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A shy start for Spain in the Games

Maialen Chourraut's medal has been one of the great surprises.
Maialen Chourraut's medal has been one of the great surprises. / EFE
  • expectation

  • The first week of competition concludes with only three medals for the Spanish Olympic team, although all eyes are on what may happen in athletics, which began on Thursday

There was good and bad news for Spain in its first week at the Olympics. There has been time for disappointment, for joy and, above all, for pleasant and unpleasant surprises.

The balance, for now, is three medals, two silvers and a bronze.

First medal in taekwondo

Seventeen-year-old taekwondo athlete Adriana Cerezo Iglesias, the youngest member of the Spanish Olympic team in Tokyo, won the silver medal in the category of up to 49 kilos at the weekend, giving Spain its first medal.

Adriana Cerezo.

Adriana Cerezo. / EFE

Appearing confident against an acclaimed opponent, the Madrid athlete finished just one point off claiming gold, which went to the current world number one and bronze winner in Rio 2016, Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand. Cerezo reached the final after defeating a legend, the Chinese athlete Jingyu Wu.

Second in mountain bike

Spain achieved its second Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games on Monday after David Valero made an epic comeback, winning bronze in the Mountain Bike XCO category. The Andalusian, a surprise on the medal table, is enjoying his second Olympic experience after finishing ninth in Rio de Janeiro.

David Valero.

David Valero. / EFE

The 32-year-old cyclist from Granada finished only behind Briton Thomas Pidcock and Swiss Mathias Fkueckiger. And he snatched the bronze from legend Nino Schurter.

Third in canoeing

The Spanish paddler Maialen Chourraut won the silver medal in the women's kayak event on Tuesday, giving Spain its third medal. It is also the third Olympic medal that she has achieved in her career as a professional canoeist.

The Basque athlete finished with a time of 106.63, after a clean descent, with some setbacks, but without penalties.

Tennis

Tennis is perhaps the sport that has brought the most disappointments for Spain in Tokyo. At this time, in fact, there is only a men's singles medal option left for Pablo Carreño, who, in an epic match managed to beat world number two Daniil Medvedev on Thursday. Carreño will also fight alongside Paula Badosa for gold in the mixed doubles category.

Carreño.

Carreño. / EFE

They are Spain's only remaining hope in tennis after the defeats of Muguruza and Davidovich and the absence of Rafael Nadal.

Football

The Spanish football team have qualified for the quarter-finals, although with more suffering than expected and without proving why they are among the favourites. They drew with Argentina (1-1) in a poor game in which once again they showed the problems they are having to score goals.

This Saturday (31 July) they will face Ivory Coast. In theory they should not have problems qualifying for the semi-finals, although, given what we have seen so far, it would be wise not to take anything for granted.

Basketball

Spain's basketball teams are off to a good start that invites us to be more optimistic. The women especially, after beating Serbia on Thursday, almost confirming their classification for the quarter-finals and thus in the running for a medal.

After beating Japan on Monday, the men's basketball team also won against Argentina on Thursday and remain steadfast on their way to achieving another medal.

Waterpolo

In case there was any doubt after their outstanding victory against Serbia, the current Olympic champions, the Spanish men's waterpolo team, reaped a second prestigious triumph against Montenegro and confirmed their place in the running for a medal.

The women's team, meanwhile, suffered their first defeat against the Netherlands. Now they could meet fearsome United States in the quarter-finals.

Handball

Something similar to basketball is happening in handball. The women's and men's teams have started strong and are showing why they are also candidates for medals in the Games.

Spain's men confirmed their qualification for the quarter-finals after beating Germany, Norway and Brazil. Before starting the Games there were favourites and now they are even more so. The same goes for the women's team, who on Tuesday chalked up a brilliant win against France, the Olympic and European runners-up.