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We’re powering towards the finish line with plenty of medals still up for grabs for Australia as we approach the final weekend of these Games.
Here are five events to watch on Day 14 of the Tokyo Olympics. * All times AEST
Women's beach volleyball (Aus vs USA), 12.30pm
We’ve waited two decades but the time has come for Australia to claim another gold medal in women’s beach volleyball.
The Australian pair of Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar quietly made its way through the stages of the women’s beach volleyball and now plays off for gold.
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They came into the tournament as the fifth-ranked team in the world and were coming off bronze at the 2019 world championships, where Artacho Del Solar had battled a knee injury, so it’s no surprise to see them this deep into the tournament.
They lost just one match in the preliminary matches and face the American pair of April Ross and Alix Klineman for the title of Olympic champions after beating Latvia in straight sets yesterday.
Harry Garside (Aus) v Andy Cruz (Cub), men’s (57-63kg) boxing semi, 3.47pm
Not since Seoul 1988 has Australia won a medal in the boxing but Harry Garside, probably known as much this Olympics for his ballet dancing as his boxing, has already put that right in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old plumber comfortably made it through his first two bouts – including a unanimous 5-0 decision against second seed Namibian Jonas Jonas – before facing a tougher time of it against Kazakhstani Zakir Safiullin in the quarter-finals, narrowly getting through 3-2.
Garside, who has used ballet dancing to improve his boxing, will make it through to the gold medal bout with a win today, but he is already assured of a medal, as the two semi-final losers each get a bronze medal.
Men’s sprint, cycling, from 5.10pm
Things just aren’t coming as easily on the Olympic velodrome as they once did for Australia.
Think back to Athens 2004, we won nine medals on the track, including five gold.
Our hope in the men’s sprint is Matthew Glaetzer, who has climbed a mountain just to make it to the start line in Tokyo.
He became a world champion in his event in 2018, and won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games the same year, before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in late 2019. After overcoming that, he injured his leg just before the world titles last year.
So the lack of competition over the past couple of years makes his performance here a real unknown, but if he can get anywhere near his best he’ll be in medal contention.
The semi-finals are from 5.10pm, finals from 7pm and the decider at 7.50pm.
Women’s javelin final, 9.50pm
Not one, not two, but three chances at medals here for Australia. And we’re not here to make up the numbers either, we’re a genuine gold medal shot.
Reigning world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber ranked third in the qualifiers with a season-best throw of 62.59m, while Mackenzie Little was next in line thanks to her first throw of the qualifying rounds, 62.37m.
Those two Aussies were the best of the chasing pack outside of Poland’s Maria Andrejczyk (65.24m) and American Maggie Malone (63.07m), who threw automatic qualifying throws at their first attempt.
Kathryn Mitchell made Australia a triple threat in the final when she qualified with her final throw of 61.85m.
Australia has only ever had one Olympic medallist in the javelin – male or female – and that was Louise McPaul in Atlanta. There is a good chance McPaul will soon have company on that list.
Women’s 1500m final, 10.50pm
Our week of emerging athletes on the track continues with two finalists in the women’s 1500m.
Jessica Hull was first through with a fourth-place finish and Australian record in the first semi-final, and then the woman she took the record off, Linden Hall, joined her with a third-place finish in the second semi.
We’ve never had a medallist in the women’s 1500m, and you have to go all the way back to the great Herb Elliott (gold, Rome 1960) and John Landy (bronze, Melbourne 1956) for the last time we did it at all.
It would be a huge result for one of them to grab a medal here in what has been a promising track and field program for Australia.
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