Rio 2016: Tom Daley's delight but gymnasts miss out
IT was a story of bronze medals and agonising near misses for Team GB on the third day of action at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Ed Ling won bronze in the men’s trap shooting and it was the same colour for Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow in the men’s 10m synchronised platform diving, but there were disappointing fourth-placed finishes in the men’s team gymnastics final and the women’s rugby sevens.
In the pool, James Guy narrowly missed out on Britain’s first Olympic 200m freestyle medal after finishing fourth. The 2015 world champion from Bury was just 0.26 seconds off a podium finish as the controversial Sun Yang of China won gold ahead of South Africa’s Chad le Clos and American Conor Dwyer.
Scotland’s Hannah Miley had suffered the same agony of fourth in the 400m individual medley final on Saturday but failed to reach the final of her less favoured 200m IM as she placed joint sixth in her semi-final. Her team-mate Siobhan-Marie O’Connor won that first semi-final in a huge new British record of 2:07.57. It saw the Bath 20-year-old qualify fastest for tonight’s final in which she will go head to head with Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who won the second semi-final after earlier adding 100m backstroke gold to the 400m IM title she claimed on Saturday.
Miley, who was celebrating her 27th birthday, was philosophical about the result. “It was good – it was nice to be able to go into a race where there was very little pressure on me,” said the Scot.
“I would have loved to have made it back for the final but I have to take it on the chin and accept that.
“It’s where I’m at right now and I’ve still got the rest of the meet to go. Whether I am selected for the relay or not is up to the coaches but I’m going to be there for the team because it’s really important that we keep morale high.”
Tom Daley says the pressure is off in his bid for Rio gold after claiming a second Olympic bronze medal.
The 22-year-old Plymouth diver combined with Dan Goodfellow to claim bronze in the men’s synchronised 10 metres platform at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre.
The individual event in which Daley won bronze at London 2012 begins on 19 August and he is targeting victory.
“I’ve got an Olympic medal and to share that moment with Dan was incredible,” Daley said.
“I’ve taken the pressure off myself now. Now I can go into that individual competition in the best frame of mind possible.
“It’s given me a taste of it and I want to go and get some more.
“Now I want to go and get a gold medal.”
China’s Chen Aisen - an individual rival of Daley’s - and Lin Yue won gold with 496.98 points and David Boudia and Steele Johnson of the United States took silver with 457.11pts.
Daley and Goodfellow finished with 444.45, but had to wait for their podium place to be confirmed.
The British pair were diving last of the eight teams and there was a tense wait before the result was confirmed. Daley had his arm around Goodfellow and the pair tumbled into the water in delight as the result was declared.
“It was an agonising wait that felt like it was an eternity,” Daley added.
“We were just waiting and waiting and waiting, replay after replay.
“All of a sudden the scores came up, I pounced on Dan and I don’t think he was quite ready for it and before we knew it we were back in for a top-bombing seventh dive.”
World champion Max Whitlock urged his team-mates to forget about their medal near-miss after Great Britain were edged into an agonising fourth place in the men’s team gymnastics final at Rio Olympic Park.
Louis Smith’s fall on the final pommel horse rotation cost his team any remaining slim chance of edging back into the top three position they had held until being overtaken by China in the penultimate phase.
A stunning set on the parallel bars by the reigning Olympic champions left Whitlock and Smith with an almost impossible task on their favoured apparatus, where they are expected to go head to head for individual gold later in the week.
In the final scheme of things Smith’s stumble hardly mattered - he would have had to have significantly bettered the score with which Whitlock had claimed the world title last year to give the Britons any chance of re-entering the top three.
Ultimately, Britain - also including Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson and Brinn Bevan - fell short by just under two points, scoring 269.752 which was behind the Chinese on 271.122. Favourites Japan finished strongly to take gold with 274.094, ahead of silver medallists Russia with 271.453.
Whitlock said: “It’s disappointing - we knew we had the potential to be right up there and we did our best. It wasn’t the best we could ever do, and some of the scores were lower than we usually get, but that’s the way sport is.
“We’ve got to look forward to the finals now and forget about it. Obviously it makes you want to go back and produce some big results and it is about going out there and doing the job.”
Sevens hopes fizzle out
Great Britain saw their medal hopes in the women’s rugby sevens crushed after a campaign that had promised so much fizzled out under the Deodoro Stadium floodlights.
They were despatched 33-10 by Canada in the bronze medal match, which came just three hours after Britain suffered semi-final heartache beaten 25-7 by New Zealand.
Emily Scarratt’s team, despite having defeated Canada easily in the pool stages, were undone by a rampant first-half performance.
Karen Paquin, Ghislaine Landry, Bianca Farella and Kelly Russell crossed for the powerful Canadians, with Farella and Russell touching down after Scarratt had been sin-binned.
