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Dispatches from Rio de Janeiro

Robotic gymnasts.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – The world gymnastics chief has blamed China’s “robotic’’ style in Rio for the once-dominant team’s worst Olympics in over 30 years.

China failed to take a gold for the first time since 1984 – winning just two team bronze – and for the first time failing to get an individual Olympic medal.

A Kohei Uchimura-powered Japan toppled China’s men, two-time gold medalists since Beijing 2008. China failed to defend any of their titles from London 2012.

FIG president Bruno Grandi said the Chinese had failed to move with the times as they dropped to the 11th on the medal table, behind hosts Brazil.

“They’ve remained trapped in a robotic style of training,’’ Grandi told AFP on Tuesday.

“They’re beginning to change a bit now. Those who have kept pace with the changes are the Japanese.

“They (Japan) have improved the construction of their exercises, leaving behind Eastern-style choreographies to move towards the West, that is to say more harmony, imagination, creativity.

“I’m not criticising Japanese culture, which is huge, but they have built a nice crowd-pleasing routine for the spectators.”

Begging no more

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Misael Rodriguez begged for money on Mexico City’s streets and buses to fulfill his dream of reaching the Rio Olympics and now aims to repay the public’s generosity with boxing gold.

The middleweight kissed the canvas after defeating Hosam Abdin from Egypt to reach Thursday’s semi-finals, meaning he has captured Games bronze at the minimum.

Boys from Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Athletics legends Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka comforted distraught French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie after he was booed for the second day by a hostile Brazilian crowd, mostly male, on the Olympic medal podium.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach slammed the behavior as “shocking’’.

Lavillenie – who hit out at the host nation’s fans for their conduct during Monday’s pole vault final – held his head in his hands but could not hold back the tears which streamed his face as he stood on the podium after receiving his silver medal.

In a private room after, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist was consoled by international athletics chief Coe, Bach and pole vault legend Bubka, an IAAF vice president.

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