Chelsea Edghill

WINNING START: Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill in action during her women’s table tennis singles preliminary round match against Fiji’s Sally Yee at the 2020 Summer Olympics, yesterday, in Tokyo, Japan. —Photo: AP

Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill enjoyed a dream start to her Olympic career, emerging with a 4-1 victory in the opening round of Women’s singles table tennis at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym here in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday.

Edghill won the first game against Fiji’s Sally Yee 11-5, but went under 4-11 in the second. It was a momentary lapse, however, Edghill taking the next three games at three, six and eight to advance to the next round of the knockout event.

Drawn against 17-year-old sensation Shin Yubin, Edghill faced an uphill battle in her bid to progress further at Tokyo 2020. The South Korean triumphed, stopping 24-year-old Edghill in straight games, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1, 12-10.

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In rowing, Trinidad and Tobago’s Felice Aisha Chow, Cuban Milena Venega and Bermuda’s Dana Alizadeh all secured quarter-final qualification at Sea Forest Waterway, yesterday.

Chow topped the second of three Women’s Single Sculls repechage races in eight minutes, 15.94 seconds to book a lane in the quarter-final round, which took place after press time, last night. Venega was the class of the field in the third repechage race, winning in 8:17.30.

In the Men’s Single Sculls repechage, Alizadeh finished second in race two in 7:35.90 to progress to the quarters. Another regional rower, Dominican Republic’s Jorge Vasquez clocked 7:42.83 for third spot in the same race. Only the top two qualified for the quarters.

At the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Barbadian swimmer Alex Sobers finished seventh in heat two and 34th overall in the men’s 400 metres freestyle. Sobers returned a time of three minutes, 59.14 seconds—almost six seconds slower than the 3:53.19 Barbados national record he established earlier this year.

“I’m not pleased with that time,” said Sobers. “I could have obviously gone a lot faster. But that’s the past, and I’m looking forward to the 200 free tomorrow (Sunday morning T&T time).”

Sobers is hoping to improve on his 1:48.35 national record.

“That’s the plan!”

Izaak Bastian was exactly one second slower than his 1:00.87 Bahamas national record in the third of seven men’s 100m breaststroke heats. Bastian’s 1:01.87 clocking earned the 20-year-old Olympic debutant 40th spot overall.

“Coming halfway across the world and being my first Olympic swim, there were a lot of nerves so I think that kind of played a part in it. But it was still an amazing opportunity to swim on a stage like this, so I’ll take the experience for sure.”

Bastian said swimming at the Olympics was like nothing he had ever experienced.

“People talk about it all the time, but you don’t really understand it until you’ve experienced it. I kind of knew what I was walking into, but still the nerves just...it shook me up a little bit, but hey, that’s a part of the game. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ll take the experience for sure, and move on to the next race. Hopefully, it goes a little bit better.”

Bastian returns to the pool on Tuesday for the 200 breaststroke heats. He is also the national record holder in that event with a 2:15.14 clocking.

“You never know what’s going to happen until you finish the race, so we’ll be trying our best the whole way. At these types of meets, I don’t really like to have a set time goal in my mind. I just want to get out there and give it my best. If the time comes, it comes, and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. Tonight, unfortunately it didn’t come.”

Bastian said that while he understands the need for the many Covid-19 countermeasures that have been put in place for Tokyo 2020, the pandemic has taken away from the Olympic Village experience.

“We’ve been going through it for more than a year now, so a lot of it is kind of normal, like the mask-wearing and everything. But in the village, I wish there were more Japanese cultural things to do like I’ve experienced in other villages, like Commonwealth Games. But due to Covid, they can’t have those things.

“Other than that,” Bastian continued, “it’s still an amazing opportunity to be a part of something like this. So, I’m just taking in the restrictions, and doing what the people tell me to keep everybody safe.”

At the Asaka Shooting Range, Aruba’s Philip Elhage finished 35th in the men’s 10-metre air pistol qualifying competition with a score of 556. India’s Chaudhary Saurabh totalled 586 to lead all qualifiers into the eight-man final. Saurabh, though, could only manage seventh spot in the main event, the gold medal going to Iran’s Javad Foroughi.

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