TOKYO: Beach volleyball players roasted on the sands of Tokyo Bay on Friday, while organisers removed two Belarusian officials after sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya defected.

With solar and political heat clinging to athletes in their final three days of the Games, US claimed the women’s beach volleyball gold for the birthplace of the sport, as did Japan for karate.

Belarus’ athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich and team official Artur Shumak were asked to leave the Olympic village, the International Olympic Committee said, days after they ordered Tsima­nouskaya to pack and go to the airport against her will.

Sun bakes volleyball sands, karate gold for Japan as Kenny joins British greats at Olympics 1

In a saga reminiscent of Cold War sporting defections, Tsimanouskaya refused to board the Sunday flight home and sought Japan police protection before fleeing to Poland, where she was offered a humanitarian visa and was reunited with her husband on Thursday.

Back in Tokyo, the boxing gold went to a dominant Cuba as Julio la Cruz outclassed Russian world heavyweight champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov to win his second Olympic title and his country’s third gold of the five awarded so far.

La Cruz, who was shot during a robbery just a few years ago, defeated Gadzhimagomedov on unanimous points to add the Tokyo title to his Rio 2016 light-heavyweight crown.

Laura Kenny became the most decorated female Olympic cyclist in history with a fifth gold, destroying the field in the first women’s madison event at an Olympics.

After powering to victory alongside Katie Archibald in the first women’s madison at a Games, an emotional Kenny — one half of Britain’s golden cycling couple with husband Jason — said she had considered quitting during her pregnancy with son Albie, who was born in 2017.

“When I fell pregnant, there was a moment two months into the pregnancy where I woke up and said to Jason, ‘I can’t do this, I’m not going to be able to carry on [with cycling], there’s just no way’. And here we are,” she said.

Dutch riders Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland had claimed the team sprint gold as a duo earlier in the Games, but Lavreysen won their individual duel in the men’s sprint.

Outdoor athletes continued to suffer from Japan’s punishing summer weather.

On the hockey field, officials doubled the usual two-minute breaks between quarters to allow players to cool down, and rolled out extra one-minute water breaks during the final two quarters of the match.

The Netherlands won a record fourth women’s hockey title by beating Argentina 3-1 after Britain beat India 4-3 to secure bronze.

CANADA goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, team-mate Kadeisha Buchanan (C) and Sweden’s Amanda Ilestedt jump for the ball during the women’s football gold medal match on Friday.—AP
CANADA goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, team-mate Kadeisha Buchanan (C) and Sweden’s Amanda Ilestedt jump for the ball during the women’s football gold medal match on Friday.—AP

Enduring air temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) — and a higher 45C (113F) on the shadeless sand at Shiokaze Park — April Ross and Alix Klineman swept Australia 21-15, 21-16 in 43 minutes as the United States won the women’s beach volleyball.

They regained the gold for the sport’s birthplace for the first time in nine years, to chants of “U-S-A” from 20 team staffers in an otherwise empty arena.

American women’s basketball and volleyball teams won to advance to the gold medal finals in both sports.

The US women’s volleyball team avenged a gold-medal match loss to Serbia in 2016 with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 victory that sends them back into the final against Brazil, who beat South Korea in straight sets in the other semi-final. The Americans have made three previous gold medal finals, but have never won.

The U.S. women’s basketball team will play Japan in Sunday’s final after rolling over Serbia 79-59 behind 15 points and 12 rebounds from Brittney Griner. Japan beat France 87-71. If the Americans win Sunday, they would match the seven consecutive Olympic titles won by the U.S. men from 1936-68.

A native of karate’s birthplace, Ryo Kiyuna from Japan’s Okinawa, grabbed the gold in his sport, after his air-splitting punch, sharpness and precision on the tatami drew gasps in the kata event at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese traditional martial arts.

Canada won the women’s football crown with a nailbiting 3-2 penalty shootout win over Sweden in Yokohama, a match moved from its initial 11:00am kickoff because of the heat.

