Rio 2016

  • Some sports ‘impossible without doping’ – Arshavin

    With Russia gripped by accusations of doping, former Arsenal midfielder Andrey Arshavin has suggested all athletes competing in certain Olympic sports take performance-enhancing drugs.

    In an interview apparently conducted by a Kazakh sports news site, the outspoken Arshavin was quoted as saying that athletic success in “cyclic sports”, those which require constant repetitive movement, was “simply impossible without doping”.

    Arshavin’s comments come amid the ongoing scandal in Russia that has seen some of the country’s athletes banned from the Olympic games, following accusations of state-sponsored doping.

    He also claims that politics played a role in the decision to bar the country from competing in some disciplines in Rio.

    “In my opinion, all cyclic sports are doping. It’s simply impossible without doping. That means swimming, skiing, cycling. I think everyone dopes,” he told

    “Russia is paying for its political decisions, including in sport. Is it fair or unfair? Life isn’t fair. Of course, this is a great tragedy for the athletes, especially the Olympians.

    “For them, this is the World Cup and European Championship for footballers. We have every two years, with good players, earning good money at clubs, and they have the reverse.

    “[They have] almost one or two chances in life to get an apartment, a normal premium…Of course I understand them, they are not in the best condition now.”

    Russian officials have consistently denied any state involvement in doping cover-ups and strenuously refute the findings of the McLaren Report, which claimed that the Russian secret service and sports ministry colluded to manipulate samples at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

    Russian athletes escaped a blanket ban from the Rio games, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowing individual sports federations to determine who should be eligible to compete. Meanwhile, Russian authorities are currently contesting a similar ban for the Paralympic Games.

    However, while claiming that some sports are riddled with widespread doping, Arshavin – who as well as Arsenal and the Russian national team also played for Zenit, and currently plies his trade with Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan – insists that in team sports things are different.

    “[There is doping] in football and hockey – to a lesser extent. In football, you cannot predict. In team sports, there’s very little doping,” he added.

  • Robson Conceicao wins boxing gold for Brazil

    Lightweight Robson Conceicao became Brazil’s first ever Olympic boxing champion when he was given a unanimous points decision in his final against Frenchman Sofiane Oumiha.

    Conceicao took the host nation’s tally of gold medals to three in Rio after he was given the verdict 30-27 29-28 29-28 in a 60kg showdown at an electric Riocentre on Tuesday.

    The Salvador-born 27-year-old’s success gave Brazil a second successive night to remember after Thiago Braz da Silva claimed a sensational victory in the pole vault.


  • Rio 2016: Bolt on track for ‘triple-triple’ after 200m

    Usain Bolt’s bid for a ‘triple-triple’ is a step closer after he breezed into Thursday’s 200 metre final.

    Just three days after defending his 100m title in scintillating fashion – Bolt had time to grin for the cameras as he dominated the field – the Jamaican sprint king was at it again inside the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.

    And once again he had a smile on his face.

    He won the second semi final in 19.78 seconds, ahead of Canadian Andre De Grasse (19.80secs) – who chose to try and run him down on the line.

    The two shared a joke as they crossed the line, with Bolt quipping: “He [De Grasse] was supposed to slow down. I said ‘what are you doing, it’s a semi final’.

    “That was really unnecessary. I don’t know what he was trying to do but he’s a young kid, he’s great.

    “I think he wanted to push me. I was a bit lazy but I got round.”

    Bolt – who alongside the rest of the Jamaican quartet will also bid to defend the 4x100m relay title – said after his 100m triumph he was chasing the chance to be “immortal”, and few would bet against that on current form.

    He was already into his stride by the first 50 metres and, although he eased down significantly as he came down the straight, even that was not enough to allow De Grasse to overtake him.

    The one man who had looked a slim possibility to deny him his chance of history was Justin Gatlin, but he failed to even make the final.

    The American – twice banned from the sport for doping – won the 100m silver behind Bolt on Sunday but could only finish third in his semi in a time of 20.13secs after was beaten on the line by Panama’s Alonso Edward (20.07secs) and Churandy Martina of Netherlands (20.10secs).

