Olympics: Brawls, bags, blues

Brief stories from the Rio Olympics on Thursday:

Great brawl of China

Kazakh weightlifter Nijat Rahimov snatching gold from China’s Lyu Xiaojun was too much to take for a couple of Chinese journalists who engaged in a full-on brawl in the mixed zone afterwards. An armed policeman guarding the entrance to the venue had to be quickly called to break up the pair who went careering through the barriers separating athletes from journalists, trading proper punches to the face and even drawing blood.

Gold comes first

US gymnastics star Simone Biles made it clear where priorities lie when fleeing a burning building — save your gold medal. Biles, who won her first Olympic title on Tuesday, grabbed the medal before evacuating the Athletes Village, she revealed on Snapchat. Teammate Laurie Hernandez had her gold around her neck during the evacuation which turned out to be a false alarm. “The fire alarm’s going off, but we got our gold,” Biles said in the video. After they realised it was a fire drill, Biles, 19, posted on Twitter: “When a fire alarm goes off in your building, grab your medal and gym bag. #everythingisokay”. Biles went on to win the women’s individual all-around title later Thursday.

Colour me blue

The Rio Games diving pool was gradually turning a lighter shade of green Thursday, but was still far from the normal aqua-blue. Its sudden transformation to a disturbing green this week prompted concerns, but officials said tests proved the water safe. They blamed a chemical imbalance caused by the sudden infusion of humanity for the competitions and said it would be normal again within days. But that may give some athletes the blues. The British and American men’s 3m synchronised springboard competitors -– they won gold and silver, respectively, on Wednesday -– both said the deep-green hue helped with visualizing the pool’s surface, which can aid divers. “The water was easy to see that’s for sure,” said the USA’s Sam Dorman.

My bags are packed, I’m ready to stay

British tennis player Heather Watson was on the verge of leaving Rio when she and men’s star Andy Murray unexpectedly found themselves in the mixed doubles draw after the withdrawals of Romanians Florin Mergea and Monica Niculescu.

“I had a flight tonight. I had all my stuff packed but I came here with my bags just in case. I had no idea, wasn’t sure if we’d get in and then just got told, ‘Get your kit on, you’re on’.”

Watson will have to stay a little longer as she and Murray qualified for the quarter-finals by beating Carla Suarez Navarro and David Ferrer in straight sets.