One of the most-anticipated sports of the Olympics gets underway at the National Stadium, while a pair of Japan’s top swimmers battle for their first medals at their home Games.
Here are the key events to look out for on Day 7.
If you’re wondering where to watch the action in Japan, check your local TV listings or make use of this handy streaming guide by The Japan Times.
Athletics: Faster, higher, stronger
Perhaps the marquee sport of any Olympics, track and field gets underway on Friday at the National Stadium with a slew of preliminary races and one medal event: the men’s 10,000 meters.
Gone from this year’s competition is Jamaican Usain Bolt, the eight-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most popular athletes on the planet.
So who will be able to fill his shoes?
On the men’s side, Trayvon Bromell is the favorite in the 100 meters as the U.S. seeks a first champion in the distance since 2004, while compatriot Noah Lyles is hoping to displace Bolt in the 200. Canadian Andre De Grasse, who won silver in the 200 and bronze in the 100 in Rio, could also be in the mix for medals. Bolt, for his part, expects the Jamaican men to struggle.
In the women’s 100, all eyes are on Shelly-Anne Fraser Pryce as she looks to match Bolt with three Olympic gold medals at the distance.
Races and field event qualifiers get underway at 9 a.m., including the women’s 100-meter preliminaries, with heats starting at 12:15 p.m. The night session, including the men’s 10,000 meters, starts at 7 p.m.
Badminton: Picking up Kento
It wasn’t the Olympics that Kento Momoto had envisioned when he set out to play in his home Games.
Having faced a pile of adversity to even be able to participate in the Tokyo Games, world No. 1 Momoto came in as a favorite for gold but instead went out in a shock upset to No. 38 Heo Kwang-hee of South Korea.
Japan’s badminton team will look to salvage some medals even without their star player and the haul could start as early as Friday.
Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino will take on Hong Kong’s Ang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet in the mixed doubles bronze medal match at 10:30 a.m., while Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi will each look to advance to the women’s singles semifinals with matches at 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., respectively.
Swimming: Seto and Hagino go for gold
It wasn’t the Olympic cycle that either Kosuke Hagino or Daiya Seto envisioned after they shared the podium in the men’s 400-meter individual medley five years ago in Rio.
But the two rivals and friends both have a chance to make a statement Friday morning when they race in the final of the 200-meter IM with a gold medal on home soil at stake.
Seto, who returned to the pool earlier this year following a scandal centered around an extramarital affair, had high expectations heading into the Games but failed to make the final in either of his other two events — the 400-meter IM and the 200-meter butterfly. Seto was third fastest in the semifinals.
Hagino, the 2016 Olympic champion in the 400 IM and silver medalist in the 200 IM, suffered an injury not long after the Rio Games and has been struggling to return to form ever since. He was seventh fastest in the semis.
The morning session is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. with the final of the 200-meter IM slated for 11:16 a.m.
Soccer: Do or die for Nadeshiko Japan
It’s down to the knockout stages in soccer, with Japan’s women squaring off against Sweden for a place in the Olympic semifinals.
Japan, which entered the tournament hoping some new blood could put the team back on the podium, has had an uneven tournament so far, coming from behind to draw against Canada, then losing 1-0 to Great Britain before securing a spot in the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Chile.
Japan has just two goals in three games so far, both late in the second half, and will be looking to get off to a better start against Sweden, which took its group by storm, including the vaunted U.S. squad.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The other quarterfinals will see Canada take on Brazil at 5 p.m., Great Britain battle Australia at 6 p.m. and the Netherlands take on the U.S. at 8 p.m.
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