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article imageNeymar, Farah in spotlight at 'iconic' Rio Games

By AFP     Aug 20, 2016 in Sports

Football superstar Neymar and running distance king Mo Farah take centre stage Saturday on the penultimate day of the Rio Games described as "iconic" by Olympic chief Thomas Bach.

On a bumper day of action, where 30 golds will be decided, Bach said the show put on in the midst of financial crisis and political turmoil showed "that it is possible to organise the Olympics in countries which are not at the top of the GDP ranking".

"These were iconic Olympic Games in many respects," said Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, shrugging off the legion of financial and infrastructure problems which threatened to undermine the showpiece.

Olympic finals programme for Saturday August 20
Olympic finals programme for Saturday August 20
Simon Malfatto, AFP

"The Brazilians altogether were great hosts and really united behind these Games."

Amongst the early winners on Saturday was Park In-Bee, who won the first women's Olympic golf title in 116 years.

The South Korean cantered to a five-stroke victory over New Zealand's top-ranked Lydia Ko.

"This definitely ranks at the top. I have won majors but I haven't won a gold medal so this feels very special," said Park, a winner of seven majors.

China's Chen Long inflicted more Olympic heartache on Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei with a straight games win for gold in the men's badminton singles final.

Lee, beaten in the past two Olympic finals by Lin Dan, disposed of his Chinese nemesis in the semis in Rio but couldn't get past Chen for a gold that would have been Malaysia's first in any sport.

"The key here was that a Chinese man won badminton gold. It was a little bit unexpected for me but all the hard work has paid off," said Chen.

Neymar hopes to spearhead Brazil's men's football team to Olympic gold against Germany
Neymar hopes to spearhead Brazil's men's football team to Olympic gold against Germany
Martin Bernetti, AFP

In boxing, Cuban men captured two golds -- Arlen Lopez took the middleweight title and Robeisy Ramirez claimed bantamweight.

Britain's Nicola Adams became the first woman to retain an Olympic boxing title in the flyweight division.

Star striker Neymar was poised to light up Rio's Maracana as Brazil seek to avenge their traumatic 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation at Germany's hands.

Victory would also hand the hosts their first gold medal in football.

Nigeria defeated Honduras 3-2 to take bronze.

- Farah seeks double -

Jamaica's Usain Bolt has made an unprecedented third sweep of Olympic sprint titles
Jamaica's Usain Bolt has made an unprecedented third sweep of Olympic sprint titles
Johannes Eisele, AFP

Seven of the day's golds are on offer at the Olympic Stadium.

Mo Farah, his 10,000m defence completed, seeks to retain his 5,000m title and become the first man since Finland's Lasse Viren in 1976 to retain two Olympic distance titles.

South Africa's Caster Semenya goes for gold in the women's 800m.

The 25-year-old continues to divide opinion in the athletics world because of her condition of hyperandrogenism, which causes elevated testosterone levels that some rivals say give her an unfair advantage.

American Allyson Felix, already the first woman to claim five career athletics gold medals, will try to make it six in the women's 4x400m relay.

Golds are also up for grabs in the men's 1,500m, women's high jump, men's javelin and men's 4x400.

Off field scandals continued to simmer, with Bach cautioning against a rush to judgment in the case of European Olympic chief Patrick Hickey, jailed in Brazil as authorities investigate a black market Rio Games ticket ring.

Caster Semenya (right) is favourite for gold in the women's 800m
Caster Semenya (right) is favourite for gold in the women's 800m
Adrian Dennis, AFP

Bach could offer little information on the nine Australian Olympic competitors who appeared in court overnight after authorities said they tampered with their credentials to gain access to their team's basketball semi-final against Serbia.

They were fined and released, with a spokesman for Games organisers calling it a "minor incident".

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