WE’RE ON THE go for five-in-a-row. Michael Conlan bagged Ireland’s third medal last night and this evening, Paddy Barnes added another to the haul. Meanwhile, there was also success for both Katie Taylor and Cian O’Connor today.
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- Cian O’Connor secures a bronze medal in showjumping, after hitting the last fence in a silver medal jump off with Gerco Schroder of Holland.
- Alistair Cragg is out of the men’s 5,000m after he finished 17th in this morning’s heat.
- Katie Taylor — who, coincidentally, is not British — beat Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan for a place in the women’s 60kg final at 2pm.
- Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes became Ireland’s fifth medallist, beating Devendro Singh Laishram in his 49kg quarter-final this evening.
- Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake qualify for the 200m Final with ease.
10.27 – Deep breaths, everybody. Long, deep breaths.
This is not just any ordinary Wednesday. This is Olympics day 12 Wednesday which means a whole lot of of hype, excitement and nerves as we countdown the seconds to Katie Taylor’s lightweight semi-final. That’s before we even turn our attention to Paddy Barnes who has a chance to make history as a two-time medallist when he steps into the ring for his light-flyweight quarter-final tonight.
I’m Niall Kelly and I promise to try to breathe at regular intervals today. You should all do the same. I hear it’s healthy.
10.35 – It’s not exactly a busy day for Team Ireland but it’s a big one. Here’s what you should be keeping an eye on today:
- Men’s 5,000m: Alistair Cragg, heat two, 10.45am
- Women’s 60kg boxing: Katie Taylor v Mavzuna Chorieva, semi-final, 2pm
- Men’s 49kg boxing: Paddy Barnes v Devendro Singh Laishram, quarter-final, 8.45pm
10.41 – And it looks like today has just gotten a little bit busier. Cian O’Connor and Blue Loyd were the first reserves for today’s showjumping final in Greenwich Park and according to the man himself, he’s in the mix following a withdrawal this morning.
The official start list here confirms that O’Connor is indeed in the final, though it looks like he will be second to jump when the competition starts at 12pm.
10.48 – The men’s 5,000m heats are just about to get underway with 10,000m gold medallist Mo Farah looking to double up. He goes in heat one but it’s the morning’s second heat, featuring Ireland’s Alistair Cragg, that we’re really looking forward to.
10.59 – All of you decathlon lovers will surely be interested to know how this year’s first event, the men’s 100m, went down. Gold medal favourite Ashton Eaton is off to a flier with a time of 10.35 with Team USA buddy Trey Hardee (10.42) and Damian Warner of Canada (10.48) the next fastest across the finish line.
The lads have four more events today with the long jump up next.
11.03 – Mo Farah qualifies for the final of the men’s 5,000m in third place. The Team GB star clocked in at 13:26 flat, just behind heat winner Hayle Ibrahimov (13:25.23) and Isiah Kiplangat Koech (13:25.64).
11.14 – Reader Mark Geary (presumably not this Mark Geary?) has sent us in this screengrab of Twitter’s trending topics in Australia. Who’s that there above 100m gold medallist Sally Pearson? Ah sure, ’tis only our own Paddy Barnes. Big in Ireland, bigger in Australia.
11.26 – Dejen Gebremeskel wins from his fellow Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew in a pretty fast time of 13:15.15. Alistair Cragg is out though, finishing down the field in 17th. His time of 13:47.01 is well outside his season’s best of 13:32.76.
11.34 – Speaking of Katie, she’s making even more friends around the world. Here’s this morning’s fight write-up from Time Magazine:
Soft-spoken, rising to just 5 ft. 5 in. and possessing a somewhat slight frame, Taylor doesn’t exactly scream pugilist. But the moment she straps on her gloves and head guard she transforms into a fierce street fighter. With her clinical jabs and nimble footwork, she wears opponents down as she uses them as punching bags. Those in the know expected her to advance from Monday’s quarterfinal. But Taylor faced a sizable adversary in Britain’s Natasha Jonas, a former European champion who — like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis and so many other British athletes before her — could benefit from the home crowd willing her on. Not even fighting on home turf, however, could help her overcome the Irish juggernaut.