The teams played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time. That set up the penalty kicks where Canada prevailed 3-2 on Julia Grosso’s match winner that bounced off the right hand of Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

American Nelly Korda finished with 12 straight pars for a two-under 69 to maintain her overall lead in pursuit of the gold medal in women’s golf at Kasumigaseki Country Club. She had a three-shot lead over Aditi Ashok of India, who had a 68.

And for now, there will be a final round. Olympic golf officials plan to start play as early as possible Saturday and take advantage of a window they hope is big enough to squeeze in 72 holes before a forecasted tropical storm.

American Gable Stev­eson defeated Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili 10-8 to earn wrestling gold in the men’s freestyle 125kg class.

Slovenian spiderwoman Janja Garnbret gave a climbing masterclass to win the inaugural women’s Olympic gold medal.

With two days of action left, China top the medals table with 36 golds, five ahead of the United States. Host nation Japan are third on 24 while Britain moved to 18 in fourth.

Medals table

After Friday’s events

(Tabulated under gold, silver, bronze, total):

China 36 26 17 79

United States 31 36 31 98

Japan 24 11 16 51

Great Britain 18 20 20 58

Russian OC 17 23 22 62

Australia 17 6 21 44

Italy 10 10 18 38

Germany 9 11 16 36

Netherlands 9 10 12 31

France 7 11 9 27

New Zealand 7 6 6 19

Canada 6 6 10 22

South Korea 6 4 9 19

Cuba 6 3 4 13

Hungary 5 7 5 17

Brazil 4 4 8 16

Poland 4 4 4 12

Czech Republic 4 3 2 9

Jamaica 4 1 3 8

Spain 3 5 5 13

Switzerland 3 4 6 13

Croatia 3 3 2 8

Belgium 3 1 1 5

Slovenia 3 1 1 5

Sweden 2 6 0 8

Georgia 2 5 1 8

Taiwan 2 4 6 12

Denmark 2 3 4 9

Iran 2 2 2 6

Kenya 2 2 2 6

Norway 2 2 1 5

Serbia 2 1 4 7

Uganda 2 1 1 4

Ecuador 2 1 0 3

Uzbekistan 2 0 2 4

Greece 2 0 1 3

Bahamas 2 0 0 2

Kosovo 2 0 0 2

Qatar 2 0 0 2

Ukraine 1 3 10 14

Romania 1 3 0 4

Venezuela 1 3 0 4

Belarus 1 2 2 5

Hong Kong 1 2 2 5

Slovakia 1 2 0 3

South Africa 1 2 0 3

Turkey 1 1 8 10

Austria 1 1 5 7

Indonesia 1 1 3 5

Bulgaria 1 1 2 4

Portugal 1 1 2 4

Ethiopia 1 1 1 3

Philippines 1 1 1 3

Tunisia 1 1 0 2

Ireland 1 0 2 3

Israel 1 0 2 3

Estonia 1 0 1 2

Fiji 1 0 1 2

Latvia 1 0 1 2

Thailand 1 0 1 2

Bermuda 1 0 0 1

Morocco 1 0 0 1

Puerto Rico 1 0 0 1

Colombia 0 4 1 5

Dominican Republic 0 3 1 4

India 0 2 3 5

Armenia 0 2 2 4

Kyrgyzstan 0 2 1 3

Azerbaijan 0 1 3 4

Mongolia 0 1 3 4

San Marino 0 1 2 3

Argentina 0 1 1 2

Jordan 0 1 1 2

Nigeria 0 1 1 2

Lithuania 0 1 0 1

Namibia 0 1 0 1

North Macedonia 0 1 0 1

Turkmenistan 0 1 0 1

Kazakhstan 0 0 7 7

Egypt 0 0 4 4

Mexico 0 0 4 4

Finland 0 0 2 2

Burkina 0 0 1 1

Ghana 0 0 1 1

Grenada 0 0 1 1

Ivory Coast 0 0 1 1

Kuwait 0 0 1 1

Malaysia 0 0 1 1

Syria 0 0 1 1

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