The women's 100-meter breaststroke and men's 100-meter backstroke swimming competitions have started today at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Turkmenistan was represented in these types of programs by the youngest athlete in our team – 19-year-old Daria Semenova and 26-year-old flag bearer at the opening parade Merdan Ataev.
The first to start at the Tokyo “Aquatic Center” was the master of sports from Ashgabat, D. Semenova. In the first heat of the 100-meter breaststroke, she finished second with a time of 1 minute 16.37 seconds, eventually taking 39th place in the overall standings among 47 athletes declared at this distance. It is quite clear that this result did not allow our compatriot to break into the number of 16 semifinalists, but it was 0.36 seconds better than the previous one, shown at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju (Republic of Korea). In comparison with the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Daria made her debut at the age of 14, the pupil of the honored coach of Turkmenistan Sergey Epifanov improved her result at this distance by 3.47 seconds.
In the 100-meter backstroke, the master of sports of international class from Ashgabat, Merdan Ataev, also failed to make it to the semifinals, taking 34th place in the final protocol among 41 athletes who came to the start. In the first heat among the weakest swimmers, he finished first with a time of 55.24 seconds. This is 0.10 seconds better than his own result, shown at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, and 1.10 seconds, recorded at the previous Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
If Daria Semenova has already completed her performance at the Tokyo Games, then M. Ataev on July 28, will start another type of the Olympic program – swimming at a distance of 200 meters on the back.
Merdan Ataev is a two-time silver medalist of the Islamiad-2017 in Baku in the 50 and 100 meters backstroke, he twice competed in the finals of the Asian Summer Games: in 2014 in Incheon (Republic of Korea) he took 7th place in the 100 meters, and in 2018 in Jakarta (Indonesia)-8th in the distance twice shorter.
Merdan Ataev, like Daria Semenova, trains at the school of higher sports skills of Turkmenistan under the guidance of the head coach of the national team Sergey Epifanov.
Earlier today, the only representative of Turkmenistan in the judo tournament at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Gulbadam Babamuratova, failed to make it to the 1/8 finals, losing the first round of the competition in the weight category up to 52 kg to the multiple champion of Israel, Gili Cohen.