The flag bearer for the Principality, Xiaoxin Yang, opened with a win in her first match in the women’s table tennis singles tournament. The “ping pong” player beat her rival, the Bulgarian Polina Trifonova, 4-1 (11-4; 6-11; 11-5; 11-4; 11-0). A great start for the 44th ranked player in the world which qualified her to play the formidable Yingsha Sun of China in the next round. But that was a bridge too far for Yang who was eliminated in the round of 16. The Monegasque table tennis player couldn’t have been expected to overcome the number two in the world – the young Chinese Yingsha Sun to whom she lost in four sets: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3.
Monaco’s Sovereign supported his subjects from the stands and in the first of the four quarter-finals rowing on the Sea Forest basin, Quentin Antognelli did Monaco proud and finished fourth and thus qualified for thé semi-final C/D. And then went on to place 2nd in the semi-final qualifying to race in the final C.
In judo, Cédric Bessi (-73kg) the judoka overcame the difficult challenge of acclimatisation in the record Tokyo heat, and started his competition in good form by beating Lucas Diallo (Burkina Faso) – an opponent he is familiar with from training with him in Paris. He won in one minute and 15 seconds. Regrettably, Bessi was defeated in his second fight, in the round of 16, by Mongolian Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir, who eventally went on to win the bronze medal.
Unfortunately, one of the Principality’s athletes saw her Olympic dream come to an end unexpectedly early. Claudia Verdino was disqualified in swimming in series 2 of the women’s 100m breaststroke. The problem was an irregular butterfly kick identified from an underwater video inspection. The 20-year-old swimmer, swam well and clocked 1’14’’79. Such a disappointment for her.
Monaco Olympians Still to Compete in Friday’s Athletics and swimming
Finally, among the six red and white athletes present in the Land of the Rising Sun, two have yet to start their Games. They will both compete on Friday. First there will be Charlotte Afriat, who will be on the track at the Olympic Stadium, in heat 2 in the 100m. Will the 18-year-old come close to her best time, 12’’27 set last June? 12’’40 or below would be great achievement and reward her for all the hard work in preparation.
At 18 years old she has time to perfect her art for future Olympics compared with the 34 year old favourite to win gold this time around in Tokyo. That’s Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could make history as she has already won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. As recently as June she ran the second fastest time in history clocking an eye-popping 10.63 seconds. That scorching run put the Jamaican behind only Florence Griffith Joyner in the women’s history books.
There is an even younger competitor in the Monaco delegation than Charlotte Afriat; it’s Théo Druenne, who just turned 16, will be the last to enter the competition at the Tokyo Olympics. He will take part on Friday at 12:41pm (French time) in the 1500m freestyle round 1. The Monegasque, who will compete in the number 2 lane, will face four swimmers: Marcelo Acosta (Salvador), Aflah Prawira (Indonesia), Daniel Wiffen (Ireland) and Marwan Aly Elkamash (Egypt).