January 24, 2020 / 8:28 AM / 23 days ago

Japan set for record medals haul at home, but finish behind China: study

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan can expect a more than 50% hike in their medal tally at their home Olympics but will still fall significantly short of toppling China from the second position, data analysts Gracenote predicted exactly six months before the Tokyo Games.

A combination photo shows the both side of Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medals are seen displayed for the media for a photo opportunity in Tokyo, Japan July 22, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Picture taken July 22, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Gracenote had earlier identified United States, China and Japan as the biggest beneficiaries of the four-year ban on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The United States have been tipped to top the medal table for the seventh successive Games with a haul of 117, including 47 gold, at Tokyo.

China, after falling to 70 medals in Rio, have been projected to bounce back in Tokyo and finish second with 43 gold medals.

“While Japan is expected to improve on its Rio 2016 medal total by over 50%, this increase is not likely enough for the host nation to genuinely challenge China for second place,” Gracenote said in a statement.

Japan won a record-breaking 41 medals in Rio but might improve to 65 with gains expected from a combination of more medals in all their strongest sports and potential success in new and returning sports.

The Netherlands, who won 19 medals in Rio, can expect a record haul of 41, including 16 gold, riding on better performance in cycling and sailing.

According to the study, which considers results data from key competitions since the last Games, Britain, who came second in Rio, will finish outside the top five with a significant drop in their medal count in Tokyo.

The study projects a drop of 25 medals for Britain, mainly in cycling, gymnastics and rowing.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will run July 24 – Aug. 9.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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