Team GB get off the mark with first Tokyo 2020 medals on day of upsets

A fighting silver and a surprise bronze from two young martial artists ensured Team GB got off the medal mark on a breathless and enthralling second day at these Tokyo Olympics.

The silver came late on Sunday evening in the under-68kg taekwondo class with Bradly Sinden, a 22-year-old from Doncaster, narrowly missing out to Uzbekistan teenager Ulugbek Rashitov 34-29. But Sinden, who was seeking to become the first British man to win Olympic taekwondo gold, was left ruing how victory slipped from his grasp while leading in a frantic final minute.

“It was my gold medal to give away,” he insisted. “Were here to get gold, anything else is not what we’re here to celebrate. Maybe eventually I will get over it, but for now it has got me that I didn’t win gold when it was there for me to take.”

Earlier in the day Chelsie Giles claimed Great Britain’s first medal of these Games with bronze against Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher in the women’s under-52kg judo. The 24-year-old initially lost in the quarter-finals but came back in the repecharge to claim a medal.

Speaking afterwards in the Nippon Budokan, considered the spiritual home of the sport, Giles admitted: “To do it where Japan started the sport, it makes it extra special.” But on another breathless day in Tokyo there was no joy for the big British favourite, Jade Jones, who went out in the last 16 of the taekwondo to the Iranian defector and feminist, Kimia Alizadeh, who was competing for the IOC Refugee Team.

Jones had been hoping to win her third successive Olympic gold medal but she found Alizadeh, who describes herself as “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years”, too strong.

tuttavia, there was a far bigger shock in the women’s road race, which was won by 1,000-1 outsider Anna Kiesenhofer. The Austrian, a full-time mathematician with a degree from Cambridge does not ride for a professional cycling team, benefited from the fact that the big favourites in the race did not know she was ahead of them on the road as she secured a famous win.

Infatti, a minute after she crossed the line the pre-race favourite, Annemiek van Vleuten from the Netherlands, also celebrated as though she had taken gold being told she had come second. “We thought we were doing it right,” said Van Vleuten. “We thought we were driving for the gold.”

The cyclists were roared on by large crowds on the road and there is a growing sense that the Japanese public are getting increasingly behind these Games, which began when Friday’s opening ceremony was the most watched TV programme in Japan for a decade.

The hosts had another excellent day of competition, winning four gold medals to move to second behind China in the medal table. Among them were the brother and sister judoka duo, Hifumi and Uta Abe, who won the men’s 66kg and women’s 52kg within an hour of each other.

Meanwhile the face of these Olympics, the tennis player Naomi Osaka, returned to competition with a straight-sets victory after a two-month break due to mental health concerns with victory in the first round of the women’s singles.

The US gymnastic star Simone Biles also made her first appearance, and while she was not quite at her dazzling routines she qualified for several finals later in the week. However there was no fond farewell for Oksana Chusovitina, the legendary 46-year-old Uzbek gymnast, who missed the vault final in her record eighth Olympics.

In the pool, Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui hailed his surprise success in the 400m freestyle down to “hard work”, as he overhauled the more-fancied Australian Jack McLaughlin and American Kieran Smith. A day of shocks was sealed when Team USA suffered their first loss for 17 years in the men’s basketball, losing to 83-76 to France.

Britain are expected to win their first gold of these Olympics in the early hours of Monday morning when Adam Peaty, the defending 100m breaststroke champion, swims in the final. tuttavia ,there was disappointment for Andy Murray, who was forced to pull out of the men’s tennis singles with a quad injury.

Meanwhile the Covid cloud hanging over these Games was again illustrated when two of the favourites for the men’s golf, the Spaniard Jon Rahm and the American Bryson DeChambeau both pulled out before flying to Japan after testing positive for the virus.




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