Australia Skater O'Neill studies Tokyo street course
Aussies touched out of silver in thrilling relay
Australia stormed home to claim a bronze medal and narrowly missed out on silver as Great Britain flexed their muscles.Australia stormed home to claim a bronze medal and narrowly missed out on silver as Great Britain flexed their muscles in the men's 4x200m relay at the Tokyo Olympics.
Study and skateboard don't sound a natural fit but that's what Australia's Shane O'Neill has been furiously doing with the Olympic course in Tokyo ahead of Sunday's opening event.
O'Neill will be Australia's first ever skateboarding representative, lining up in the men's street as the sport makes its Games debut
The 31-year-old has been a regular fixture on the global skate scene for more than a decade but is rated only an outside chance for gold.
Local hope Yuto Horigome and world No.1-ranked American Nyjah Huston are the raging favourites.
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O'Neill admitted the big Ariake Urban Sports Park course was likely to favour those top two, with Horigome ranked second behind Huston.
"It's quite a large course, definitely the biggest obstacles we've ever seen in a contest, so I think that's going to favour some people," Melbourne-born O'Neill said.
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"I think Yuto (Horigome) is going to do great, and there are a few other guys as well."
And O'Neill has another reason for plumping for Horigome if he doesn't win himself, with the 22-year-old part of O'Neill's own April Skateboards team and responsible for turning the Japanese competitor pro.
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But former world champion O'Neill, who is ranked 14, is noted for his technical ability and could pull off a shock medal.
"I'm more of a technical type of skater, which means on this course I really need to figure out what I'm doing," O'Neill said.
"The course has a lot of options, so you can kind of choose where you want to skate, but I do think it favours a few people."
O'Neill said he was embracing his first opportunity to represent Australia.
"It's cool to be included in something like this, because usually when we go to a contest we're just doing it for ourselves, and we're all homies and good friends," O'Neill said.
"But adding the country aspect into this is different, and being part of the (Australian) team is pretty cool."
Opals slump to shock defeat in Tokyo opener .
Belgium have inflicted a massive blow on Australia's chances with a surprise win over the Opals at the Tokyo Games.The Australians held a one-point lead at three-quarter time but were overpowered in the final term, with Belgium outscoring the Opals 29-13 in the last quarter of the match.