French side breaks 40-year duck

French side breaks 40-year duck

World wrap-up : Ludwig, Walkenhorst win women's beach volleyball gold

French side breaks 40-year duck

 France won their second team show jumping gold medal ever and their first in 40 years on Wednesday in a dramatic final round of competition featuring eliminations, last-minute horse swaps and rails toppling down.

The United States took silver after Olympic veteran Beezie Madden withdrew due to an injured horse. It meant that the United States started with only three riders and was not able to drop their worst score when Lucy Davis knocked a rail down for four penalties.

Germany claimed bronze after an adrenaline-filled jump off to break a tie with Canada. Daniel Deusser, the third of four Germans to jump, sealed the deal with a swift and clean round, sparing the final team member from jumping.

France ended the two rounds of competition with three penalties for exceeding time allowed, but being the only team to leave all the rails up was enough to win.

The competition was not at all a smooth sailing for France, who had a last-minute substitution, pulling in reserve Philippe Rozier after Simon Delestre, the sport's No. 2 ranked rider, withdrew his horse due to an injury four days before competition began.

Germany triumph

German beach volleyball duo of Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst took gold on Thursday, beating Brazil in gusty conditions to win their country's first female Olympic medal in the sport and silence the partisan Copacabana crowd.

The Germans used the wind and their height advantage, with Walkenhorst's dominance at the net proving too much for Brazil's Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas as they won 21-18, 21-14 in the final.

They were the second Brazilian team to lose on a night of heartbreak for the home crowd after America's Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beat Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes to take bronze.

"We worked on how to be self-confident even with this crowd," Ludwig said after the match. "The Brazilians were really loud, even I had goosebumps, it was really special."

US men advance

An inexperienced US men's volleyball team defeated Poland in straight sets on Wednesday and moved into the semifinals looking to avenge early upsets that almost knocked the Americans out of the Rio Games.

With eight of their 12 players competing in the Olympics for the first time, the United States outplayed Poland, 25-23 25-22 25-20, ousting a team that had won the 2014 World Championship.

The United States will get a second crack at Italy in the semifinals on Friday after the Italians defeated a strong Iranian team in three sets.

Current Olympic champions Russia ousted Canada 3-0 earlier on Wednesday and will face either Brazil or Argentina in the semis.

In women’s taekwondo, Kim So-hui of South Korea and China's Zhao Shuai took the honours on the opening day of the competition. The 22-year-old So-hui, a double World Champion, narrowly beat European champion Tijana Bogdanovic of Serbia 7-6 to win the women's under-49kg gold medal.

Zhao's men's under-58kg final was almost as close before he edged Thailand's Tawin Hanprab 6-4 to secure the title.

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