Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Andy Murray, Adam Peaty, Novak Djokovic in action on

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Andy Murray, Adam Peaty, Novak Djokovic in action on

Andy Murray will begin his Olympic title defence against 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada

Tokyo 2020 begins in earnest on Saturday as we see the first medals of the Games handed out in the women’s 10m air rifle, while Andy Murray gets his Olympic title defence underway and Helen Glover is set to make history.

In total, there will be 23 disciplines on show during the first full day of Olympic action, with 11 sets of medals to be awarded.

Here’s a round-up of what you need to look out for on a much-awaited Day One…

What not to miss

Team GB made a perfect start to their Olympic tournament with a 2-0 win over Chile

Team GB made a perfect start to their Olympic tournament with a 2-0 win over Chile

At 11.30am, Team GB’s women’s football team head into their second Group E clash after a convincing 2-0 win over Chile on Wednesday – they face hosts Japan, who rescued a late 1-1 draw with Canada in their opening game.

A win for Hege Riise’s side in Sapporo would secure qualification to the knockout stage of the tournament before they make a near-700 mile trip to Kashima on July 27 to face Canada in their last group game.

Manchester City trio Ellen White, Lauren Hemp and Lucy Bronze were a bright spark against Chile, but 2011 World Cup winners Japan – who boast Arsenal’s Mana Iwabuchi, AC Milan’s Yui Hasegawa and Bayern Munich’s Saki Kumagai – will provide a much sterner test.

3x3 basketball has been added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme

3×3 basketball has been added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme

Elsewhere, the new, faster-paced 3×3 basketball format reminiscent of pick-up games will make its Olympic debut on Saturday with all sides playing their first two group games of six.

In the women’s tournament, the United States are clear favourites boasting three solid WNBA players in Stefanie Dolson, Kelsey Plum and Allisha Gray – but reigning world champions China and France are also in with a shout.

Surprisingly, the US men’s team failed to qualify for Tokyo so the hot favourites are Serbia – led by Dusan Domovic Bulut, regarded as one of the best players in the world.

Superstars to watch

Novak Djokovic has already stated he will be all out to clinch his first Olympic gold and become the first man in history to win all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year, a feat only achieved by Germany’s Steffi Graf.

The Serbian will start his Olympic tournament against Bolivian Hugo Dellien, currently ranked 139th, but may need to overcome Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev to reach the gold medal match.

Over to the swimming pool and Adam Peaty begins the defence of his men’s 100m breaststroke title in Saturday’s heats session and he is expected to progress smoothly into the next round.

Over the past six years, the 26-year-old from Staffordshire has proved he has no rival over his speciality, winning the Olympic gold medal in Rio, three European Championships and three World Championships.

Peaty also has the 20 fastest times in history and his world record is more than a second quicker than anyone else has ever managed.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially began with the opening ceremony on Friday

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially began with the opening ceremony on Friday

Team GB Watch

Fan favourite Andy Murray enjoyed two of the best moments in his career at the Olympics, defeating Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro to win back-to-back gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

However, he will have a tough start to his Olympic title defence facing 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in a blockbuster first-round clash.

The Canadian enjoyed a strong grass-court season and made it to his first major quarter-final at Wimbledon, where his countryman Denis Shapovalov defeated Murray in the third round.

Two-time Olympic champion Helen Glover is set to become the first British rower to compete at an Olympics after having children when she will partner Polly Swann in the women’s pair.

The 35-year-old retired from rowing after winning gold alongside Heather Stanning at Rio 2016 to start a family, but made a shock return to the sport and immediately won the 2021 European coxless title in April this year.

Glover and Swann will take to the Sea Forest Waterway at around 2am in Heat 2 as they face Australia, China and ROC for a place in the semi-finals.

Charlotte Dujardin could make history with a third straight individual dressage Olympic gold medal

Charlotte Dujardin could make history with a third straight individual dressage Olympic gold medal

Three-time equestrian Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin will take part in the team dressage qualifiers on Saturday with her new ride, Gio, following the retirement of her 2012 and 2016 winner Valegro.

Dujardin won the individual dressage event in 2016 and 2012 as well as the team dressage in 2012 alongside Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer, a feat she will be hoping to repeat in Tokyo with Hester and Charlotte Fry.

The men’s hockey team open their campaign with a Pool B match against South Africa at 10.30am.

A strong Belgium side will provide the toughest test for Danny Kerry’s side as they seek a top-four finish in a group also including Germany, Canada and the Netherlands in order to qualify for the quarter-final stage, a feat they surprisingly failed to achieve in Rio.

Also of interest: Tin-Tin Ho and Paul Drinkhall in the women’s and men’s table tennis singles, Karriss Artingstall and Peter McGrail in the women’s and men’s featherweight boxing.

Where the medals will be won

Women’s 10m air rifle

The first medals of the Games will be won here – and Britain’s Seonaid McIntosh will be in the running.

The 25-year-old from Edinburgh became Britain’s most successful female rifle shooter of all time in 2019, when she won three World Cup medals and became European Champion in the 300m Rifle Prone event.

Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych, India’s Manu Bhaker and Georgia’s Nino Salukvadze – competing in a record ninth Games – will be among the names to watch.

Qualification will begin at 12.30am BST, and the best eight shooters will qualify for the final at 2.45am BST.

Men’s cycling road race

Geraint Thomas is among the British contingent for the men's cycling road race

Geraint Thomas is among the British contingent for the men’s cycling road race

The first gold medal in cycling will be awarded to the winner of the men’s road race – which will feature backdrops of the world-renowned Mount Fuji.

Athletes will take on a very tough course that starts in western Tokyo at 3am and finishes by skirting around the lower slopes of Japan’s highest mountain after 234km and a total elevation of 4865 metres.

Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Simon Yates will compete for a place on the podium against Belgium’s Rio 2016 champion Greg Van Avermaet, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar.

“It’s going to be a very unpredictable race, you could easily write down 15 or 20 names that could win the gold medal, if not more,” Geoghegan Hart told Sky Sports News.

Fencing – Women’s individual Epee and Men’s individual Sabre

Starting at 1am BST, 34 women and 36 men are set to battle it out for the women’s individual Epee and the men’s individual Sabre gold medals respectively in the space of nine hours.

Romania’s Ana Maria Popescu, Italy’s Maria Navarria, China’s Sun Yiwen and South Korea’s Choi In-jeong are favourites to be among the Epee podium places come 10am BST.

As for the men, South Korean fencer Oh Sang-uk will be the man to beat but Hungary’s Aron Szilagyi, USA’s Eli Dershwitz and Italy’s Luca Curatoli will be out to deny the world No 1 and 2019 world champion.

Archery – mixed team

The archery mixed team event is set to take place on Saturday

The archery mixed team event is set to take place on Saturday

Patrick Huston and Sarah Bettles ranked 25th and 15th in their respective qualifying rounds on Friday, ensuring Great Britain qualified as one of the 16 nations to take part in the mixed team event on Saturday.

In the round of 16, they will take on China’s Wu Jiaxin and Wang Dapeng, with the match set to begin around 1.50am.

Also of interest: Judo women’s -48kg and men’s -60kg, Taekwondo women’s -49kg and men’s -58kg.

Read More: Sports News

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