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Tokyo Olympics LIVE updates: Australia’s 17 golds, Kookaburras chasing the pinnacle, bronze for Melissa Wu

Australia has never won more gold, and dude, we have never been this cool.

For that, we can thank a couple of Chesty Bond paddlers and a skinny kid with a sandy mop of hair who skates with the freedom that our nation in lockdown so desperately craves.

As our men’s hockey team prepares to play Belgium in their gold medal match, Australia’s 17th gold medal of these Games – equal of our best haul since the modern Olympics began – was won by 18-year-old Keegan Palmer, an Aussie-American skateboarder with a style as smooth as a Shinkansen train.

The reaction of Keegan Palmer.

The reaction of Keegan Palmer.Credit:Getty Images

Palmer’s spectacular and seemingly effortless winning run at the skate park came within a few minutes of kayakers Thomas Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen holding off Germany’s world champion team to become the first Australian pair to win the 1000-metre event at an Olympics.

Read the full analysis from Chip Le Grand in Tokyo

Sam Kerr became the Matildas’ record goalscorer when she struck her 48th goal for the national team, one more than Lisa De Vanna, in a crazy third-place game in which the USA claimed bronze after a thrilling 4-3 victory.

Tony Gustavsson’s team gave everything and will feel that, against what had hitherto been a disappointing American outfit, this was a missed opportunity to gain Australia’s first soccer medal.

Sam Kerr and Becky Sauerbrunn compete for the ball.

Sam Kerr and Becky Sauerbrunn compete for the ball.Credit:Getty Images

It was a game played in frenetic fashion, and it was the teams’ sixth game in just over a fortnight, so exhaustion might have been expected.

What was not expected was the way that the USA took the lead through superstar Megan Rapinoe, who scored direct from a corner kick after eight minutes.

Real the full report from Michael Lynch

The Kookaburras have settled into the men’s hockey final against Belgium firing the ball around and probing the solid Red Lions defence, but the gold medal match remains scoreless after the first quarter.

Belgium had an early chances with a couple of back stick shots repelled by Australian keeper Andrew Charter, and would have been happy to slow the Kookaburras playing on their terms.

Australia has forced into being patient and have to build slowly down by a stacked Belgium defence, rather than free-flowing counter attacking hockey they would favour.

Once they set-up the Red Lions are not leaving a lot of space in the final quarter of the field making it hard for the Australian to create clean chances.

The Kookaburras were forced into the circle at the net looking for deflections.

Belgium’s Arthur Van Doren and Antoine Sylvain T Kina battle for possession with Australia’s Tim Brand.

Belgium’s Arthur Van Doren and Antoine Sylvain T Kina battle for possession with Australia’s Tim Brand.Credit:Getty Images

Belgium stand in the way of Australia and an Olympic gold medal. But more than that, Thursday’s final will turn on the Kookaburras’ defensive discipline and one man, Alexander Hendrickx and his drag flick.

Belgium’s talisman, who will play the final with six stitches in his head after wearing a stick in a pool game, has scored 14 goals during the tournament, 12 from penalty corners at a rate close to 40 per cent and has his other two from penalty strokes.

Alexander Hendrickx.

Alexander Hendrickx.Credit:Getty

The gold medal could be decided by Hendrickx’s stick, which has already produced three hat-tricks at the Games including one in the Red Lions’ 5-2 semi-final success against India.

“I have a lot of confidence in my technique. Throughout the year as well, the corners went well also in the club level,” Hendrickx said. “But with this team, we get a lot of corners during the game, so the more corners we get, the more we can score.”

READ the full report

Britain’s Matthew Walls has won the men’s omnium ahead of New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart and Italian Elia Viviani. Australia’s Sam Welsford finished in 11th. The omnium is run and won across four races, the last of which was held just now. Each race is a different length with points being offered at various stages, including for sprints, lapping the field and where you finish in the race.

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 at the Olympics.

Urging him on from their sofa, Zango’s father, brother and sisters erupted in joy when he leapt 17.47 metres on his third run, propelling him briefly into second place behind Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo.

Hugues Fabrice Zango celebrates with his medal.

Hugues Fabrice Zango celebrates with his medal.Credit:Getty Images

Zango eventually finished third behind Pichardo and China’s Zhu Yaming, who jumped a personal best of 17.57 metres to claim the silver medal. “We were really very scared. After the first two tries we were really intensely stressed, we really didn’t know how things were going to go,” said Zango’s brother Alex Cedric.

Zango won his bronze medal, the first for the West African nation since it began participating in the Olympics in 1972, on Burkina Faso’s Independence Day.

“It’s an immense joy, because we experienced it live with the chills – and in the end, victory. It’s really an immense joy for us parents, but also for the people of Burkina Faso. We are very proud,” said Zango’s father Jacques, hugging his wife, who was so nervous she chose not to watch the event.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore was among the first to congratulate Zango.

“I have just followed the magnificent performance of our great champion from start to finish,” Kabore wrote on Twitter. “Thank you Hugues for this bronze medal. We are all proud of you.”

Zango said he had hoped to do better than bronze but said he was proud to win his country’s first Olympic medal.

“Burkina Faso is really happy. Everybody is happy. I think they will throw a great party when I go back,” he said.

Reuters

Australia will be gunning for men’s hockey gold when the Kookaburras clash with Belgium in the men’s gold medal game from 8:00pm AEST

Australia versus Belgium.

Australia versus Belgium.Credit:SMH

Australia has never won more gold, and dude, we have never been this cool.

For that, we can thank a couple of Chesty Bond paddlers and a skinny kid with a sandy mop of hair who skates with the freedom that our nation in lockdown so desperately craves.

As our men’s hockey team prepares to play Belgium in their gold medal match, Australia’s 17th gold medal of these Games – equal of our best haul since the modern Olympics began – was won by 18-year-old Keegan Palmer, an Aussie-American skateboarder with a style as smooth as a Shinkansen train.

The reaction of Keegan Palmer.

The reaction of Keegan Palmer.Credit:Getty Images

Palmer’s spectacular and seemingly effortless winning run at the skate park came within a few minutes of kayakers Thomas Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen holding off Germany’s world champion team to become the first Australian pair to win the 1000-metre event at an Olympics.

Read the full analysis from Chip Le Grand in Tokyo

The next Aussie in action at the velodrome will be Sam Welsford in the men’s omnium points race. It will be 100 laps long, with points earned for the top-five finishers in sprints every 10 laps, double points for the final sprint and 20 points for lapping the field.

Italy has another athletics gold medal to go with their men’s 100 metres victory and the shared gold medal in the men’s high jump, with Massimo Stano winning the 20-kilometre race walk. Stano took the gold in 1:21:05 ahead of a Japan silver and bronze with Koki Ikeda second and Toshikazu Yamanishi third. Australia’s Declan Tingay finished 17th with a time of 1:24:00. Fellow Australian and bronze medal winner from this event in Rio, Dane Bird-Smith, was a late withdrawal from the Tokyo games for family medical reasons.

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