The USA edged past France to extend their men’s Olympic basketball reign and America’s Nelly Korda sealed women’s golf gold as the busiest day at the Tokyo Games got into full swing on Saturday.
Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s marathon in intense heat in Sapporo as storms lurked elsewhere, interrupting the golf as Korda held a one-stroke lead with two holes left.
But top-ranked Korda, sister of six-time US LPGA Tour winner Jessica and daughter of former tennis player Petr, held her nerve on the resumption to complete an American golf sweep after Xander Schauffele won the men’s competition.
China topped the medals table with 37 golds, four ahead of the United States, on the penultimate day of the pandemic-delayed 2020 Games, the first postponed Olympics.
The day’s opening medal went to Jepchirchir, who timed 2hr 27min 20sec in hot and humid conditions in Sapporo — the second slowest winning time for a women’s Olympic marathon.
The race, moved from Tokyo to avoid the capital’s summer heat, started an hour early as Sapporo was also hit by sweltering conditions.
“If we’d started at 7:00 am, by the finish after 9:00 am it would have been too hot for us,” Jepchirchir said.
“When I heard that (the start time) was changed (to 6:00 am) I was so happy. I said: ‘Wow, that’s nice’.”
The marathon was one of the few events where fans were allowed at the Olympics, which have mostly unfolded in front of empty venues because of coronavirus risks.
In boxing, British former factory worker Galal Yafai defeated Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in the men’s flyweight final, and Bulgaria’s Stoyka Krasteva won the women’s flyweight.