US power into Olympic basketball final as Felix targets track history

·4 min read

The all-conquering US women's basketball team outclassed Serbia to reach their seventh consecutive Olympic final on Friday as American sprint great Allyson Felix set her sights on track and field history.

Elsewhere on day 14 of the Tokyo Games, Poland's Dawid Tomala won an astonishing 50km walk gold despite only completing the distance once before and Cuban heavyweight Julio la Cruz triumphed in the boxing ring.

With less than three days of competition before Sunday's closing ceremony, China top the medals table on 34 golds, with the United States four behind and host nation Japan third on 22.

Double-doubles from Breanna Stewart and Brittney Griner led six-time defending champions the USA to a 79-59 win against Serbia, setting up a final against Japan or France.

"Offensively, I just thought we put enough points on the scoreboard to win. It wasn't as clean and fluid as we would like," said US coach Dawn Staley.

"But at this stage of the game you're going to have to win a lot of different ways and we found a way to win."

Cuban boxer La Cruz, who was shot during a robbery just a few years ago, won his second Olympic gold with victory in the heavyweight boxing final.

The 31-year-old defeated Russia's Muslim Gadzhimagomedov on unanimous points to add the Tokyo title to his Rio 2016 light-heavyweight crown.

Poland's Tomala earlier kicked off the action in punishing heat in Sapporo, the revised venue for the race walks and marathons intended to avoid Tokyo's high summer temperatures.

It was an incredible win by the 31-year-old, given he only completed his first 50km race walk this year in Slovakia, finishing fifth.

"This was only the second 50km in my life and I win it," he said. "It is crazy, right?"

April Ross and Alexandra Klineman beat Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy to win the women's beach volleyball, securing USA's fourth title in the event.

Records continued to tumble at the Izu Velodrome, with gold medals to be decided in the women's madison and the men's sprint.

- Felix history bid -

Later Felix, 35, goes into Friday's 400m final level with Jamaican great Merlene Ottey on nine Olympic medals and looking to claim sole ownership of the record.

"It was a fight to get here. When I was younger, I never really thought about making a final," said Felix, who won silver in the event at the 2016 Rio Games.

"This time, you get older and it seems harder. You just have to get smarter and figure it out."

Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan, already the 5,000m gold-medallist, goes up against Kenya's defending champion Faith Kipyegon in the final of the 1500m, with the 10,000m still to come on her gruelling schedule.

Jamaica look runaway favourites in the women's 4x100m relay, led by double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and 100m silver medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

In football, Sweden, the 2016 runners-up, take on first-time finalists Canada in the women's final in Yokohama.

The match, initially scheduled for 11:00 am, was relocated from the Olympic Stadium and pushed back to the evening because of heat concerns, with temperatures climbing into the 30s on Friday.

The Netherlands will bid for a record fourth Olympic women's hockey title against Argentina after Britain beat India 4-3 to secure bronze.

World number one Nelly Korda holds a three-stroke lead over India's Aditi Ashok going into Saturday's final round of the women's golf tournament.

Away from the action, two Belarusian coaches have been kicked out of the Games over an alleged attempt to force a sprinter to fly home.

The International Olympic Committee said it had removed the accreditations of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich and they had left the Olympic Village.

The body said this week that it was investigating the pair over their role in the case of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who sought protection at a Tokyo airport to avoid being put on a plane home.


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