11.46 – The women’s 800m heats have got off to a rather unusual start. America’s Alysia Johnson Montano absolutely flew out of the blocks to run a ridiculously fast opening lap of 55 seconds and then just narrowly clung on to win the heat in 2:00.47 ahead of Caster Semenya and Halima Hachlaf. Them’s the tactics that wear you down, Alysia.
There are six heats in total with three to qualify automatically from each plus fastest losers. We’ll keep an eye on them for you.
11.59 – It probably won’t be long before our IOC chums stamp all over this clip so get it while you can. Cuba’s Lazaro Borges had a bit of an incident during this morning’s pole vault qualifying session. Oof.
12.09 – Sometimes when your luck is, your luck is really in. This morning, O’Connor was counting on a miracle just to get into the showjumping final. Now he’s guaranteed his place in the top 20 which will see him through to this afternoon’s second round. How about that?
12.12 – Now might be a good time for a recap on how the showjumping final actually works. Based on the previous three rounds of scores, the top 35 horses qualified for this afternoon’s Round A — the jump that Cian O’Connor has just completed. The scores from earlier in the week are reset to zero before today’s jumps and now the top 20 scores (plus ties) will go through to Round B later on. The medal placings are based on the combined scores from today’s two jumps which means that if O’Connor has another clear round later today, he will at minimum be in a jump-off for a gold medal.
13.25 – You’ll forgive us if we’ve been, em, a little bit obsessed with the Irish angle on the Olympic news this morning. Here are some of the less important other headlines:
- In the women’s 800m, Sarah Attar has become the first female athlete to represent Saudi Arabia in track and field.
- 10,000m champion Mo Farah has qualified for the final of the 5,000m, which takes place on Saturday night.
- The men’s handball quarter-final between Hungary and Iceland was a cracker, ending 34-33 after two periods of extra time. Watch the highlights of this one later if you get a chance.
- America’s Ashton Eaton leads the men’s decathlon after two events, the 100m and the long jump. Fellow countryman Trey Hardee is second with Damian Warner in third.
13.36 – Here’s how we’re looking inside the ExCeL. If you’re there and you’re reading this, make it loud.
13.50 – This is your 10-minute warning. This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill.
13.57 – Alright, we’re minutes away from showtime. If you only take one message from this blog with you through the next 15 minutes, make it this one.
14.13 – Round 3: It’s getting a little bit wild in there. Katie looks to stretch her advantage with some combos — “1, 2, 3, out” as her dad Peter and Jimmy Magee keep reminding us — and a cracking right cross. Chorieva bites back with her best shots of the fight so far but it’s all Katie again. Taylor leads 13-6.
14.20 – A quick word on Chorieva, who at times seemed more interested in showboating than actually fighting. I’m not really in a position to give advice to Olympic boxers but, eh, when you’re fighting Katie Taylor, don’t do that.
“She’s a cheeky little… boxer,” notes Michael Lyster on RTÉ. There was a bit of a pause before he finished that sentence though.
14.54 – The Daily Telegraph Editor congratulates Katie Taylor, making a thinly-veiled reference to the paper’s recent faux pas in the process.
If you haven’t heard already, Katie Taylor will meet Sofya Ochigava of Russia at 4.45pm for the Gold Medal tomorrow in the Excel Arena.
Cancel all your plans, quit your job if you have to, just make sure you’re near a TV at that time.
15.03 – Here’s the scene in Killarney Road, Bray, as Katie Taylor won her fight. Special thanks to Aaron McAllorum for sending it to us.
15.20 – Even the Tipp hurlers will take time out of their busy schedule tomorrow, on account of the Katie Taylor fight.
15.29 – Could be a bit of an upset in the Men’s basketball. Russia are beating Lithuania 54-50. Should they lose, it’ll be the first time the Lithuanians have failed to qualify for an Olympic semi-final since 1992 in Barcelona.
15.51 – One more rider left and Cian O’Connor, it seems, is guaranteed a jump off for bronze at the very least.
15.59 – Not such a bad Olympic Games after all for Ireland, it seems.
16.03 – “Ironic,” is how RTE’s Michael Lyster describes O’Connor’s success.
