Saturday’s Irish Olympic Preview & Schedule

For diehard Olympics fans, the Rio Games will got underway at midnight with the opening ceremony.

Luckily, the first event, the heats of the Men’s Rowing Single Sculls does not start until 12.30pm, so you’ll have a chance to catch up on some sleep before channel hopping between that and the Women’s 10m Air Rifle qualification.

Then there’s a chance to enjoy the preliminary round of the Women’s Table Tennis Singles, an event set to be dominated by Chinese trio Ning Ding, Shiwen Liu and Xiaoxia Li, along with the Women’s Fencing Individual Epee.

 

The first Irish interest event is due to take place at around 1.30pm when Sanita Puspure goes in the Women’s Single Sculls, but you might have to have your finger on the remote control again because that is also the start time of the Cycling Men’s Road Race in which Dan Martin and Nicholas Roche are both expected to feature prominently.

That event will see the second medals of the Games handed out following on from the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Shooting, but if you prefer your action pool-based, you won’t be disappointed either as there will be both Water Polo and Swimming to enjoy.

Reigning Olympic Water Polo champions Croatia will take on the USA in a re-run of their quarter-final clash from London 2012 at 2.20pm, while in the Swimming, the highlights include the heats of the Men’s 100m Breaststroke and the heats and final of the Men’s 400m Freestyle.

Sun Yang of China is the man to beat in the 400m Freestyle, while Britain will be hoping that Adam Peaty can add Olympic gold to his 2015 World Championship and 2016 European Championship titles in the 100m Breaststroke.

We will also see the heats of the Women’s 100m Butterfly which current world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden looks set to dominate.

 

The Swimming does not start until 5.00pm which is fortunate as we have Kieran Behan in the Men’s Gymnastics and our Men’s Hockey team in action mid-afternoon.

Currently ranked 12th in the world, our Hockey team will face 5th-ranked India first up (at 3.00pm) ahead of even tougher tests against two of the world’s top three sides in Netherlands and Germany.

Behan also faces a stern challenge as he bids to become the first Irish gymnast ever to claim a medal, with Japan’s Kohei Uchimura strongly fancied to bag the gold ahead of Cuban rival Manrique Larduet.

 

One event where in which we have enjoyed plenty of Olympic success, however, is Boxing and fight fans will get to see three of our main medal hopes in action during Saturday’s afternoon and evening sessions.

The men in question are Paddy Barnes, who is the bookies’ favourite to claim gold in the 49kg category, Mullingar’s David Oliver Joyce who is more of a dark horse for a 60kg medal and Joe Ward who will have to battle his way past highly-rated Cuban Julio Cesar la Cruz in order to secure 81kg glory.

 

If that’s not enough for you and you want to see some podium action, there will be further medals won before the day is done in Swimming, Women’s Weightlifting, Women’s Fencing, Men and Women’s Judo and men’s Archery.

And if you’re still going when the Women’s Swimming 4x100m Freestyle Relay final gets underway at 3.24am, you’ll deserve a medal yourself.

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