching others shine too.”

Fraser-Pryce ended her statement by encouraging her fans to keep their spirits high for the 200 metres.

The heats of the women’s 200 metres begin on Sunday.

 

 

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah defended her Olympic title in emphatic fashion, as the country made a clean sweep of the medals in the Women’s 100m on Saturday.

In a superb display of sprinting, the Jamaican powered to the line in a time of 10.61, the fastest in the world this year, and now the second-fastest in history.  Fraser-Pryce, the world champion, who had gone into the event as favourite, was second with a time of 10.74, with Jackson, previously a 400m athlete who stepped down to the sprints earlier this year, third in 10.76.

Heading into the Games, it was Fraser-Pryce who had received all of the headlines, as the 34-year-old looked to be in prime position to secure a historic third Olympic gold medal in the event.  She had run the fastest time in the world at 10.63 and netted a win over both her compatriots at the Jamaica National Championships.

Thompson-Herah had, however, looked in superb form since and sent warning signs when she effortlessly coasted to win in 10.82 to open the competition.  She then followed that up with another fast 10.76 clocking, in the semi-final, run in a manner that suggested she plenty left in the tank.  She clearly did.

Thompson-Herah’s time also broke the Olympic record set by American Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

“Disappointed, hurt, and entirely confused”. That is how Jamaican national champion Tyquendo Tracey described his emotions following the first round of the men’s 100 metres on Saturday.

Tracey did not start in heat 1 of the event, this morning, leaving many fans to wonder why.

  The 28-year-old took to his personal Instagram page to provide some clarity on the situation.

 “A few days ago, while training, I felt a sharp pain in the back of my leg while running from the blocks," Tracey explained.

“The pain was enough for me to have to stop training for the evening," he said.

  After doing an ultrasound, Tracey was under the impression that the injury was not serious. However, whilst getting ready for this morning’s heat, the sprinter said that the pain worsened. His injury was kept quiet in hopes that he would be ready to compete in round 1 but he did not recover in time.

Heat 1 was eventually won by the USA’s Ronnie Baker in a time of 10.03 seconds. It is not yet known whether he will be fit in time for the men’s 4x100 metre relay.

 He ended his Instagram post by saying, “To everyone who supported me, just want to say thanks and I will make it up to everyone including myself. Nuff love and respect!”

The Caribbean made a big wave in the pool at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games earlier today.

It all started with Vincentian Shane Cadogan winning heat 4 of the Men’s 50m Freestyle in a time of 24.71 seconds. He finished ahead of Nigeria’s Alassane Seydou Lancina (24.75) and Bangladesh’s Ariful Islam (24.81).

Trinidad’s Dylan Carter and Cayman’s Brett Fraser tied for second in heat 6 of the same event. Their times were faster than Cadogan’s, finishing in 22.46 seconds. Renzo Tjon-a-joe of Suriname was also in that heat. He finished 6th in a time of 22.56 seconds. Serbia’s Andrej Barna won the heat in 22.29 seconds.  

Meanwhile, Aleka Persaud finished second in heat 4 in the women’s equivalent. The Guyanese swam a time of 27.76 seconds. St.Vincent’s Mya de Freitas also swam in heat 4, finishing 4th in a time of 28.57 seconds. The heat was won by Papau New Guinea’s Judith Meauri in a time of 27.56 seconds. More Caribbean swimmers turned out in the following heat. St. Lucian Mikali Charlamagne (26.99) and Antigua’s Samantha Roberts (27.63) finished 2nd and 6th respectively. Cameroon’s Norah Milanesi finished 1st in a time of 26.41 seconds. Elinah Phillip from the British Virgin Islands swam well for second place in heat 6. She finished behind Ecuador’s Anicka Delgado (25.36) in a time of 25.74 seconds.

None of these competitors were able to advance to the semifinals of their event. The semifinals of the men’s and women’s 50m Freestyle will take place tomorrow.

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended after a positive test for human growth hormone. She was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics on Saturday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said Okagbare tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19. The AIU says it was only informed of the finding on Friday, after Okagbare had already run in the 100-meter heats at the Tokyo Games.

The AIU informed Okagbare of the finding and her provisional suspension on Saturday morning.

Okagbare won her heat in 11.05 seconds at the Olympic Stadium to progress to the semis.

St. Lucian Swimmer, Mikaili Charlemagne, has set a new national record in the women’s 50m freestyle.

Despite failing to advance to the semifinal round, Charlemagne who competed earlier today swimming out of lane 5, in heat 5, finished 2nd with a time of 26.99, lowering the previous national record of 27.27 which she had set in 2019.

The heat was won by Cameroon’s Norah Elizabeth Milanesi who was clocked a time of 26.41 and Fiji’s Cheynne Rova rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 27.11.

Also competing in the heat was Antigua’s Samantha Roberts, who finished 6th, touching home with a time of 27.63, her fastest time since 2016.

This was the first time Charlemagne has competed in the Women’s 50m Freestyle at a major senior competition since 2017 when she participated at the World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary.

Charlemagne, who recently turned 18-years-old, is a student-athlete at Springfield College in the United States. She is the second St. Lucian swimmer to compete at this year’s Olympics, her teammate Jean-Luc Zephir competed yesterday in the Men’s 100m Freestyle, finishing his heat in 6th place.

 

 

Simone Biles explained how her mind and body were "simply not in sync" as she discussed her withdrawal from the team and all-around gymnastics finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

The four-time gold medallist from Rio registered the lowest score of the first rotation in Tuesday's team event before leaving the arena. After returning, it was announced she would not be involved in the remainder of the competition.

