Slip­ping through the Net

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

Tonga’s flag­bearer Pita Ta­ufato­fua has be­come the on­line star of the Rio Games’ open­ing cer­e­mony af­ter strid­ing through the pa­rade bare-chested, torso drip­ping with oil and wear­ing only a tra­di­tional ta’ovala mat round his waist. The taek­wondo ath­lete racked up 45 mil­lion men­tions on Twit­ter ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial Games web­site, and the nor­mally staid hailed per­haps “the grand­est en­trance by any flag bearer in re­cent his­tory”. Ta­ufato­fua’s Rio ex­ploits also made head­lines in his tiny South Pacific home­land, where the Matangi Tonga news site said he was “the hottest man to­day in a town that’s known for its ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the body beau­ti­ful”.

Ja­panese ten­nis star Kei Nishikori won a bizarre point in his open­ing match against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vi­no­las. His rac­quet slipped out of his grasp as he served early in the se­cond set but he still had time to re­trieve it and chase down his op­po­nent’s re­turn be­fore hit­ting a crisp win­ner. The point helped the fourth seed on his way to a 6-2, 6-4 win as he safely reached the se­cond round.

United States box­ing medal hope Car­los Balderas is hop­ing to make it home from Rio with gold, and his full set of teeth. But if it comes to the worst, the teenage light­weight will at least have some­one in the crowd who can do some emer­gency work – his den­tist. The 19-year-old Balderas fought against the back­drop of an anti-US crowd to bat­tle past the vastly more ex­pe­ri­enced Kazakh Berik Ab­drakhmanov with a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion that was greeted by more boos from much of the Brazil­ian crowd. After­ward he re­vealed that he had more than 20 friends and fam­ily back­ing him in Rio. “My den­tist is also com­ing to sup­port me,” he added, smil­ing. “And hope­fully he can also help me out.” – AFP

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