Morning report from Team Ireland on Day One of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
It was a jam-packed morning of action for Team Ireland at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with athletes from rowing, gymnastics, boxing and taekwondo all in action, while the men’s road race is currently still taking place in cycling.
Kurt Walker was the first Irish boxer into the ring in Tokyo today, facing off against Spain’s Jose Quiles Brotons in the Men’s Featherweight (52-57kg) Round of 32 at the Kokugikan Arena. A powerful display from Walker saw him progress through, winning the fight by unanimous decision.
‘I’m so happy to be here, and so happy to get the win,” he said afterwards. “I’m feeling grateful. I was listening to the coaches and I knew I was going to win. It just went off a bit in the second round but that’s normal in the first fight, it’s good to have that type of thing behind me.’
Awaiting him in the next round is World Champion and number one seed, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov from Uzbekistan.
The first of Ireland’s two gymnasts to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Rhys McClenaghan, completed his men’s qualification round on the Pommel Horse earlier this morning with a score of 15.266. His display saw him top the Pommel Horse individual results in subdivision 1 but he will have to wait until later today to find out his fate, with the top 8 ranked gymnasts in each individual section qualifying for the final. Full results will be available after all three subdivisions are completed later today. Speaking afterwards, the European and Commonwealth gold medallist was proud of his performance, and is relying on his preparation to make improvements to his routine if he advances to the final.
“It was a good day at the office. I am an Olympian now and that is a dream come true. We are as prepared as we can be. I am relying on the preparation that we have done so far to replicate my routine today and do it better.”
In a true demonstration of their class on the second day of racing at the Olympic Regatta in Tokyo, Team Ireland rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy dominated their heat of the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull in the opening heats of their Olympic campaign, finishing five seconds clear of second-placed Czech Republic in a time of 6.23.74, to progress to Semi-Final A/B. The Women’s Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh were equally impressive, qualifying for the A Final in a time of 6.28.99, just 0.23 seconds off first-placed Australia, who posted an Olympic Best time of 6.28.76.
The Men’s Double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne kept their Olympic hopes alive, finishing third in their repechage, and will now compete in the Semi-Final A/B tomorrow (Sunday). Meanwhile the Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley and the Lightweight Women’s Double of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen will compete in the repechage tomorrow after finishing fourth and fifth in their respective heats.
The event schedule was adjusted today to allow for a rescheduling of races that were set to take place on Monday, due to the expectation of strong winds. The saltwater course is changeable, with conditions unpredictable.
Speaking after the race, Olympic Silver Medallist Paul O’Donovan said, “We won the race, so it’s hard to do much better than that – you don’t want to win by 20 seconds either, because it’s very hot out there. It was still tough, all the races at this regatta will be tough. But it’s difficult to complain with that result.”
Commenting on the changeable conditions, Fintan McCarthy added: “I reckon we row in all sorts of conditions in training and we are used to adapting to whatever condition is thrown at us. It’s about being adaptable and doing what we do in training.”
There was heartbreak for Ireland’s first Olympic Taekwondo athlete, Jack Woolley, who was in action in his first fight this morning, losing out in the final seconds, 22-19 to Argentina’s Lucas Guzman. An evenly-matched contest, the two fighters were on level pegging throughout, with Guzman taking the spoils at the end of the first, 9-6, while Woolley put in a superb second round display to see him take a slender 12-13 lead into the final round. They matched each other blow for blow in the last, with Woolley taking an 18-19 lead with just over 10 seconds remaining. However, two quick scores from Guzman in the closing few seconds, saw him take a 22-19 win. Jack now awaits the remainder of Guzman’s results before finding out if he has a chance to fight in the repechage later today.
Speaking afterwards he said: “I’m very disappointed, everything was good in the lead up, in our prep, I felt physically great going in. I walked in today and something just didn’t click, it just wasn’t my day. I have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best this evening. Sport is unpredictable. I hope everyone else he fights has a similar performance to me, but we have to see – he has to get to the final first.”
Elsewhere, the Men’s Road Race is currently underway in cycling, while later today, Team Ireland swimmers Ellen Walsh and Darragh Greene are in action, while the hockey team will get their Olympic campaign underway when they face South Africa in their opening game.
MORNING RESULTS DAY ONE: JULY 24TH, 2021
Men’s Feather -57kg Round of 32: Jose Quiles Brotons (SPA) v Kurt Walker (IRL), win for IRL: 0-5
Men’s Pommel Horse: Rhys McClenaghan (IRL) 15.266 (Placing confirmed after all three subdivisions complete)
Lightweight Men’s Double – Paul O’Donovan & Fintan McCarthy 1st with 6.23.74 (progress to semi-finals)
Women’s Four – Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh 2nd with 6.28.99 (Progress to A Final)
Men’s Double – Philip Doyle & Ronan Byrne 3rd with 6.29.9 (progress to Semifinals A/B)
Women’s Pair – Monika Dukarska & Aileen Crowley 4th with 7.24.71 (progress to Repechage)
Lightweight Women’s Double – Aoife Casey & Margaret Cremen 5th with 7.17.67 (progress to Repechage)
Men’s -58kg Round of 16, Jack Woolley (IRL) v Lucas Guzman (ARG), win for ARG: 22-19
DAY ONE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 24TH, 2021
*Note the schedule may be subject to change*
03:00 Cycling – Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin & Eddie Dunbar – Men’s Road Race
11:28 Swimming – Ellen Walshe – Women’s 100m Butterfly, Heat 2
12:32 Swimming – Darragh Greene – Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 4
13:15 Hockey – Ireland v South Africa – Pool Match