Biles used her Instagram account to provide further details on her mental health on Friday, as she attempted to describe the different aspects that go into performing at the highest level when dealing with a mental block.

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here," Biles wrote on her story. "I don't think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.

"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind [and] body in sync.

"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body."

Biles initially accompanied her question-and-answer session with two videos, which she subsequently deleted, that showed her failing to perform her double twisting somersault dismount off uneven bars during training.

The multiple world champion, who said she had been practicing at an unspecified location in Tokyo, explained her struggles relating specifically around twisting.

"Sometimes I can't even fathom twisting," she continued. "I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest and weirdest thing as well as feeling.

"What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I have no idea how I'm going to land or what I’m going to land on – head/hands/feet back."

The 24-year-old has qualified for the four individual finals in Tokyo, with the vault and uneven bars taking place on Sunday, although her participation remains in doubt.

Fellow American athlete Jeff Henderson, who won gold in the long jump at Rio five years ago, insisted mental blocks are not a new phenomenon within professional sport, while also expressing his pride in Biles for speaking so openly about her situation.

"Almost every athlete [has these problems]. They just don’t speak on it," Henderson told Stats Perform.

"Every athlete goes through a mental breakdown or [has to] figure out their brain, what to do, over-thinking - that’s every athlete.

"I think it should be awareness for every athlete to have that issue because it’s a huge thing to be protective of. If you’re not protective of your mental [state], you’re not going to do anything physical.

"There's nothing wrong with that. Any athlete would say take your time, relax, get your mental right come back when you’re going to be ready. Every athlete would say that."

Three members of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic team have tested positive for covid-19, following a routine Saliva Antigen test at the Olympic Village.

Long jumper, Andwuelle Wright, and 400m hurdler, Sparkle-Ann McKnight, will not compete at the Games in Tokyo after their covid-19 tests returned positive results. A coach, Wendell Williams will also miss the games, after becoming the third positive result.

With less than 24-hours to compete, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee revealed the breaking news via social media.

“Two Team TTO athletes and one official received positive test results following daily routine Saliva Antigen tests at the Olympic Village. This came following two Nasopharyngeal PCR verification tests in accordance with established TOKYO2020 COVID-19 protocols, countermeasures, and guidelines.

The three members have been placed into quarantine at an approved hotel facility for foreign athletes and officials.

Former Carifta gold medallist and Trinidad and Tobago’s national long jump record holder, Wright, also confirmed the news via social media. The aspiring athlete is disheartened by the circumstances but is happy that he is healthy and well.

“The Olympics has come [and] gone for me and my heart hurts more than anything else. I am devasted, confused and heartbroken. My coach and I both tested positive for COVID-19 virus days before I had to compete, after receiving six (6) negative test and I had to withdraw from the games,” he posted.

“More Importantly I’m okay although I don’t know what “okay” looks like right now but I’m happy to be alive and breathing.”

23-year-old Wright, who is from Tobago, said he was fully vaccinated and was not showing any symptoms during his time at the Olympic Games.

“[I was] experiencing zero symptoms of this virus also being fully vaccinated, meaning my Olympic dreams and everything we worked hard towards was shattered.”

McKnight, previously represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics, reaching the semifinals on the second occasion.

Williams was a former Trinidad and Tobago national long jump record holder. He held the previous mark of 8.14m since 1999. However, Wright leaped to an impressive 8.23m to eclipse the feat his coach had achieved.

Jamaican Super-Heavyweight, Ricardo Brown, came up short in his bid for a medal as he lost in a first-round bout to India’s Satish Kumar, by split decision.

Four judges scored the fight in favour of Kumar and one scored it for the Jamaican.

Brown, popularly known as ‘Big 12,’ had a slow start, losing the first round on all the judges’ scorecards and never really recovered from there.

He showed more intent and tried to pick up the pace in rounds 2 and 3 but ultimately didn’t do any significant damage as Kumar, who fought a more technical fight, was able to come away with the win.

Kumar, a two-time Asian Championships bronze medalist, was cut on the forehead after an accidental clash of heads in the 3rd round but kept his composure, and avoided some potentially devastating right hands from Brown, to seal victory and advance to the quarterfinals, one step closer to an opportunity at a medal.

He will next face reigning world and Asian Champion Bakhodir Jalovov of Uzbekistan on Saturday.

Brown, 31, was a bronze medalist at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, and was seeking to become Jamaica’s 1st boxing medallist at the Olympics.

 

Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill has confessed to bursting with pride after becoming the first female table tennis player from the English-speaking Caribbean to play at the Olympic Games.  

The former Caribbean women’s under-21 champion made her Olympic Games debut last Saturday, defeating her opponent Sally Yee of Fiji in the preliminary round.  Edghill won that battle emphatically, beating Yee 11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.

However, the 24-year-old then suffered a straight-sets defeat at the hands of 17-year-old Yubin Shin of South Korea, in Round One of the Women’s Singles on Saturday.

Overwhelmed by the feat, the Guyanese international shared her experience with SportsMax.tv.

“It was a very happy and emotional feeling to be the first Guyanese to play in the Olympics for table tennis, it’s a huge honour and a huge feat,” Edghill said.

“I am really happy and elated to be able to accomplish such a feat, it’s indescribable how it feels.  I am full with pride, I am very proud to represent Guyana and touch the stage, and very proud of the history I made for Guyana,” she added.

Edghill and swimmer Andrew Fowler were Guyana’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, last Friday.

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