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MARIN FENDS OFF SINDHU FOR TITLE; EATON RULES AGAIN

India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu wears her silver medal during the medal ceremony for women’s badminton singles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug 19. (AP)
India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu wears her silver medal during the medal ceremony for women’s badminton singles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug 19. (AP)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 19, (Agencies): Carolina Marin overhauled a brave Pusarla Sindhu in the women’s singles final on Friday to win Spain’s first badminton title and crush India’s hopes of a maiden gold medal at the Rio Olympics

. The top seed, known as the “Rafa Nadal” of badminton in Spain for her tenacity and fierce left-handed game, closed out a 19-21 21-12 21-15 victory over the 21-year-old Sindhu who was majestic in her Olympic debut. Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei shrugged off eight years of Olympic heartbreak on Friday to defeat his nemesis Lin Dan 15-21 21-11 22-20 and reach the final of the men’s badminton after another classic encounter.

Having succumbed to Lin in the gold medal deciders at London and Beijing, top seed Lee gained sweet revenge by dumping out the Chinese great who saved three match points before finally breaking in a deciding game of unrelenting tension.

Meanwhile, European Olympic head Patrick Hickey of Ireland has been transferred to a prison in the closing days of the Rio Games while under investigation in a ticket-scalping scandal, authorities said Friday. The 71-year-old International Olympic Committee executive was denied bail after his legal team argued unsuccessfully that he was being detained illegally following his early-morning arrest Wednesday at his hotel. Police only began questioning Hickey on Thursday because he was hospitalized for a day with chest pains following his arrest. Hickey has now been transferred to the sprawling Bangu prison complex in Rio, a police statement said.

Hickey has temporarily stepped aside from his IOC duties, including his post on the ruling executive board and heading the influential umbrella group for Europe’s Olympic bodies. Their eight pairs of legs batting out of the water in the form of praying hands, Russia’s synchronised swimming team swept to their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal on Friday.

The victory, while expected, was particularly sweet given the high score of 99.1333 points for their free routine and because the choreography was intensely personal for team head coach Tatyana Pokrovskaya. Risako Kawai gave Japan their fourth women’s wrestling gold of the Rio Games on Thursday with a victory over Mariya Mamashuk of Belarus in the championship match of the freestyle 63kg class. Yekaterina Larionova of Kazakhstan and Monika Ewa Michalik of Poland claimed bronze. Just over two years ago Cuban lightheavyweight Julio Cesar La Cruz was shot in a botched robbery and his boxing career thrown into jeopardy.

On Thursday he added Rio Olympic gold to his three amateur world titles and paid tribute to the people of Cuba and his family for nursing him back to full health. La Cruz, 27, who grabbed a slice of history in becoming the first Cuban to win Games gold at 81kg, said: “I was able to recover thanks to my family and especially to my mum. She’s the main person who has always supported me and the one who gave me hope. Stacy Lewis made 11 birdies on Thursday to match the low score at Olympic Golf Course with an 8-under 63, putting her right in the mix for a gold medal in women’s golf.

The American had no complaints about her golf or her position at the halfway point of the first Olympic women’s golf competition since 1900. Lewis was one shot behind Inbee Park of South Korea, who birdied her last two holes for another 5-under 66 and the 36-hole lead. Charley Hull kept alive British hopes for a gold medal sweep in golf with a 66 that left her two shots behind Park.

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