Each Monday, All Baller Zone highlights some of the stories that made the biggest headlines in the world of sports over the weekend.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics finally underway, we cast our minds back to two pronounced defeats in the men’s Basketball competition, Nigeria’s first win in Tokyo, a lightened opening ceremony, and a piece of cheering transfer news from the English Premier League.
These are our Big 5!
5: A RED DEVIL: Manchester United Complete The Transfer Of Sancho
Manchester United completed the transfer of 21-year-old Jadon Sancho on Friday after he underwent a medical with the English giants. Following his participation at Euro 2020, the England international move overseas now makes him Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second signing of the summer following the addition of goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
Sancho’s move to Old Trafford was agreed in principle on July 1, and after spending four years in the Bundesliga with Dortmund, Sancho will wear the No 25 shirt for his new side.
4: TAMED TIGERS: Australia Outscore Nigeria 84-67 In First Tokyo Olympic Group Game
The Tokyo Olympics kicked off on a poor note for Nigeria’s men basketball team D’Tigers, as they lost 84-67 to Australia in their opening game at the Saitama Arena in Tokyo on Sunday.
Nigeria, led by Miami Heat point guard Gabe Vincent, were impressive in the first quarter, matching the Boomers for strength as they tied the game 23-23 at the end of the quarter.
The Aussies however led for the rest of the game, winning the second quarter 20-17 (43-40 at half-time), 58-52 at the end of the third quarter, and eventually winning by 17 points.
3: FIRST OF MANY: Offiong Snags First Victory For Team Nigeria After Debutants Suffer Early Exits
After ousters of Funke Oshonaike (Table Tennis), Uche Eke (Gymnastics) and Jide Omotayo (Table Tennis), Team Nigeria got their first victory in Tokyo on Saturday. Women’s table tennis star, Edem Offiong beat Dora Madaraz of Hungary 4-1 to proceed to the second round of their event.
Edem, ranked 123 beat the 67th-ranked Madaraz 11-8 11-9 11-9 in the first three sets. She lost the fourth set 9-11 but won the fifth deciding set 11-4. In the second round, Edem however, got knocked out early on Monday after losing 4-1 to 30th-ranked American, Lily Zhang.
2: THE GREAT FALL: USA Loses To France 83-76 As 25-game Olympic Win Streak Ends
USA’s Men’s Basketball team saw their 25-game Olympic winning streak end on Sunday as they were stunned 83-76 by France in their Tokyo opener. Evan Fournier poured in 28 points for the French as the Americans, who have won gold in the past three Olympics Games, were beaten for the first time since 2004.
A strong third quarter, where France outscored Gregg Popovich’s star-studded team 25-11, proved decisive, a game which was classified as ‘a disastrous start’ for Team USA who struggled in their preparation for the tournament, losing warm-up matches to Nigeria and Australia.
1: LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Naomi Osaka Provides Spark At Subdued Opening Of Tokyo Olympics
Japan welcomed the world to the Olympic Games on Friday night, but with few people there to witness the celebration. The Olympics opened with dance performances highlighting the struggle to overcome the pandemic and tennis star Naomi Osaka lighted a cauldron with the symbolic flame of the Games.
With fewer than 1,000 people invited to watch, and only around 5,700 athletes paraded through the stadium, down from more than 10,000 in the opening ceremony in Rio in 2016, Friday’s ceremony at the National Stadium in Tokyo was stripped of pomp.