Danielle Waterman and Jasmine Joyce scored tries for Britain, but it proved a game too far as a Landry touchdown put Canada home and dry.
Britain’s earlier loss to New Zealand saw two players sin-binned - Katy McLean and Amy Wilson Hardy - as the tournament’s outstanding player Portia Woodman scored three tries.
Favourites Australia went on to beat New Zealand 24-17 to win the first ever Olympic rugby sevens gold medal.
An emotional Scarratt said: “We are massively disappointed.
“We came to this tournament wanting a medal, and we’ve come up a little bit short. The girls gave it everything, and sometimes it’s just not enough.
“Fair play to Canada, they were the better side. They executed better than we did, and they are rightfully going to have that medal round their necks.
“Sevens is a brutal game, and Canada executed better than we did.”
Reflecting on the Olympics experience, she added: “It’s disappointment at the moment, but this has been a phenomenal experience, bringing rugby to the world stage.
“It’s been amazing, and if we’ve inspired a couple of people back home, then we are doing a decent job. We are just sorry we didn’t bring home a medal.”
Guy misses out
British world champion James Guy was fourth in the men’s 200 metres freestyle s China’s Sun Yang won gold.
The 20-year-old Guy was unable to emulate team-mate Adam Peaty, who won 100m breaststroke gold on Sunday, a valiant effort from lane eight leaving him 0.26 seconds outside of a medal.
Sun, who served a lenient doping suspension between London 2012 and Rio, won in one minute 44.65 seconds.
South Africa’s Chad le Clos was second in 1min 45.20secs and Conor Dwyer of the United States third in 1:45.23.
Guy clocked 1:45.49 and world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany was sixth in 1:45.84.
Guy, who claimed the gold medal over four lengths at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, had snuck into the final by 0.01s.
He was sixth in the 400m on Saturday and desperate to make amends in his favoured event.
Guy turned in third place at halfway, behind Le Clos and Dwyer, but was unable to hold on to a podium spot as Sun, runner-up to Guy in Russia, charged to his third Olympic gold.
Controversial Russian Yulia Efimova had to settle for silver in the women’s 100m breaststroke final.
Lilly King of the United States won gold in an Olympic record of 1:04.93.
Efimova, who has been booed at the pool after her late challenge to be included in the Games despite being initially banned by the International Olympic Committee, finished in 1:05.50. USA’s Katie Meili took bronze in 1:05.69.
Defending champion Ruta Meilutyte, the Lithuanian based in Plymouth, was seventh in 1:07.32.
Johanna Konta’s victory over Caroline Garcia was the only bright spot to be found for Great Britain on the third day of action at the Olympic Tennis Centre.
Konta eased past France’s Garcia 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round but there were singles defeats for Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund while Konta and Watson lost in the second round of the doubles.
An early break of serve put 10th seed Konta in control of the first set and another helped the 25-year-old seal it in 38 minutes as Garcia became increasingly frustrated.
Konta broke Garcia’s serve three more times in the second set and, although the Frenchwoman did retrieve one of the breaks, it was to no avail as Konta set up a meeting with eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last 16.
“I’m very happy I was able to stay tough in the close and long games,” said Konta. “Kuznetsova’s a great player and had a very good year so far. I’m going to have a very tough match and will go out there and do my best.”
Watson had a tough task against 15th seed Elina Svitolina.
She recovered from losing the first set to race through the second in 28 minutes for the lost of just one game, but Svitolina took her only break point in the decider to seal a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory in an hour and 47 minutes.
“It was very disappointing for me,” the 24-year-old from Guernsey said. “I have played her twice and beaten her twice. Both have been close three-set matches and I wasn’t surprised this one went to a third as well.
“I wasn’t feeling my best physically but after that first set I started to feel a lot better and more in the match and I definitely had my opportunities early in that third set but wasn’t able to take them.”
Watson and Konta were up against third-seeded sisters Chan Yung-jan and Chan Hao-ching from Chinese Taipei in the doubles.
After taking the opening set they lost eight straight games but recovered to lead 4-3 with a break in the decider only for the Chans to come through 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.
Edmund had earlier suffered a disappointing defeat to Japan’s Taro Daniel in the second round of the men’s singles.
The British No 2 is ranked 36 places higher than world No 117 Daniel but could not find his best form on the slow courts and went down 6-4, 7-5.
Edmund, Britain’s Davis Cup hero last month, led by a break in both sets but was unable to penetrate Daniel’s defences on enough occasions and made too many sloppy errors.
The 21-year-old Yorkshireman said: “It was a tight match, some long rallies. I’m just disappointed to lose. I didn’t quite finish the points when I needed to on some short balls and some bad unforced errors in key moments.”