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Tokyo Olympics: Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner wins 400m gold

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Steven Gardiner won Olympic 400m gold to secure the Bahamas’ first medal of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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Gardiner, the current world champion over the distance, crossed the line in 43.85 seconds.

Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano took silver, while 2012 champion Kirani James of Grenada won bronze, completing his full set of Olympic 400m medals, having finished second in Rio.

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World record holder Wayde van Niekerk’s reign as defending champion was over when the South African, who has struggled with injury over the past five years, finished fifth in the semi-finals on Monday.

In his absence, Gardiner produced a superbly balanced race, holding back as James and American Michael Norman went out hardest and then reaping the rewards as he stretched clear in the home straight.

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“When the gun went off I stumbled a bit coming out but I recovered, I kept it moving, and with 200 metres to go, I started to push a little bit. And 100 metres to go, I gave it all I’ve got,” Gardiner said.

“I came across the line and saw my name on the big screen and I was in the first place. I’m just happy.”

Elsewhere, in the absence of Britain’s injured world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Nafi Thiam retained her heptathlon crown.

The Belgian finished with 6791 points, 102 ahead of the Netherlands’ Anouk Vetter. Vetter’s team-mate Emma Oosterwegel took bronze with 6590 points.

Johnson-Thompson, whose build-up to Tokyo was disrupted by an Achilles tendon injury before she suffered a calf injury on her other leg in Wednesday’s 200m, won gold in Doha with 6981 points two years ago.

Canada’s Damian Warner became the fourth man in history to break the 9,000-points barrier, following Kevin Mayer, Ashton Eaton and Roman Sebrle, as he claimed gold after taking bronze in Rio and at the world championships in Doha in 2019.

France’s Mayer was second with 8726 points, while Australia’s 21-year-old Ashley Moloney took bronze.

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