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Olympic Breakfast: Quartet get Ireland off the mark with bronze medal

It was a positive day for Ireland at the Sea Forest Waterway and Kokugikan Arena.

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BEFORE TODAY, FOUR Irish women had won an Olympic medal. Now that number has doubled. Day five in Tokyo brought joy for team Ireland with several masterclasses and one shock victory. Welcome to the latest of our overnight updates from the Olympic Games. 

The Irish Eye

Ireland have their first medal of the Tokyo Olympics thanks to the women’s four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty. A storming second-half surge saw the Irish boat claim a bronze medal just ahead of the British challenge. 

Australia held on for first with the Dutch in second. 

emily-hegarty-eimear-lambe-and-aifric-keogh-celebrate-after-winning-the-bronze Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Also at the Sea Forest Waterway, the Irish pair of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy roared into tomorrow’s final, winning today’s semi-final with a world’s best time of 6:05.33. 

However, there was disappointment for the women’s double sculls team of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen, who finished fifth and must settle for a place in tomorrow’s B final.

In the women’s pair semi-final, Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska also missed out on a qualifying place and will enter the B final. Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished tenth overall after coming fourth in their B final. 

The Ireland rugby Sevens finished their Olympic campaign with a loss, going down 22-0 to Kenya in their play-off for 9th/10th place. 

As for the women’s hockey team, their pool tie against Germany ended in a 4-2 defeat. It means Friday’s pool fixture against India is now crucial. 

Having won yesterday’s opening race, the Irish sailing pair of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove took 12th place in the second of ten races today. 

Megan Fletcher’s Olympic debut ended in defeat after she was beaten by Austria’s Michaela Polleres in their women’s 70kg round 32 contest. She became only the second woman to represent Ireland in judo at this level. 

Over at the Kokugikan Arena, Lisburn boxer Kurt Walker delivered an almighty shock when he eliminated reigning world champion and number one seed Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan. 

The featherweight last 16 ended in a split decision triumph for the Irishman. He marches on to the last eight and a fight for a medal. 

Speaking afterwards, an ecstatic Walker said: “It’s indescribable. I just need to get my head level again and try and relax and recover, but I am buzzing.

“I just tried to keep him off – feinting, jabbing, bodywork. I knew I was fit so I knew I could definitely do it for two rounds anyway and get the two rounds up, which I did. I knew he was going to push on strong, so I am delighted.

“I knew he is relentless. I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I have a really big heart, I really do, and I knew I could dig deep. I have the best coaching staff in the world, 100 per cent. I was delighted to see how happy they were.”

Who else is making headlines? 

Australian Ariarne Titmus took gold to dethrone American great Katie Ledecky in the Olympic 200m freestyle final.

Cue Dean Boxall’s distinctive celebrations…

Ledecky bounced back in her signature event, the 1500-meter freestyle, to get her first gold of these games. 

New Zealand defeated Great Britain 29-7 to set up a rugby 7s final against Fiji. That is scheduled for 10.00am later today. 

Reader feedback

“It was a masterclass. Probably the best single boxing performance in Irish Olympic history. He made the world champion look silly for large parts of the fight, but sustained quite a bit damage in the 3rd.

“The yank he faces on Sunday looks like he has a big career in post-Olympic pro boxing. I hope Mr Walker has enough time to recharge for an equally gruelling test.” 

Charles Mander aptly sumarises the Lisburn boxer’s display earlier this morning. 

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Your Olympic schedule for the rest of today

There is more Irish boxing action to come as Aoife O’Rourke takes on China’s Qian Li for a place in the middleweight division quarter-finals. Their fight is set for 10.18 am. 

In badminton, Nhat Nguyen’s latest Group F clash takes place at 10.40am when he will face Wang Tzu-wei. 

Mona McSharry returns to the pool later this morning for her 200m breaststroke heat at 11.36am. 

 Highlight of the night

The 200m women’s freestyle also saw Hong Kong win their first Olympic medal in swimming. The figure who delivered it was Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, grandniece of Charlie. 

Some further reading

The Irish Times’ Ian O’Riordan on the Budokan judo arena, where Dylan recorded one of his best live albums. 

Quote of the day 

“It is a bit surreal. I think it is just something for the future. Hopefully, this will be the first of many. Hopefully, it gives the young girls coming up real hope it is completely possible. If we can do it, anyone can,” a delighted Emily Hegarty told RTE post-race.

Get in touch

Questions, comments and expertise are always warmly received in the comments section below, or drop me a line at maurice@the42.ie.

About the author:

Maurice Brosnan

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