RIO DE JANEIRO: Usain Bolt is chasing a place in Olympic history on Sunday as the battle to be crowned the world’s fastest man takes centre stage after Justin Rose became the Games’ first golf champion in 112 years.
American gymnast Simone Biles claimed a brilliant third gold and Andy Murray was set to defend his men’s tennis title against Juan Martin del Potro amongst a packed Sunday schedule.
Away from the action, fears over Rio de Janeiro’s fragile security rose after Ryan Lochte and three fellow US swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by criminals posing as police.
Twenty-four hours after Michael Phelps brought the curtain down on his extraordinary career with a record 23rd gold medal, Bolt will attempt to complete the first leg of an unprecedented ‘triple-triple’ in the 100m.
With semi-finals scheduled for 9:00 pm local time (0000 GMT), Bolt is poised to line up for the final at around 10:25 pm where he will aim to clinch a third consecutive 100m crown after wins in 2008 and 2012.
His biggest challenger is expected to be Justin Gatlin of the United States, the 2004 Olympic champion who has served two suspensions for doping offences during his career.
The 100m final is one of four track and field gold medals on offer on Sunday, with the men’s 400m and women’s triple jump also up for grabs.
Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong won the first athletics gold of the day, making light of searing heat to triumph in the women’s marathon, which finished at Rio’s Sambodromo, the home of the city’s annual carnival parade.
“It was very hot but everybody had to get through the heat. I had to control my body and listen to my body very carefully,” said Sumgong.
Gun to the head
Bahrain claimed only their second medal in any sport when Kenyan-born Eunice Kirwa took silver, 9sec adrift of Sumgong, while defending world champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia won bronze.
The marathon was hit by a security alert just before the finish when a group of protesters scaled barriers and ran onto the course before being intercepted by police on motorbikes. Runners were not affected by the protests.
In a separate incident, police carried out a controlled explosion on a “suspect package” found near the marathon course.
Security throughout the Rio Games has proved a major headache for organisers, with several competing teams complaining of thefts and street crime in the recession-hit metropolis.
The latest to fall victim was US swimmer Lochte and three team-mates, who were robbed at gunpoint by criminals who pulled over their taxi posing as police.
“They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so I’m not getting down on the ground,” Lochte told NBC News.
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like, ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
In gymnastics, 19-year-old Biles won the women’s vault, adding to her all-around and team titles as she chases an unprecedented five gold medals.
Max Whitlock won the floor exercise to become Britain’s first Olympic gymnastics champion.
Elsewhere Britain’s Rose became the first Olympic golf champion since 1904 when he edged a thrilling duel with Henrik Stenson on the final hole.
“Oh my God. That felt better than anything I’ve ever won. It was the best tournament I’ve ever done,” Rose said.