Ja­maica, Kenya dom­i­nate

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

RIO DE JANEIRO — Ja­maica un­leashed a new sprint sen­sa­tion as Omar McLeod took the Rio Olympics 110m hur­dles while sports lead­ers slammed the Rio Games crowd for abus­ing French pole vault star Re­naud Lav­il­le­nie, leav­ing him in tears on Tues­day.

Brazil suf­fered a foot­ball dis­as­ter when their women’s team were beaten in a semi-final penalty shoot-out by Swe­den. Bri­tain won another two cy­cling ti­tles through golden cou­ple Laura Trott and Ja­son Kenny, tak­ing their to­tal to six out of the 10 dis­puted. Ri­vals want to know what is be­hind this dom­i­na­tion.

Ja­maica, Kenya and the United States added to their ath­let­ics medal tal­lies in the 110me­tres hur­dles, women’s 1 500m and men’s triple jump on Tues­day, while Rus­sia’s sole track and field com­peti­tor sur­vived to com­pete another day at Rio.

Ath­letes from Kenya, Croa­tia and Canada also claimed Olympic gold in a largely empty sta­dium, where an­nounc­ers urged rowdy Brazil­ian fans to re­strain them­selves af­ter pro­vok­ing a French pole vaulter with a cho­rus of boos the night be­fore.

Ja­maica’s Omar McLeod earned the coun­try its first gold in the men’s sprint hur­dles, Kenya’s Faith Kipye­gon dev­as­tated the field in the 1 500m and Amer­i­can Chris­tian Tay­lor suc­cess­fully de­fended his triple-jump gold.

McLeod (22) led the hur­dle race from start to fin­ish and won in 13.05sec. Cuba-born Or­lando Ortega of Spain took sil­ver and France’s Dim­itri Bas­cou bronze.

McLeod said in­spi­ra­tion had come from fel­low Ja­maicans Usain Bolt, the new 100m cham­pion who ran in the 200m semi­fi­nals yes­ter­day, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who took bronze in the 100m.

“You see them, they go out and have fun and rep­re­sent them­selves and their coun­try and they win, and you just want to go out and do the same thing,” McLeod said.

“It’s hon­estly con­ta­gious. You just want to feel how it feels.”

How­ever, the loud­est cheers of the night came for na­tive pole vaulter Thi­ago da Silva as he re­ceived the gold medal he won on Mon­day night. The crowd once again booed sil­ver medal­ist French Re­naud Lav­il­le­nie, ig­nor­ing Da Silva’s ges­tures ask­ing for quiet.

Lav­il­le­nie, who the night be­fore had com­plained about the boo­ing dur­ing his final at­tempt, apol­o­gised on Tues­day for hav­ing com­pared his ex­pe­ri­ence to the hos­til­ity of Nazi Ger­many to­wards Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games.

The an­nouncer at the Rio Olympic Sta­dium at least four times dur­ing Tues­day’s evening com­pe­ti­tion asked the crowd to be re­spect­ful to the com­peti­tors, a re­ac­tion the Car­i­oca fans’ flashes of bel­liger­ence.

Rus­sian ath­letes in par­tic­u­lar have faced hos­tile crowds in Rio as the re­sult of a dop­ing scan­dal that has shaded the Games.

Long jumper Darya Klishina, the sole ath­lete from her coun­try com­pet­ing in track and field af­ter the rest of the team was banned, es­caped their wrath, but that was prob­a­bly more a re­sult of her slip­ping in unan­nounced and un­no­ticed rather than an overnight change of at­ti­tude.

Af­ter earn­ing a spot in yes­ter­day’s final with a leap of 6.64m Klishina said she missed hav­ing team mates.

“It is very hard be­ing the only Rus­sian,” she said. “Un­for­tu­nately, I am here alone and this is a big re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

She looked to have missed her chance to com­pete at all when the IAAF sus­pended her last Satur­day, only for the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport to over-rule.

In the hur­dles, McLeod beat Cuban-born Or­lando Ortega who won sil­ver for Spain, and French­man Dim­itri Bas­cou, who took bronze. That left the United States with­out a medal in the event for the first time in 120 years - with the ex­cep­tion of the boy­cotted 1980 Moscow Games — AFP

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