Ayomide Folorunso gave the host nation Italy something to cheer about at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade in Naples after winning gold in the women’s 400m hurdles.
The 22 year old Italian led from start to finish to claim the title in front of her home support in the San Paolo Stadium. Zeney Van Der Walt of South Africa took second and silver with Amalie Iuel of Norway claiming bronze.
That gold medal was one of nine different athletics events decided on Wednesday in what was a busy day of track and field events.
Mexico’s Valente Mendoza Falcon was the fastest qualifier in the men’s 400m flat race finals and he carried that over into the final to prove once more that he was the strongest and quickest. Mikhail Litvin from Kazakhstan came second for silver with Gardeo Edward Isaacs of South Africa third and taking bronze.
In the women’s 800m race saw the lead fluctuate as German Christina Hering led for a while, but she could not sustain her momentum and hold on, and fell back in the closing stages allowing Australian Catriona Bisset to cross the finish line first to take gold. Hering did take silver with Uganda’s Docus Ajok securing bronze.
Mexico added another gold thanks to Paola Moran Errejon who won the women’s 400m. Uganda were again in the medal shake-up as Leni Shida took silver with France’s Amandine Brossier earning the bronze.
The men’s high jump finals saw three athletes manage to reach a height of 2.27m. As the bar was raised to 2.30m, it was Tihomir Ivanov from Bulgaria who was successful with his very first attempt which was enough to earn him the gold medal.
The men’s decathlon was also concluded with the final events, the javelin and the 1500m race, proving decisive in the final rankings. Aaron James Booth from New Zealand emerged as winner and the gold medal recipient of the event that took place over three days. Australia’s Alexander Diamond took silver with Thailand’s Suttisak Singkhon the bronze.
USA’s swimmers finished the swimming competition at Napoli 2019 the same way they started it – in dominant fashion – and it was fitting that Zachary Apple led the way for them to victory in the 4 x 100m medley to bring to a close a week of scintillating action in the pool highlighted by success for the Americans.
The final night of swimming at Piscina Scandone had a line-up of eight finals. The women’s 50m freestyle saw Ky-Lee Perry of USA clock a time of 25.08 to beat fastest qualifier Jessica Felsner of Germany to gold. Felsner settled for silver with 25.12 and bronze went to Emily Barclay of Great Britain, with a time of 25.15.
In the men’s 50m freestyle, Perry’s compatriot Apple was going for his fifth gold medal of the Universiade but that was put on hold as fastest qualifier David Cumberlidge of Great Britain kept up his form to win gold, while silver went to Japan’s Kosuke Matsui and Russian Daniil Markov won bronze.
There was a thrilling win for Brazilian Jhennifer Alves in the women’s 50m breaststroke final. Great Britain’s Sarah Marie Vasey looked like she might win it during the first 25m, however she had to settle for silver as Alves stormed back to take gold. Chelsea Hodges of Australia won bronze, while there was a slight surprise that double medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa was left out of the medals.
It was a one-two finish for USA in the women’s 200m butterfly, courtesy of Dakota Luther and Olivia Carter, plus there was another gold for the Americans in the women’s 400m freestyle, thanks to Kaersten Meitz.
Japan’s Yuki Ikari took the gold in the men’s 400m individual medley which saw the lead change hands on several occasions. That was before the final races of the swimming competition – the men’s and women’s 4 x 100m medley relays – were both won convincingly by the USA teams.
Emily Escobedo made the difference for the American women, going into the breaststroke with only a very slight advantage but turning it into a body length distance by the time she handed over to Dakota Luther for butterfly. A really spirited charge from Ai Soma brought Japan very close to USA, but in the end, Gabrielle DeLoof knew how to wrap up gold once more.
The final race – the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay was a battle between USA and Russia until the 300m metre mark when Ivan Kuzmenko’s dive in took a split second longer than that of Zachary Apple and he held the lead to finally win his fifth gold of the Universiade.
With that, the Americans’s domination of the swimming pool at the 2019 Universiade was confirmed with 19 gold medals, 12 silver and 9 bronze. Japan finished second, with 6 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze while Russia were third with 6 of each colour
In table tennis, China picked up both gold medals available at PalaTrincone as both the women’s and men’s doubles finals consisted solely of Chinese athletes. It was the duo of Siqi Fan and Yidi Wang who took gold in the women’s competition, with Ziyang Yu and Zihao Zhao winning gold in the men’s event.
Both pairs of women’s finalists had very similar runs throughout the competition and maintained their fine form all the way to the gold medal decider. Both won their round of 16 games 3-0 and were then also tasked with overcoming Romanian pairs in the quarter finals later. That they did to great effect with Guo/Zhang beating Ciobanu/Diaconu 4-2, while Fan/Wang defeated Clapa/Zaharia 4-0.
The men’s doubles final was a more competitive encounter which went the way of China’s Ziyang Yu and Zihao Zhao who defeated their national teammates Linfeng Zhu and Lingxuan Kong 4-1. Earlier, Yu/Zhao and Kong/Zhu edged out the Japanese duos of Igarashi/Sakai and Sadamatsu/Tsuboi respectively in the semi-finals after both pairs had eased through their quarter finals 4-0 yesterday.
In women’s basketball, Australia won gold for a second time by successfully defending their title from Taipei 2017 after beating USA 80-72 in the final.
Despite the close score line, The UniRoos as they are known led for almost throughout the entire game, largely thanks to outstanding individual performances from Lauren Scherf and Abigail Wehrung. USA attempted to overturn the game twice, but was unable to keep up the momentum.
The bronze medal match played between Japan and Portugal was an equally close affair as Japan fought back to level the scores at 58-58 in the last minute of the fourth quarter to take game into overtime.
After that though, luck didn’t seem to favour the Japanese who were silver medallists two years ago in Taipei. They missed opportunities and ended up scoring only one more point while Portugal on the other hand made the most of their chances and took control of the game eventually winning 76-59.