    A glance to the side appeared to cost Gatlin his place in the top two as he lost focus, but he blamed a niggling ankle injury for missing out.

    “I’m happy to still be here [for the relays]. My ankle is giving me a lot of problems. I can’t run properly and I had a tight turn in lane three,” he said after the race.

    Bolt, meanwhile, was not as shocked as many by Gatlin’s early exit.

    “I wasn’t truly surprised, I thought he actually made it but I could tell from the 100m he was slowing down,” the Jamaican added.

    Former world 100m champion – and Bolt’s team-mate – Yohan Blake was also run out of it into sixth.

    American LaShawn Merritt qualified third fastest in 19.94secs, ahead of Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre in a season’s best 20.01secs.


  • Omar McLeod extends Jamaica’s sprint dominance over the hurdles

    Omar McLeod took Jamaica’s dominance of the sprint events to a new level on Tuesday (16 July) when he clinched his country’s first ever gold medal in the Olympic Games men’s 110m hurdles.

    With triple Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt and newly-crowned women’s sprint champion Elaine Thompson leading the way, Jamaica has become the biggest global power in short distances on the track. But until Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium in Rio, the country had never produced an Olympic champion in the men’s or women’s high hurdles.

    McLeod changed that with a confident, flowing performance. The 22-year-old Jamaican was comfortably ahead after the last hurdle and finished in 13.05 seconds, ahead of Spain’s Orlando Ortega and France’s Dimitri Bascou, who clocked 13.17 and 13.24 respectively.

    McLeod crosses the finish line first (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)
    McLeod crosses the finish line first (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Walton)

    The race was the highlight of a day in which Canada’s Derek Drouin snatched high jump gold away from favourite Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar when he cleared 2.38m. Barshim took the silver (2.36m), his country’s best medal result in any sport, ahead of bronze medallist Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine, who cleared 2.33.

    Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, a world silver medallist in 2015, burst away from the rest of the field with 200m remaining to win the women’s 1500m in four minutes and 8.92 seconds, ahead of world champion Genzebe Dibaba, who clocked 4:10.27. American Jennifer Simpson took the bronze in 4:10.53.

    In the morning session, Christian Taylor and Will Claye completed another gold and silver sweep for the USA in the triple jump, emulating their feat at London 2012. Taylor successfully defended his title with a season-leading jump of 17.86m and Claye finished runner-up again with a personal best of 17.76 metres. China’s Dong Bin took bronze with 17.58m.

    Claye then jumped into the stands and proposed to his girlfriend, American hurdler Queen Harrison, who said yes.

    Sandra Perkovic of Croatia also matched her performance from London 2012, winning the women’s discus with a third-round throw of 69.21m. France’s Melina Robert-Michon took silver with 66.73 with Cuban Denia Caballero winning the bronze with 65.34.


  • Great Britain confirms track cycling dominance with two more golds on final day

    The final day of track cycling at Rio 2016 proved to be another fruitful one for Great Britain. Of the three gold medals up for grabs at the Olympic Velodrome, British riders won two of them, and took silver and bronze in the other event.

    In all, Great Britain won six of the 10 track cycling medals up for grabs at the Games, plus four silvers and one bronze. At the London 2012 Games, British riders won seven of the 10 titles, plus one silver and one gold.

    Jason Kenny capped another dynamic cycling performance with the gold medal in the keirin, his third in Rio de Janeiro and the sixth for his team. Dutch rider Matthijs Buchli took silver and Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang took bronze.

    “At my first Olympics in Beijing I knew we had something special to build on,” said Kenny. “We did so well in Beijing, we matched in it London. We never thought we’d get anywhere near it here, but we’ve turned up and done the business again.”

    Kenny nearly was disqualified when he joined Awang in sprinting too early along the backstretch. The race was halted as jurors reviewed film and ultimately decided on a full-field restart.

    The race was halted again on the second try when Germany’s Joachim Eilers sprinted early.

