China wins 3 golds at Tokyo 2020, 12-year-old Zaza ends Olympic debut

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On Saturday night, Sun Yiwen edged Ana Maria Popescu of Romania to win China's first women's epee individual Olympic gold medal, also the country's third gold of the day.

Sun Yiwen of China poses for a photo after the award ceremony for women's Epee Individual at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, July 24, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Ming)

"Today I didn't think too much about the results, I just fight with the strategy I practiced before without hesitation, that's why I won," said Sun.

But for two-time Olympic taekwondo champion Wu Jingyu, it was not a perfect day as the 34-year-old veteran failed to save herself through repechage after being stopped in the women's 49kg quarterfinals.

Wu, who is competing in her fourth Olympic Games after giving birth to a girl in 2017, started well early in the afternoon, beating refugee athlete Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi 24-3 in just two rounds, before being overwhelmed 33-2 by Spanish teenage sensation Adriana Cerezo.

The 17-year-old Spaniard later advanced to the final after overcoming Turkey's Rukiye Yildirim, granting Wu the chance to vie for a semifinal slot through repechage. Wu, however, lost 12-9 to Serbia's Tirana Bogdanovic in a Rio 2016 final rematch.

"Age matters," sighed Wu, the 2008 Games 47kg winner and the 49kg gold medalist in London 2012.

"At the very moment the rival athlete was approaching, I could literally feel her speed and assault.

"My tactics were sound and clear, and so is my mind. I could see the chance to score, but my body just couldn't perform as strong as I'd expected," she added.

In table tennis women's singles, Zaza lost in straight sets against 39-year-old Austrian paddler Liu Jia. The 12-year-old girl from war-torn Syria wanted to send a message to the world through her Olympic debut.

"It's very tough, but I had to fight for it. This is my message to everyone who has the same situation - fight for your dream, and try hard regardless of the difficulties that you are having, you will reach your goal," Zaza said.

Javad Foroughi made his home country proud after having triumphed in the men's 10m air pistol to win the country's first gold at the Tokyo Games.

The 41-year-old enjoyed a 4.2-point advantage before the final shot and safely bagged the gold with 244.8 points.

"This is the most important gold since it is the first for shooting in my country," he said.

Four-time Olympian Damir Mikec of Serbia claimed the silver with 237.9 points, which is the first Olympic medal for the 37-year-old, while China's 2008 Olympic champion Pang Wei added another bronze to his collection following a third place finish in Rio five years ago.

Aron Szilagyi of Hungary completed a hat-trick of the Olympic men's sabre individual title with a dominant 15-7 victory over Luigi Samele of Italy.

Japanese judoka Naohisa Takato and Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo dominated Day 1 of the judo competition.

In men's 60kg final, Yang Yung-Wei of Chinese Taipei suffered a match-deciding penalty in the final, surrendering the gold medal to the Japanese, the host's first gold at this Olympics.

In women's 48kg final, Krasniqi defeated home favourite Funa Tonaki by a waza-ari in three minutes and 41 seconds, which marked Kosovo's first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Traditional archery powerhouse South Korea won the first gold medal when An San and Kim Je Deok paired up to defeat their Dutch opponents in archery's mixed team final.

Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz won the gold of the men's cycling road race. Demonstrating his endurance, he dashed out in the last two kilometers to clock a winning time of six hours five minutes and 26 seconds for the glory.

Wout Van Aert of Belgium took the silver, while the bronze went to Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia.

The first swimming preliminary session kicked off Saturday night at the Tokyo Aquatics Center. The much-anticipated Japanese swimmer and world champion Daita Seto, who claimed a bronze medal at Rio 2016, failed to make the final in the men's 400m individual medley.

In gymnastics, renowned Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura fell off the horizontal bar, failing to qualifying for the final. As horizontal bar was the only event Uchimura entered at Tokyo 2020, it means the two-time Olympic all-around winner ended his Olympic journey. 

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