The lyrics of a popular song is DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA. But it was as that the weather gods up above the host city of the XXXIst Summer Olympic Games Rio 2016 were sheading tears of sorrow & joy. It was the 16th day of competition on the 17th& final day of the Iconic Games in Brazil, the first Latin American & entirely Portugese Speaking country to host the Sporting Extravaganza held every four years. Despite the uncertain atmosphere that was projected & indeed prevailed before the commencement of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the finale has been a story of realization of dreams, satisfaction of commitment allround & execution of responsibilities detailed. The Organising Commiittee of the RIO 2016 Olympic Games were faced with political, financial, health, doping, infrastructure & patronage issues amongst many others. Yes, minor issues remained. Yes, the games delivered on & off the area of competition. Yes, the spirit of the Olympic Values & Games were upheld. Records were broken. History was made. All 206 National Olympic Committees were represented. Tuvalu had just 01 athlete – the smallest contingent. USA sent the largest contingent of 811 athletes & officials. The International Olympic Committee fielded a team of Refugee Athletes. That would be just a tiny bit of the legacy that will remain from Rio 2016 – to be remembered, cherished & valued by all.
In Athletics, The Men’s Marathon was run in ideal conditions. The 25 plus temperature combined with the wet & cool atmosphere throughout the race did not hamper the 155 participants. Race favourite & the most dominant runner in the world over the last two years, Eliud Kipchoge ( Kenya ) won the Gold with ease in 02 hrs 08 mts 44 sec. It was historic for Kenya who also won the Gold in the Women’s Marathon – the first time it had happened at Olympic Games. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) settled for Silver in 02 hrs 09 mts 54 sec. Galen Rupp (USA) claimed the Bronze in 02 hrs 10 mts 05 sec – a Personal Best for him. Sri Lanka contingent Flag Bearer, Anuradha Indrajith Cooray finished in 34th place – time taken being 02 hrs 17 mts 06 sec. as 140 runners arrived at the finish. 15 runners who started did not finish.
In Cycling Mountain Bike, the Women’s Cross Country Gold winner was Jenny Rissveds (Sweden). She completed the 06 laps of the 30 km distance in 01 hr 30 mts 15 sec. Maja Wloszcz0wska (Poland) & Catherine Pendrel (Canada) secured Silver & Bronze respectively. The Men’s Cross Country Gold was won by Nino Schurter ( Switzerland ). He completed the 35 Km 07 laps competition in 1 hr 33 mts28 sec. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) made it to the Silver while Carlos Nicolas Coloma (Spain) collected the Bronze.
In Handball, Denmark won the Final against France 28 – 26 to take home the Men’s Gold. The Scandinavians led the Silver winning European outfit 16 – 14 at half time. The Bronze was won by Germany who beat Poland 31 – 25 in the play off for 03rd place. The winners led 17 – 13 at half time. In Basketball, the Men’s Finalbetween USA & Serbia was the last of Team Sport Finals to begin in Rio. The dominant American Cagers simply out played the opponents to register a runaway 96 – 66 win to claim the Gold. Serbia would be pleased with their Silver Medal winning performance. In the2nd Quarter, USA managed 33 points, the highest for any period of the final. The Minor Medal match was a close encounter. Spain trailed 38 – 40 at half time, but recovered to beat Australia 89 – 88 to win the Bronze. The 03rd Quarter was the highest scoring period of the game. USA ended up a successful campaign in Rio, winning the First & Last Gold Medals as well as finishing on top of the medal tally as the top ranked nation.
In Volleyball, China beat Serbia to take the Gold in the Women’s Final after beating Serbia 19 – 25, 25 – 17, 25 – 22, 25 – 23. The Silver for the beaten finalists was reward for their consistency in the competition in Rio. USA managed to win the Bronze after defeating Netherlands 25 – 23, 25 – 27, 25 – 22, 25 – 19. Brazil controlled proceedings to win the Men’s Gold Medal as Italy wilted under pressure to settle for the Silver. It was 25 – 22, 28 – 26, 26 – 24 in the Final. That was also the last top medal for the Hosts who also secured the Men’s Beach Volleyball Gold. USA turned tables on arch rivals Russia to grab the Bronze, winning the last three sets to close the game at 23 – 25, 21 – 25, 25 – 19, 25 – 19, 15 – 13. It was significant that USA won both Bronze Medals in Volleyball in Rio.
Prasanna Adikari & Haritha Perera in Rio, Brazil