What to watch on Day 12 of the Tokyo Olympics

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An East Asian rivalry is set to be renewed on the diamond and skateboarding returns to the schedule a little over a week after Japan claimed the sport’s first two gold medals.

Here are the key events to look out for on Day 11.

If you’re wondering where to watch the action in Japan, check your local TV listings or make use of this handy streaming guide from The Japan Times.

Skateboarding: Back in the spotlight

Over a week since Yuto Horigome and Momiji Nishiya triumphed in the men’s and women’s street events, skateboarding returns for what promises to be an exciting finish to its maiden Olympics.

The women’s park event is on tap Wednesday, with a pair of Japanese athletes — Sakura Yosozumi and Misugu Okamoto — ranking as favorites and Britain’s Sky Brown, who was born in Miyazaki, also expected to be among the medalists.

All of Japan’s skateboarding talent comes despite a lingering stigma working against the sport in the country, something that skaters hope will change after the Olympics.

If the success of Japanese athletes isn’t enough, then perhaps NHK’s “soooo sick” skateboard commentator can win over any remaining holdouts.

Heats begin bright and early at 9 a.m. with the finals to follow at 12:30 p.m.

Athletics: Fastest around the bend

After crowning a new fastest man in the world Sunday, it’s time to find out who is fastest over a curve and straight in the 200 meters.

Following years where Usain Bolt dominated both the 100- and 200-meter sprints — and with compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah doing the same on the women’s side in both Rio and Tokyo — it’s perhaps a bit unusual to see a nearly entirely fresh field of runners for the 200 final. Only Canada’s Andre de Grasse, who took bronze in the 100, is back for another shot at a sprinting medal.

Andre De Grasse of Canada crosses the finish line followed by Kenneth Bednarek of the United States and Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago during their semifinal race of the men's 200 meters. | REUTERS
Andre De Grasse of Canada crosses the finish line followed by Kenneth Bednarek of the United States and Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago during their men’s 200 meters semifinal. | REUTERS

De Grasse has four Olympic medals to his name but has yet to win gold. He’ll have a good chance to change that after a blazing personal best of 19.73 in the semifinals put pre-Olympic favorite Noah Lyles of the U.S. on notice.

Lyles finished third in his heat but his 19.99 was enough to put him through to the final.

The starting gun goes off at 9:55 p.m.

Also Wednesday at National Stadium, the women will try their best to replicate an exciting men’s 400-meter hurdle final. Medals will also be handed out in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, the men’s hammer throw and the men’s 800 meters.

Basketball: Podium push

Japan’s men’s team may have learned some hard lessons at the Tokyo Games, but on the women’s side the rest of the field is learning that Japan is no pushover.

The Akatsuki Five drained 19 shots from beyond the arc in a convincing 102-83 win over Nigeria on Monday to secure a spot in the knockout round.

Japan's Rui Machida goes to the basket during a preliminary round game against France on July 27. | AFP-JIJI
Japan’s Rui Machida goes to the basket during a preliminary round game against France on July 27. | AFP-JIJI

That followed a showing against a powerhouse U.S. team in which Japan gave the winners of the last six Olympic gold medals all it could handle.

A win over Belgium on Wednesday would ensure Japan’s best-ever finish in the Olympics and give the team a chance at a first medal. Belgium, which is making its first Olympic appearance, might not seem like a tough opponent at first glance but underestimate them at your peril: They began the tournament with a dominant win over three-time silver medalists Australia.

Wednesday’s contest starts at 5:20 p.m., with the winner taking on either Spain or France in the semifinals.

Other quarterfinal matchups will pit Australia against the U.S. and China against Serbia.

Baseball: Rivalry renewed

Two days after a thrilling extra-innings walk-off win over the U.S., only rival South Korea stands in the way of Samurai Japan and a spot in the gold medal game.

South Korea has Japan’s number in Olympic competition, although much of baseball’s past at the Games may as well be ancient history given it was left off the program in both 2012 and 2016. South Korea ended Japan’s dreams of Olympic gold in 2008 in the semifinals before going on to claim the top spot on the podium and also won a low-scoring 3-1 affair in the bronze medal match at the 2000 Games.

Japan will hope to continue to get solid performances from its young pitchers and Kodai Senga, whose presence on the team was in doubt for much of the year after he suffered a serious ankle injury in April.

Thanks to baseball’s rather confusing tournament format, a loss wouldn’t mean the end of Japan’s hopes for gold, but it would make the road ahead more challenging.

First pitch is at 7 p.m.

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