Milka awaits her show as Tehani shoots sorry picture | Sunday Observer

Milka awaits her show as Tehani shoots sorry picture

25 July, 2021
Tehani Egodawela
Tehani Egodawela

TOKYO, July 24. – Sri Lanka’s Milka Gehani de Silva had her final workout today as she prepared for her artistic gymnastics women’s event of the XXX11 Olympic Games scheduled to be worked off at Ariake Arena at 11.55 am Japan ST (8.25 am SL time) tomorrow (25).

De Silva, fresh after a two-year stint in Japan, is considered to be a brightest medal prospect for Sri Lanka at next year’s Asian Games in China. She looked confident on the eve of her decisive event.

“I have been working hard for the event and will make every effort to have an improved performance,” said De Silva who has been given another two years of sports scholarship after the Olympics.

Chamara Dharmawardena is down to compete in the judo men’s 73 kg on July 26 at 11.07 am Japan ST (7.37 am SL time) while Matthew Abeysinghe will swim in the men’s 100m freestyle on July 27 at 7.09 pm Japan ST (3.39 SL time).

However, Tehani Egodawela painted a poor picture when she became the first Sri Lankan to be seen in action. Firing at the women’s 10m air rifle event at the Asaka Shooting Range, she accounted for a dismal performance in finishing one before the last among the 50 competitors who took part in the qualification round.

Egodawela had rounds of 102.9, 103.8, 100.9, 102.3, 100.8 and 100.8 to total 611.5 in her six qualifying rounds to finish 49th out of 50 competitors. Only Luna Soloman of Eritrea, taking part under the Refugee Olympic team, finished behind the Lankan with a total of 605.9. “It is not what I dreamed of. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well” said Egodawela.

Norway’s Jeanatte Hegg Duestad had rounds of 105.7, 105.8, 105.3, 106.2, 105.3 and 104.6 to finish on top of the 50 competitors who took part in women’s 10m air rifle qualifying round with a new Olympic record of 632.9. South Korean Hee Moon Park (631.7) and American Mary Carolynn Tucker (631.4) finished second and third respectively in the qualifier. Unfortunately, none of them could win medals.

China’s Qian Yang who had finished sixth in the qualifiers, bounced back to win the gold medal when she had a grand aggregate of 251.8, a new Olympic record. Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Federation (251.1) and Nina Christen of Switzerland (230.6) won the silver and bronze medals.

Thus, Yang became the first ever gold medallist at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, holding her nerve to clinch the women’s 10m air rifle title. She had an exciting finish over 21-year-old Galashina after the ROC shooter missed the centre two rings, scoring 8.9 on her final shot.

Yang scored 9.8 with her final shot to finish with an Olympic record of 251.8. Galashina finished 0.7 behind on 251.1. Nina Christen of Switzerland took the bronze medal.

As the first champion of the 2020 Games, Yang was awarded her medal by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

“It’s unbelievable that I can be here. I was really nervous. The competition was really tight, but I’m so happy that I could win,” Yang said after accounting for the first gold medal of the Games. “I feel so happy that this golden medal is a gift to my country. I’m so proud. I didn’t think too much during the match because I was very nervous and my heart was beating very fast, so I just tried to be myself and keep my emotions in control. Just concentrate on being yourself,” she observed.

“I didn’t care so much about the points. I just wanted to fix myself and fix my mood during the competition,” she said after the exciting win. None of the medallists in this event from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio competed in Tokyo and the field was open for a new champion.

While Yang and Galashina finished the qualification round in sixth and eighth respectively, Jeanette Hegg Duestad of Norway was the leader going into the final after shooting an Olympic record of 632.9. She finished outside of the medals in fourth place.

“I am very, very happy with my performance today. It was a close tussle for supremacy and my qualification was really, really good. There are high scores in there, so I am happy with my performance and I only shoot tens the whole day, so I don’t think I could do much different, said Duestad.

Meanwhile, the Japanese talked high of the fireworks that lit up the night sky high above the Olympic Stadium to mark the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 seen far beyond Japan’s capital.

Titled ‘United by Emotion’, the ceremony welcomed athletes from 206 nations to the Olympic Games in Tokyo - the second time the Japanese city has hosted the world’s biggest sporting event after 1964. The Games of the XXXII Olympiad were officially declared open by the Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Four-time Grand Slam singles champion and the reigning champion at the US Open and the Australian Open tennis championships, Naomi Osaka of Japan lit the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony.

Japan’s national flag was carried into the stadium by two-time Olympic weightlifting champion Yoshinobu Miyake and Olympic marathon champion Naoko Takahashi.

They were joined alongside by Youth Olympic Games curling medallist Momoha Tabata, Youth Olympic Games sports climbing champion Keita Dohi, percussionist Hibiki Sakai as well as rescue worker ASABA Mizuki.

As the flag was raised by members of the Self Defence Forces, renowned singer Mlsla delivered a powerful performance of the national anthem Kimi Ga Yo. People around the world were then asked to remember those affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the Olympians who had passed away, including the Israeli athletes who lost their lives in Munich 1972.