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Pakistan maintains pace in hockey group play
Zhailauov advances to 3rd round; Kazakh water polo team falls to 0-3
By Tom Davis
LONDON – Powered by a 2-0 win over Argentina August 1, Pakistan’s men’s hockey team stayed on course for a spot in the medal round.
After a 29-minute-long deadlock with Argentina, defender Muhammad Imran broke through just before halftime, scoring on a penalty corner shot to take a 1-0 lead. Team captain Sohail Abbas extended the lead when he converted another penalty corner opportunity in the 43rd minute to help Pakistan clinch the win.
Goalkeeper Imran Shah made several clutch saves in turning away all eight Argentinean shots.
Pakistan is tied for second place in Group A with Great Britain, whom it will play August 3. The top two teams in each group advance to the medal round. Australia, which tops the Group A standings, will be Pakistan’s final opponent in group play August 8.
While Pakistan’s hockey team strengthened its medal hopes, the Kazakhstani water polo team’s chances took a major blow when the team lost 11-4 to Greece August 2 to fall to 0-3 in Group A play.
Greece took an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter, and Vladimir Ushakov scored midway through the quarter to cut the lead to 2-1. But the Greeks scored four unanswered goals in the second quarter to take a nearly insurmountable 6-1 lead to halftime.
Greece pulled even further away with a 3-1 third quarter, before tacking on two insurance goals in the fourth quarter. Kazakhstan scored the match’s two final goals, but it wasn’t enough.
With just two matches left, sixth-place Kazakhstan must win both matches and receive significant help to have any hope of advancing to the medal round, which takes the top four teams from each group.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Gani Zhailauov advanced to the quarterfinals in the lightweight tournament in men’s boxing, with a 16-8 drubbing of India’s Jai Bhagwan. Zhailauov lost the first round 3-2, but he came out firing in the second round, outdueling Bhagwan 10-3. Zhailauov clinched the bout with a 4-2 third round. Zhailauov will face fourth-seeded Cuban Yasnier Toledo Lopez August 6.
The win came a day after fellow Kazakhstani Ivan Dychko dominated his opening-round match with German Erik Pfeifer in the super-heavyweight men’s boxing tournament. Dychko took the first round of the bout 4-1 and added a 5-1 second round to extend his lead. Dychko came out aggressive in the third round to clinch the 14-4 win over Pfeifer and secure a spot in the second round, where he’ll fight Canada’s Simon Kean August 6.
Kazakhstan’s Anna Nurmukhambetova rounded out August 1 competition with a fifth-place finish in women’s weightlifting in the under-69kg weight class.
In other action August 2, Kazakhstan’s Maxim Rakov lost in the opening round of the men’s half-heavyweight (<100k) judo tournament, while Uzbekistan’s Ramziddin Sayidov lost in the quarterfinals to eventual silver medallist Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia.
Uzbekistan’s Yulduz Kuchkarova swam the women’s 200m backstroke qualifying heat in 2:18.6 but failed to reach the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina was banned from the Olympics August 1 after testing positive for the prohibited substance furosemide, which is sometimes used as a masking agent for other performance-enhancing drugs, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Judo competition continues August 3, with Kyrgyzstan’s Iurii Krakovetskii and Kazakhstan’s Yerzhan Shynkeyev fighting in the men’s heavyweight (over-100kg) competition, while Gulzhan Issanova of Kazakhstan fights in the women’s heavyweight (over-78kg) competition.
Weightlifters Sherzodjon Yusupov of Uzbekistan and Mansur Rejepov of Turkmenistan hope to medal in the men’s under-85kg weight class. In the women’s under-75kg weight class, Svetlana Podobedova hopes to add an Olympic medal to her collection of World Championship and Asian Games golds and to bolster Kazakhstan’s medal count.
Tajik swimmer Katerina Izmaylova hopes to advance from qualifying heats in the women’s 50m freestyle. Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov and Kazakhstan’s Ilyas Suleimenov hope to advance to the third round in the flyweight men’s boxing tournament, while Serik Sapiyev hopes to advance to the welterweight third round.
But the bulk of activity will come in track and field. Uzbekistan’s Yuliya Tarasova and Kazakhstan’s Irina Karpova open the day with the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m dash in the women’s heptathlon. Uzbekistan’s Anastasiya Juraleva and Aleksandra Kotlyarova and Kazakhstan’s Irina Ektova and Olga Rypakova hope to advance from qualifiers in the women’s triple jump.
Afghanistan’s Tahmina Kohistani, Turkmenistan’s Maisa Redzhepova, Uzbekistan’s Guzal Khubbiyeva and Kazakhstan’s Olga Bludova are all slated for the qualifying heats of the women’s 100m dash. Artem Dyatlov of Uzbekistan and Viktor Leptikov of Kazakhstan are slated for the men’s 400m hurdles qualifiers. Turkmenistan’s Mergen Mamedov, Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov and Uzbekistan’s Suhrob Khodjayev hope to advance from the qualifiers in the men’s hammer throw.
Kazakhstan’s Marina Maslenko will try to advance from the 400m run opening round. Finally, compatriot Artem Kosinov will run in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase opening round.