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Kazakhstan falls to Australia in water polo 7-4
Istomin to face Federer; Zhakypov advances to 2nd round in boxing
By Tom Davis
LONDON – Kazakhstan’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stage in the men’s water polo tournament took another blow after a 7-4 loss to Australia in Group A play July 31.
The loss drops Kazakhstan to 0-2 in Group A play with three matches left.
Australia took an early lead, scoring just over a minute into the match on a long-distance shot and adding another goal just over a minute later to stake a 2-0 lead. Kazakhstan scored its first goal less than a minute later to cut the lead to 2-1. Australia notched two more goals in the second quarter to take a 4-1 lead to halftime.
Kazakhstan scored two early goals in the second quarter to cut the lead to 4-3, but Australia scored three of the final four goals in the match to salt away the win.
Only the top four teams from each group advance to the knockout stage of men’s water polo for a chance to play for a medal. Kazakhstan now sits four points behind Group A leader Croatia and is the only team so far with no points in its group. Kazakhstan next faces Greece, which sits one point ahead, August 2.
While Kazakhstan smarted from the water polo loss, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin celebrated after a hard-fought second-round win over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in the men’s singles tennis tournament July 30.
After losing the first set, 6-7, Istomin traded points with Muller but ultimately took the final two sets, 7-6 and 7-5. He will face top-seeded Roger Federer in the third round, though that match remains unscheduled.
Pakistan’s Khurram Inam opened the day for Central and South Asia’s athletes July 31 in the final two rounds of qualifying in men’s skeet shooting. Inam started the day placed 30th and moved up to finish 28th but did not qualify for the medal round.
In opening-round action in men’s light flyweight (<49kg) boxing Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov advanced to the second round with a hard-fought 18-17 win over France’s Jeremy Beccu. Both fighters notched 6 points in the first round, but Beccu outdid Zhakypov 5-4 in the second round to take an 11-10 lead into the third round. Zhakypov then outduelled Beccu 8-6 in the final round to eke out a win. He will face Mark Barriga of the Philippines in second-round action August 4.
Light welterweight (<64kg) competition also opened, and Uzbekistan’s Uktmajon Rahmonov scored a dominant early victory, defeating Ecuador’s Anderson Rojas Mina 16-10. Rahmonov knocked down his opponent twice and won all three rounds, including outscoring Rojas Mina 6-2 in the third round. He will face Turkey’s Yakup Sener August 4.
Also in light welterweight action, Daniyar Yeleussinov scored a 19-9 victory over Jamel Herring of the United States. Yeleussinov led 8-5 after the first round and pulled away with a 7-3 second round. He closed out Herring with a 4-1 third round. Yeleussinov’s next fight will be August 4, though his opponent is not yet determined.
All three of Central and South Asia’s swimmers were eliminated in qualifying heats July 31. Pakistan’s Israr Hussain and Turkmenistan’s Sergey Krovyakov were eliminated in Heat 2 of the men’s 100m freestyle, posting times of 57.86 seconds and 54.43 seconds, respectively. In the qualifying heats for the men’s 200m breaststroke, Kyrgyzstan’s Dmitrii Aleksandrov posted a time of 2:17.92 and was eliminated.
Both the men’s and women’s half-middleweight judo competitions went off July 31. In the women’s competition, Turkmenistan’s Gulnar Hayybayeva lost in the opening round. In the men’s bracket, Uzbekistan’s Yahya Imamov lost in the second round, while Kazakhstan’s Islam Bozbayev advanced to the third round before falling to eventual silver medallist Ole Bischof of Germany.
In late events July 30, flyweight (<52kg) boxing opened with two Central Asians in competition. Afghanistan’s Ajmal Faisal was bested by France’s Nordine Oubaali 22-9. Faisal fell behind 7-2 in the first round and Oubaali pulled away in the second round, outscoring Faisal 8-2. Faisal had a much stronger third round, scoring 5 points, but the gap was too large to overcome.
Kazakhstan’s Illyas Suleimenov fared better, beating Sweden’s Salomo Ntuve 13-8. He advances to face Great Britain’s Andrew Selby Aug. 3 in the second round. Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov had a bye in the first round and will face Egypt’s Hesham Abdelaal in second-round action Aug. 3.
In women’s tennis, the Kazakhstani pairing of Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboyeva fell 3-6, 2-6 to Russia’s Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova. The Russian pair won the first five games before Shvedova and Voskoboyeva closed the gap to 5-3 before Kirilenko and Petrova clinched the set.
Shvedova and Voskoboyeva took the first point in the second set, but the Russian pair took the final three points to take the set 6-2.
Turkmenistan’s Umurbek Bazarbayev was the day’s final Central Asian competitor, taking part in the men’s <62kg weightlifting competition. Bazarbayev in the snatch portion lifted 135kg. He then posted 167kg in the clean-and-jerk to close the day in sixth.
August 1 is set to be a busy day for Central Asia’s athletes. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan each have competitors in the men’s individual epee competition in fencing, while Kazakhstan’s Yuliya Zhivitsa will take part in the women’s individual sabre competition.
Four judoists – one each from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – are set for the men’s middleweight competition.
Anna Nurmukhambetova will represent Kazakhstan in the women’s <69kg weightlifting competition, while compatriot Vladislav Yakovlev is set for the men’s single scull semi-finals in rowing.
Pakistan is set to take on Argentina in group play in men’s hockey. Heavyweight boxing opens with Ivan Dychko representing Kazakhstan, while bantamweights Anvar Yunusov and Kanat Abutalipov represent Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in second-round fights.
Assan Bazabayev and Alexsandr Dyachenko are set to take part in individual time trials in cycling. And Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Tarabrin and Kyrgyzstan’s Daria Talanova will close out the day in qualifying heats in men’s 200m backstroke and women’s 200m breaststroke.