A sickening cycling crash caused jitters at the Rio Olympics on Sunday, as swimming superstar Michael Phelpscapped an explosive evening of record-breaking by bagging an astonishing 19th Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4×100 metres freestyle relay.Chinese diving queen Wu Minxia sealed a record fifth diving title and in their debut Games, tiny Kosovo became the 100th country to win an Olympic gold medal.Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten was leading the women’s road race when she crashed head-first on the final descent, lying motionless by the road.Annemiek van Vleuten during the women’s cycling road race at the Rio Olympics. APVan Vleuten was conscious as she was taken to hospital but riders spoke of their shock over the fall, on a stretch where three cyclists broke bones in the men’s race on Saturday.”It really shook me when I saw Annemiek crashed in the road,” said eventual winner and fellow Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen, who rode past her stricken team-mate.”Annemiek was leading but I realised I was now first in the team. I was shocked.”Fourteen gold medals were up for grabs on the second full day of competition, which saw Russia’s drug-tarnished reputation suffer another body blow with news of a ban from next month’s Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.China bagged two golds including the record fifth diving title for Wu, which took her past compatriot Guo Jingjing and American great Greg Louganis.Air pistol shooter Zhang Mengxue had earlier won the first gold of the Games for China, who finished second on the 2012 tally behind the United States.Kosovo, a country of about two million, also had reason to celebrate when flag-bearer Majlinda Kelmendi won the women’s 52kg judo title, beating Italy’s Odette Giuffrida in the final.Kosovo’s Majlinda Kelmendi receives the gold medal after winning the women’s 52-kg judo competition. AP
“I have always wanted to show the world that Kosovo is not just a country that has gone through war,” Kelmendi said, the Kosovo flag draped around her shoulders.America’s Katie Ledecky made a statement when she swam the second-fastest 400m freestyle in history, breaking the Olympic record and threatening her own world mark, in the heats.”That one felt pretty easy, so hopefully means I will be faster tonight,” said Ledecky, who clocked 3min 58.71sec, close to her world record of 3:58.37.”We’ll see. That’s the easiest it’s felt going under four minutes.”Ledecky is hot favourite for the final later on Sunday as she bids to complete the first 400m, 200m and 800m Olympic treble since Debbie Meyer in 1968.Swimming’s biggest star, Michael Phelps, cheered on by fiancee Nicole and toddler Boomer in the stands, again provided the spark to the Olympics, producing a blistering 47.12-second leg to overtake France’s Fabien Gilot and set up victory in the 4x100m free.United States’ Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal after the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle final. APNathan Adrian anchored the Americans to a time of 3:09.92 to end French dominance of the event stretching over the past two world championships and the London Olympics four years ago.”It was crazy,” said Phelps, competing in his fifth and final Games. “I was standing on the block while Caeleb (Dressel) was coming in and I honestly thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest.”We wanted that race back so badly,” added Phelps, who hugged team mate Ryan Held on the podium as he sobbed tears of joy.There was chaos at the tennis venue, where play on outside courts was delayed by 90 minutes as gusts of 25km/h 15mph) barreled through the Barra centre, blowing down umbrellas and toppling hoardings.Brazilian number one Thomaz Bellucci lashed out at the decision to let his game against close friend Dustin Brown go ahead. Brown retired with an injury after trailing 4-5 in the second set having won the first.”It was almost impossible. I don’t know how they allowed us to play like this. I have never played in these conditions,” said 28-year-old Bellucci.Volunteers work to repair wind damage on a court during the tennis competition at Rio Olympics. Because of wind that reached 25 mph (40 kph), the start of Sunday’s play in the Olympic tennis tournament was delayed on all courts except the main stadium, some matches started about 2 hours late. AIn women’s 10m air pistol, which is held indoors, Zhang produced a perfect 10.9 on her 17th shot to hold off the challenge from Russian teenager Vitalina Batsarashkina.Security concerns continued as, a day after a bomb scare and the worrying spectacle of a stray bullet hitting a media tent, reports said Portugal’s education minister had been mugged in upscale Ipanema.And there was more controversy for Russian sport as the shockwaves from last month’s McLaren report, which detailed an elaborate state-sponsored doping scheme, continued to reverberate.The IOC backed away from imposing a blanket ban on Russia from the Olympics, allowing a 278-member team to take part in Rio.However in a scathing announcement on Sunday, the International Paralympic Committee confirmed that Russia would be banned completely from next month’s Paralympic Games in Brazil from 7 to 18 September.In Football, Brazil face yet another embarrassing exit from a tournament on home soil after Neymar slumbered through a second 0-0 draw of Rio 2016 against Iraq.Brazil’s Neymar reacts after missing a chance to score during a group A match of the men’s Olympic football tournament between Brazil and South Africa. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. AP”We didn’t manage to play our football,” said Brazil coach Rogerio Micale, who apologised to the expectant Brazilian public.”Today we had a lot of support and only at the end were there boos.The Olympic hosts need to beat group leaders Denmark on Wednesday to win to avoid a stunning exit, just two years after their devastating 7-1 World Cup defeat by Germany.
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