That’s certainly one way of putting it – though not the word everyone would use, I suspect.
16.16 – Phew! What a day it’s been for Irish sport already. And we still have Paddy Barnes to come later.
We’re now joint 66th in the medal by the way, alongside the likes of Tajikistan and Puerto Rico – and that only takes into account medals that have been confirmed (ie O’Connor, but not Taylor, Nevin or Conlan).
16.32 – O’Connor, alongside Gerco Schroder of Holland (left) and the Gold Medal winner, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland (centre).
16.43 – In non-Cian O’Connor news, here’s a pic from earlier of Michael Conlan meeting Lennox Lewis.
16.59 – Russia have caused quite an upset in Men’s Basketball, beating Lithuania 83-74.
Spain are currently in action against France, and they’re losing 35-29 in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, the USA face Australia at 10.15 tonight.
17.03 – Speaking to TheScore.ie, Katie Taylor had this to say:
“The support here has been unbelievable; it feels like I’m boxing at home in Dublin really. 10,000 Irish people, it’s incredible, this is what dreams are made of. And hopefully I can make everyone proud tomorrow.”
17.12 – France and Hungary have reached the semi-finals in handball. Both their games were incredibly closely fought – France beat Spain 23-22 thanks to a last-minute goal, while the Hungarians triumphed 34-33 after extra-time against Iceland.
17.44 – Here’s South African 20-year-old swimmer and conqueror of Michael Phelps (in the 200m butterfly at least), Chad le Clos, meeting some of the Chelsea youngsters earlier (via @chelseafc).
18.01 – Here’s how the medal table currently looks, with China holding a substantial lead at the top.
18.12 – Spain were made to work for it, having trailed for a considerable portion of the match, but they’ve ultimately beaten France in the Men’s Basketball quarter-finals by a score of 66-59.
“Whoever was left in charge of the ringwalk music was obviously in tune with the national mood. Dressed in red, Taylor walked the walk of a champion as Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” blared over the arena PA. For those 15 minutes, for all of Ireland, the 26-year-old was just that. Nothing else mattered.”
19.20 – USA’s Jason Richardson wins the 110m Hurdles with a time of 13.13
Britain’s Jason Richardson comes third with a time of 13.31 and faces an anxious wait to see if he’s qualified for the final.
19.30 – We’re almost ready now for the third 110m Hurdles Semi-Final, featuring Dayron Robles of Cuba, who is the current world record holder.
19.34 – Robles has won unsurprisingly, but he’ll surely have to improve on his time of 13.12 to triumph in the final later on.
19.53 – The reigning European Champion Asli Çakir claims victory in the first 1500m semi with a time of 4:05.11.
Russia’s Ekaterina Kostetskaya is second, and Morgan Uceny of the US is third.
20.03 – Abeba Arigawe of Ethipia has won the second 1500m semi-final with a time of 4.01.03.
20.27 – Here’s that unusual Yohan Blake pose I mentioned earlier (Matt Slocum/AP/Press Association Images).
20.58 – Barnes has won this round 10-5, which means he leads 17-10 overall. Unless, something hugely dramatic happens, Barnes will have secured Ireland another medal.
21.28 – Cian O’Connor has been speaking to RTE.
He tells them that he may not be the “best rider in the world,” but he claims he is the “best organised”.
“My sister Pippa texted me this morning and said she had a dream I’d won a medal, so the dream came true.”
He also says that the achievement partially makes up for what happened in Athens eight years ago.
21.37 – While we were focusing on the boxing, Aries Merritt won gold for the US in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Jason Richardson took silver and Hansle Parchment was third.
Meanwhile, Allyson Felix took gold in the women’s 200m with a time of 21.88.
Her fellow American, Carmelita Jeter, took bronze and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica came second.
21.50 – Brittney Reese has won another gold medal for the US in the women’s long jump. Her jump of 7.12 won it, with Elena Sokolova of Russia (7.07) taking silver and another American, Janay Deloach, taking bronze (6.89).
Meanwhile, Team GB have been beaten by Argentina in women’s hockey, and Argentina are also on the verge of winning against Brazil in the men’s basketball.