    Kenny’s finacée, Laura Trott, defended her title in the women’s omnium, adding to the gold medal she won in the team pursuit competition. It was a stunning tactical ride from the Brit. With one eye on her closest rivals at every stage of the 25km race, her lead at the top of the leaderboard soon became unassailable after the halfway point.

    “I still feel like that little girl just riding around on a bike, but now I have all these gold medals,” Trott said.

    USA’s Sarah Hammer and Belgium’s Jolien D’Hoore battled until the bitter end over the silver and bronze, with the American coming out on top.

    If there was one person who could rain on Britain’s parade it was Kristina Vogel of Germany. The German edged out favourite Rebecca James in both races to walk away with the gold.

    Katy Marchant’s win in the bronze medal race meant the German was joined by two Brits on the podium.

    Full track cycling results from Rio 2016


  • From the mean streets to the Olympic podium, boxer Robson Conceição becomes Brazil’s new hero

    rom the gritty Boa Vista de São Caetano neighbourhood on the periphery of the tough north-eastern city of Salvador, to the top of the Olympic podium. From frustration at London 2012, to triumph at Rio 2016. Robson Conceição’s story is a classic of the genre, the man who became Brazil’s first Olympic boxing champion, against the odds.

    In the lightweight gold medal bout on Tuesday (16 August) night, the 27-year-old was in control from start to finish, defeating Frenchman Sofiane Oumiha by a unanimous judges’ decision. It was a far cry from his first round exits at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

    “É campeão!” (He’s champion!) the crowd chanted at eardrum-bursting levels in the packed Riocentro arena, saluting an emotional Conceição, for whom this was the culmination of a long and arduous journey.

    Conceição lands a right cross on Oumiha on his way to gold (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)
    Conceição lands a right cross on Oumiha on his way to gold (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)

    It was Brazil’s third gold medal of the Games, following Monday night’s shock pole vault victory by Thiago Braz and the wildly celebrated judo title won by Rafaela Silva last week. Conceição said he had been inspired by Silva, who like him hails from humble background, in her case from the ‘City of God’ favela in Rio.

    The stands inside Riocentro Pavilion 6 were filled with yellow shirts on Tuesday. Everyone knew that it could be a special night. “I think today will be a victory by knockout,” said a breathless Vinícius Alves, who donned a pair of boxing gloves, head protector and a Brazilian flag on his shoulders. “But I think it will be a tough fight,” he predicted. It was more straightforward that he expected.

    Alves came ready to celebrate Brazilian boxing history (Photo: Rio 2016/Saulo Guimarães)
    Alves came ready to celebrate Brazilian boxing history (Photo: Rio 2016/Saulo Guimarães)

    The atmosphere was so overrun by Brazilian pride that in the fight before the final, between the Nigerian Efe Ajaba and Kazakh Ivan Dychko, the public went wild just to hear that one of the judges was Brazilian. Everything was a reason for celebration.

    The crowd began to reach fever pitch as they anticipated Conceição’s entry into the ring, stamping their feet in the stands, something that has become a tradition thanks to the deafening noise it creates. “Ô, o campeão chegou!” (Oh the champion has arrived!) they chanted, by now everyone on their feet, as Conceição made his triumphal entry.

    Conceição focuses before the fight of his life (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)
    Conceição focuses before the fight of his life (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)

    The first round quickly showed that it was to be an honest fight. Adeptly dodging Oumiha’s punches, Conceição quickly took the upper hand, landing powerful right hands that broke through the Frenchman’s defences, all the while the crowd singing at the top of their voices “sou brasileiro, com muito orgulho e com muito amor” (I am Brazilian, full of pride and love).

    Clearly on top, Conceição sent the crowd into delirium by landing a cross that almost knocked Oumiha down. The judges ruled that the Brazilian had won the first two rounds out of three, meaning that only a knockout could keep him from the gold medal.

    But Conceição maintained his calm throughout a more reserved third round as the pressure lay solely with the Frenchman. As the final bell rang out, Conceição finally allowed himself to celebrate. All that was left was for the fans to hail their new champion.

