The atmosphere here at the Oi hockey stadium in Tokyo for the men’s hockey semi is buzzing. Both Germany and Australia have large support contingents and even louder benches. It’s the loudest venue I’ve been to throughout the Games. The Kookaburras just scored a cracking goal. A long lob into the semi-circle was pulled down by Flynn Ogilve who took a touch and fired through the German defence towards the left hand corner. German keeper Alexander Stadler could do nothing about it. But Germany fired back within two minutes, wearing down the Australian defence on the left hand flank to score a penalty corner.
For the first time in 33 years, an Australian will leave the Olympics with a medal.
Harry Garside won his lightweight (57-63kg) quarter-final clash against Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin in a split decision, ensuring he will leave Tokyo with at least a bronze. However, the 24-year-old has a bigger prize on his mind, screaming “two to go” after emerging victorious in a fight that would have been difficult to score.
Safiullin won the first round and Garside the second, the result coming down to the third and final three minutes. Both fighters were tentative, rarely engaging in the decider, and both raising their arms in victory as the decision went to the judges. The verdict came back in favour of the Garside’s blue corner.
His reward will be a clash with two-time Cuban world champion Andy Cruz on Friday afternoon.
Ten years younger than an opponent he has never fought or sparred against, Garside took several minutes to work him out. Garside landed the best punches of the fight in the second round and both rarely connected in the third.
Garside has all the makings of a cult hero. The 24-year-old works as a plumber to supplement his income, incorporates ballet into his training regime and has a mullet to match that of rising track star Rohan Browning.
He took up the sport at the age of nine, but it was an inauspicious start, losing 10 of his first 18 fights. He has been rewarded with his perseverance, first with a Commonwealth Games gold medal and now the guarantee of the Olympic variety, perhaps even a gold.
The last Australian to medal at the Olympics was Grahame “Spike” Cheney, who took home silver from the 1988 Seoul Games. All up, Australia has won just four Olympic boxing medals.
It has been a difficult campaign for the Australian boxing team. One of the squad’s brightest medal hopes, Justis Huni, had to pull out with hand injuries he exacerbated during his defeat of former rugby league star Paul Gallen.
Featherweight Skye Nicholson came agonisingly close to progressing to the medal rounds, only to suffer a controversial split-decision loss at the quarter-final stage. Compatriot Paulo Aokuso lost in the same manner in his round-of-16 light-heavyweight encounter.
Lukas Windfeder has pegged back a goal for Germany. It’s 1-1, still in the first quarter of the men’s hockey semi-final.
Tim Brand has put Australia ahead early in their semi-final against Germany. The goal was set up by Flynn Ogilvie. Eight minutes to play in the first quarter and it’s the Kookaburras up 1-0 against Germany.
Brand has enjoyed a stellar campaign.
Australia’s hockey semi-final against Germany is underway. The Germans are a strong opponent, this will be a tough match.
Harry Garside will become the first Australian in 33 years to win an Olympic boxing medal after winning his semi-final against his Kazakh opponent in a 3:2 split decision. The lightweight Victorian will at least claim bronze.
Rugby Australia is investigating allegations of bad behaviour from the Australian men’s rugby sevens team on their flight home from the Tokyo Olympics.
The details of what occurred on the flight are yet to emerge but the Australian Olympic Committee and Rugby Australia are aware of the alleged incidents, which are believed to involve drunken behaviour and leaving the plane bathrooms in a mess. Japan Airlines has reportedly complained to the AOC.
Aussie boxer Harry Garside’s quarter-final lightweight bout with Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin has started. If Garside wins this fight he will ensure he becomes the first Australian Olympic boxing medallist in 33 years.
After a massive week of headlines, Simone Biles has claimed a bronze medal on return in the women’s balance beam event.
China’s Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing have claimed gold and silver respectively.