The United States and Italy will play the match for the gold medal on Friday 19th August. This was the verdict of the semi-finals. There was little doubt about the qualification of the USA, the defending Olympic champions as well the World Championships and the Word League god medalists. Indeed, their victory over Hungary, who won gold at the European Championships last January in Belgrade, was never in doubt.
In the first semi-final Italy claimed victory over Russia, 12-9 (2:2, 2:4, 0:2, 5:4), in an expected comfortable way: a win prompted by the striker Arianna Garibotti, who scored five goals in the match (on 6 attempts, a 83.3 scoring percentage).
The Italian side was consistent throughout this season, finished the preliminary round on top of Group A, and had already beaten Russia 10-5 in the early stage of the tournament.
This is the second time that Italy make the final in an Olympic Tournament, the first was in 2004, in Athens, when the gold medal match ended with their victory.
In the second semi-final, between Hungary and the United States, the victory of the North Americans was never in doubt, although the Magyars scored first and staged the best possible opposition: they lost the first and third quarter by one goal, the second by 2 goals but managed a tie in the last period. The game ended on a high score, 14-10 (2:3, 3:5, 3:4, 2:2).
The bronze medal game will see the losers of the semi-finals facing one another, Russia vs Hungary.
In the two matches for placements from 5th to 8th , Australia and Spain beat respectively Brazil and China, as expected. Australia thrashed Brazil 11-4 (2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 2:1), while Spain outplayed the reactive Chinese side with a 11-6 (2:2, 2:0, 4:2, 3:2) win.
On Friday the winners will play for the 5th place, the losers for the 7th place.
Yesterday, in the preliminary round of the women’s Olympic 10m diving event, North Korean world champion Kuk-hyang Kim was knocked out as Chinese divers, winners of five of the six titles contested so far, continued to display an overwhelming superiority in the opening stage of the event.
Kim plummeted to 25th of the 28 entrants, with 263.20, a vast 134.25 points behind Chinese top qualifier Yajie Si, her predecessor as world champion.
North Korean team-mate Un-hyang Kim, a world bronze medallist in 2015 in the 10m synchro event, just made the cut as last of the 18 qualifiers for Thursday’s semi-final, finishing on 289.45, just 0.10 points ahead of Laura Marino of France.
Yajie Si, world champion on the platform at 14 in 2013, provided a display of excellence to top the rankings with 397.45 points from her five dives.
Fifteen-year-old Ren Qian, silver medallist at the Worlds, was second on 385.80, with Jessica Parratto of the US best of a distanced group of pursuers, third on 346.80.