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Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya told Reuters on Thursday she decided to defect as she was being driven to a Tokyo airport because her grandmother told her that it was not safe to return home to Belarus. After seeking protection from Japanese police, she flew on Wednesday to Poland instead of Belarus. "They started to talk about my whole situation on Belarusian TV and they said I had some kind of psychological problems and my parents ... concluded I would either end up in a psychiatric hospital or in jail upon returning."
Son of German football star Michael Ballack dies in quad bike crashEmilio Ballack declared dead at scene after accident close to family home in Tróia, Portugal Michael Ballack at Stamford Bridge last year for a Uefa Champions League match between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Photograph: Robin Jones/Getty Images
The incident, a surprise political drama amid the sporting action in Tokyo, was reminiscent of the defections of top athletes from Soviet bloc nations during the Cold War. Friday, July 30 – She runs in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth in her heat and failing to advance to the semi-finals. Sunday, Aug. 1 – Tsimanouskaya is taken to Tokyo's Haneda Airport against her wishes.
China won the Olympic women's team table tennis gold medal on Thursday after a 3-0 victory over Japan in the final, continuing the country's undefeated streak in the event. The Chinese trio of Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, who were all competing at their first Olympics, hoisted the national flag together with their coach Li Sun after clinching the title. In the second match, Sun played Japan's Mima Ito, who she beat in their singles semi-final last week.
Veteran karate-ka Sandra Sanchez is used to defying the odds, but the thought that she would celebrate a gold medal and a wedding anniversary with her husband-coach on a historic day for the sport they love was beyond even her wildest imagination. One month shy of her 40th birthday and 15 years older than her youngest competitor at the Tokyo Olympics, Spain's Sanchez was once written off as too old for the highest echelons of the sport - including by her coach-turned-partner Jesus del Moral. But on a memorable day for karate - the discipline made its Olympics debut on Thursday at Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts - Sanchez took the sport's maiden gold in a tough match against hometown favourite Kiyou Shimizu.
Burkina Faso triple jumper Hugues Fabrice Zango's disappointing first two jumps in the final in Tokyo left his family watching live at home in Ouagadougou stressed and fearful that he could miss out on a medal - his country's first ever at the Olympics. Urging him on from their sofa, Zango's father, brother and sisters erupted in joy when he leapt 17.47m on his third run, propelling him briefly into second place behind Portugal's Pedro Pichardo. Zango eventually finished third behind Pichardo and China's Zhu Yaming, who jumped a personal best of 17.57m to claim the silver medal.
10% inspiration, 40% perspiration and 50% obliteration through spendingSign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now! Those segments aren’t going to manage themselves. Photograph: Lewis Storey/Getty Images
Spanish teenager Alberto Gines Lopez clinched the first-ever gold medal in climbing on Thursday, in a gripping men's final that went down to the wire, as the sport made its Olympic debut this week. Nathaniel Coleman of the United States took home the silver medal, while Austria's Jakob Schubert overcame a huge deficit in the standings to emerge top in the competition's deciding event and bag the bronze. The opening event is speed, a head-to-head race up a 15m wall, followed by bouldering, which involves using problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles set along a low wall.
With world records smashed and dozens of personal best times achieved on its speedy track, Tokyo's Olympic athletics programme is proving to be one of the most memorable for decades. With just one gold secured - courtesy of Ryan Crouser in the shot put - the American men's team face the dire prospect of missing the top of the track podium for the first time in the Games' 125-year history - barring their boycott year in 1980. "At this point in the 2019 World Championships, U.S. men had won seven of an eventual nine gold medals," former American sprint champion Michael Johnson wrote on Twitter.
German gymnast Kim Bui wore a unitard in the women's all-around final. "I just stood in front of my cupboard and there was a unitard and there was a traditional one," Bui, 32, said. "I just decided for the unitard because today I thought I felt more comfortable with a unitard."