    Conceição savours his moment on top of the podium (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)
    Conceição savours his moment on top of the podium (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)


  • Rio 2016: Belmonte hails role model Nadal

    Mireia Belmonte has described Rafael Nadal as her role model after both won gold at Rio 2016.

    Spaniard Belmonte added to her two silver medals from London 2012 by taking gold in 200m butterfly as well as bronze in the 400m individual medley.

    Her compatriot Nadal triumphed in men’s doubles, the 14-time grand slam champion claiming gold alongside Marc Lopez, although he suffered defeat at the hands of Kei Nishikori in the bronze medal match of the men’s singles.

    Belmonte, speaking courtesy of Speedo, told Omnisport: “Nadal and myself congratulated each other when we won our medals. He has been a reference within the Spanish sport.

    “He is a fighter. For us it has been very important to be that close to him, as he speaks with everyone. For me he is a very good person and he is my role model.”

    Asked about her emotions following her success in the pool in Rio, Belmonte added: “The feelings are indescribable. There are plenty of things that come to your mind in this very second.

    “It’s like living a dream, but very fast. Everything comes very fast. Two minutes before you weren’t an Olympic medallist and two minutes after suddenly you are, so to assimilate it is difficult.”


  • Rio 2016: Talakhadze takes gold with world-record lift

    Lasha Talakhadze set a new world record for total combined weight lifted in the men’s over 105kg competition to claim gold at Rio 2016.

    The 22-year-old Georgian, gold medallist in the same category at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2015, secured victory by a comfortable margin with a combined total lift of 473kg.

    He lifted 215kg in the snatch and backed up that effort with a stunning lift of 258kg in the clean and jerk.

    His closest challenger, Armenia’s Gor Minasyan, totalled 451kg, with Irakli Turmanidze (448kg) taking bronze for Georgia.

    Iran’s Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi also set a new world record in the snatch, lifting 216kg to take the lead. However, the 26-year-old fell out of medal contention as he failed three times at 245kg in the clean and jerk.

  • Rio 2016: Russia stripped of Beijing 4x100m title

    Russia have been stripped of the 4×100 metre relay title they won at Beijing 2008 after a re-analysis of Yulia Chermoshanskaya’s stored samples resulted in a positive test for banned substances.

    Chermoshanskaya competed in the 200m and the relay in Beijing, helping Russia to gold in the latter event, but has now been retroactively disqualified from both races.

    The re-analysis of Chermoshanskaya’s samples saw her test positive for anabolic steroids stanozolol and dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.

    As a consequence, the 30-year-old and team-mates Yuliya Gushchina, Aleksandra Fedoriva and Yevgeniya Polyakova have all been disqualified and ordered to return their medals from the relay victory.

  • Rio 2016: Conlan fumes at controversial defeat

    Furious boxer Michael Conlan vowed never to compete in the Olympic Games again after a controversial points defeat ended his hopes of claiming a medal at Rio 2016.

    Irish bantamweight Conlan, a bronze medallist at London 2012, lost by unanimous decision to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin on Tuesday, despite feeling he had done more than enough to win.

    Conlan told the BBC: “I came for gold and I’ve been cheated.

    “I’ll not do another Olympics. I would advise anybody not to compete for the AIBA [Amateur International Boxing Association].”

    In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE, Conlan was heavily critical of AIBA, alleging corruption within the body as he stated: “Amateur boxing stinks, from the core right to the top.”

    The 24-year-old went on to send a tweet to the official account of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which read: “Hey Vlad @PutinRF_Eng How much did they charge you bro?? @AIBA_Boxing #Rio2016.”

    An AIBA official was quoted by the Telegraph as describing Conlan’s allegations as “foundless”.

    The official said: “Michael is a current world champion and he came here with high expectations. His disappointment is massive, we can all understand that. It’s his personal judgment.

    “AIBA is striving for a fair, level-playing field. The idea is not to benefit one country towards another. These statements are foundless but he’s free to have his opinion.”

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