Rio: Ibtihaj Muhammad is 1st US Olympian to Compete in Hijab

VOA News

First timers are also debuting on day 3.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab, made her Olympic debut during the fencing competition.  She won her first match but was eliminated in her second bout.

Growing up black and Muslim in the U.S. state of New Jersey, 28-year-old Ibtihaj Muhammad says she loved sports, but often struggled to find her place.

Muhammad began fencing in 1999 at the age of 13. She set her sights on the American national team in 2007 when she realized there were no minorities represented. In 2011, Muhammad became the first female Muslim athlete to represent the United States.

She is ranked second in the United States and 12th worldwide.

Rugby is making its Olympic debut as well. The top four women’s sevens teams are set to compete for gold medals, among them Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ledecky beats own record

American swimming star Katie Ledecky smashed her own world record in the 400 meter freestyle event Sunday at the Rio Olympic Games. She is back in the water for the 200 meter freestyle heats.

The U.S. men’s swimming team won a gold medal in the 4×100 relay. Michael Phelps, who gave the team the lead swimming a fast second leg, earned his 19th gold medal as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

Phelps is scheduled to swim in preliminaries of the men’s 200 meter butterfly where he holds the world and Olympic records.

The U.S. basketball team, a 119-62 winner over China on Sunday, will take on Venezuela on Monday.

American teams took medals and broke world records on day two of the Rio Games.

Ledecky touched the wall in a time of 3 minutes 56.46 seconds, knocking nearly 2 seconds off the record to earn her first gold medal of the 2016 Summer Games in the 400 meter freestyle.

Brit Peaty sets breaststroke record

Adam Peaty of Britain also set a world record for the men’s 100 meter breaststroke with a time of 57.13 seconds to win gold.  Earlier, Sweden’s Sara Sjostrom broke the world record in the women’s event.

The U.S. men’s swimming team won a gold medal in the 4×100 relay. Michael Phelps, who gave the team the lead swimming a fast second leg, earned his 19th gold medal as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.  Americans regained the title in the event after the French took gold in 2012 in London.  France came in second Sunday.

 Williams, Djokovic defeated

Defending champion Serena Williams of the U.S. battled high winds Sunday to reach the Olympic tennis second round, defeating Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2, while organizers were roundly criticized for allowing play in conditions described as «ugly.»

Rio Olympics Tennis: Serena Williams, of the United States, reaches for a return against Daria Gavrilova, of Australia, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016.

Rio Olympics Tennis: Serena Williams, of the United States, reaches for a return against Daria Gavrilova, of Australia, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016.

In women’s doubles, Serena and sister Venus Williams had their hopes for a fourth gold medal dashed when they lost to Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in the first round. It was the Williams sisters’ first loss as a doubles team in Olympic competition. Together they won 15 previous matches and took the title in 2000, 2008 and 2012.

In a major upset on the men’s side, world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia was ousted in the first round, losing in straight sets to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.

Winds up to 25 kilometers an hour forced a 90 minute postponement of Sunday’s matches at the Barra complex in Rio de Janeiro. Top ranked Brazilian Thomaz Belluci, who opened at center court, said the competition marked «the first time of my life that I played in such terrible conditions.»

At other events, media helicopters were grounded during the women’s cycling competition, and rowers were ordered to stay off the water after competitors complained  high winds that capsized a boat Saturday should have forced postponement Sunday as well.

Russian swimmer Efimova jeered

In other competition, reigning world champion swimmer Yulia Efimova of Russia was jeered after winning her heat in the 100-meter breaststroke preliminaries after serving a 16-month suspension for doping and then testing positive this year for the now-banned pharmaceutical meldonium.

She and six other Russian swimmers were initially banned from the Rio games following reports from the World Anti-Doping Agency identifying a state-sanctioned doping scheme for Russian athletes.  The Olympic International Committee reinstated her and several other high-profile Russian swimmers in the past week.

Day 2 recap: Women’s Gymnastics

Day two of the Rio Games was also a day for the U.S. gymnastics women’s team to make its debut.

Former Olympic champion Gabby Douglas received high scores in Sunday’s qualifying event, but will not compete in the all-around final to defend the gold medal she won in 2012. Although Douglas scored well, she still finished in third place.

Teammate Simone Biles led the way scoring 62.366, two more points than teammate Aly Raisman who will compete with Biles in the all-around final.  Only two gymnasts per country are allowed to compete in the final.

“I would have loved to go out there and defend my tittle, but I’m not disappointed. It’s been an amazing ride,” Douglas said.

Women’s Basketball

The U.S. women’s basketball team routed Senegal 121-56 in the opening round of competition on Sunday.

Kosovo judo fighter Majlinda Kelmendi won the gold medal for the women’s 52-kilogram division Sunday, giving her Balkan nation its first-ever Olympic medal. Kosovo, which became a country in 2014, is the 100th country to win an Olympic gold medal.

Cycling

Spanish cyclist Joaquim Rodriguez, who finished fifth in Saturday’s men’s road race, has announced his retirement, saying he has fulfilled a lifelong ambition to compete in the Rio games. The 37-year-old who won three stages of the Tour de France in July, confirmed on Twitter that Saturday’s race would be his last.