Showjumpers help Team GB gallop up medal table
August 7, 2012 00:00 am
THE medals just keep flowing for Team GB, and Day Ten of the London 2012 Olympics saw the equestrian showjumpers secure their first Gold medal for 60 years at Greenwich Park.
GB kept their nerve through a jump-off with the Netherlands after the scores had been tied after the final round, sparking jubilation among the packed stands.
Just before the equestrian elation, gymnast Beth Tweddle got GB’s Monday medal exploits off to a flying start when she secured Bronze in the uneven bars.
And the afternoon saw team sprint Gold medallist Jason Kenny add the individual Gold to his tally, a medal which took GB to 40 gongs so far in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
That number is just seven short of their total for the Beijing Games four years ago, and with six days of competition still to come it is surely a matter of when, not if, they will break that target.
No horsing around for GB equestrian team
Team GB’s showjumpers won their first Olympic Gold medal since 1952 in dramatic style, winning a jump-off at Greenwich Park on Monday.
The quartet of Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles were tied with the Netherlands after the normal competition, but kept their nerve in a jump-off to take victory in front of a jubilant 23,000 capacity crowd.
Attending his sixth Olympic Games in London, Skelton, at 54, is one of Britain's oldest Gold medal winners of all time. He said: "It has taken me 54 years. It is unbelievable and what a place to do it. I have got a wonderful horse and it’s a dream come true."
Maher praised his horse, adding: “He [Tripple X] felt the best he’s jumped over the last two days. He was finding it all quite easy and I was having to hold him back.
“It was always a long distance to fence 10 and I thought it was going to make it easy but I ended up a bit of a way off. It was unfortunate, but my horse was fantastic and one down isn’t a bad round.
And Brash was also quick to herald his mount, Sanctos. “He was amazing today,” he said. “He didn’t fault and he’s just got better and better; he has been amazing.
“Being here has been fantastic, the crowd are unbelievable and I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything like this again. It really has been the best day of my life.”
King Kenny seals individual sprint Gold
Jason Kenny, the man picked before Sir Chris Hoy, came through as the fastest man on two wheels in the track as he walked away with sprint Gold after defeating Gregory Bauge yesterday.
Hoy’s shoes were big ones to fill, the Scot was reigning world champion. But Kenny showed blistering pace to add the Gold to his team sprint medal he won on Thursday, making him a triple Gold medallist at the tender age of 24.
The first leg in the best-of-three contest saw Kenny sitting high on the ramp, starting off at a super-slow pace before the Brit ripped through Bauge’s moves to grab a the first sprint, leaving the Frenchman needing to strike in the second.
This time Kenny started lower, in the safety of the red and black tramlines. It was win or nothing for Bauge and Kenny simply had the pace and power to match anything his opponent threw at him.
“It occurred to me that if Chris [Hoy] had been in my shoes there was no way he would have lost. It is just a shame we couldn’t have had two of us in there,” admitted Kenny.
The Brit had not previously beaten Bauge in the sprint in a major competition, but his leg speed and tactics were too much for ‘Le Automotion’ this time.
Bronze medal for Tweddle
Beth Tweddle clinched bronze in the uneven bars at the North Greenwich Arena on Monday, becoming the first British woman to win an Olympic medal in an individual gymnastics competition.
The 27-year-old Tweddle scored 15.916, behind leader Aliya Mustafina of Russia in 16.133 and China’s He Kexin in second with 15.933.
Tweddle’s Olympic medal serves a fitting end to a 12-year international career which includes a host of world and European medals.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to win the Bronze medal, there was one point today I thought I’d end in fourth like in Beijing, so I’m really happy. This was the one medal missing from my collection; this is the one I really wanted. I tried to keep calm and do what I do best and the crowd were amazing, as soon as I walked into the arena it was incredible.
“I had a step on my dismount but at the end of the day I had to go for the difficult dismount to challenge for a medal. To be honest I could say ‘what if’ but I’m not disappointed in the slightest. Any medal, any colour is what I always said I wanted, so I’m extremely happy.”
Boxing clever for Team GB
Team GB’s boxing squad surpassed their Beijing medal haul as Anthony Ogogo and Anthony Joshua became the latest fighters to guarantee a medal at the ExCeL Arena on Monday night.
Great Yarmouth middleweight Anthony Ogogo guaranteed a medal with a 15-10 quarter-final win over German Stefan Hartel.
Ogogo started brightly and utilised his strength and high work rate to establish an advantage which Hartel couldn’t recover from.
Super heavyweight Anthony Joshua dispatched China’s Beijing silver medallist Zhang Zhilei 15-11 in a powerful quarter-final display to take GB’s medal tally to four which is already one greater than Beijing.
The losing semi-finalists automatically secure bronze medals while the winners of course go on to compete for silver and gold.
Leeds flyweight Nicola Adams guaranteed herself at least a bronze medal with a quarter-final win earlier in the day after Hull bantamweight Luke Campbell achieved the same feat on Sunday.
Team GB have record haul in their sights
Team GB will look to continue their dominance in the Olympic Velodrome, and will be pushing to secure three more Gold medals today and better their Gold rush in Beijing 2008.
Sir Chris Hoy will compete in the keirin, an event which he has dominated throughout his career and is expected to dominate again.
Victoria Pendleton has looked in scintillating form throughout London 2012 as she breezed into the women’s sprint semi-finals, and Laura Trott is in the hunt for omnium Gold as she leads the field going into the final events today.
Brownlee Brothers in the mix
First and second respectively in the World Championships last year, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee will swim, cycle and run for Olympic medals in Hyde Park today.
The sibling rivalry made for a superb spectacle in the worlds, and the crowds will be hoping that they can claim the same colours.
Dempsey and Shaw to board the medal boat
Team GB’s Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw are in the hunt for medals in the RS-X as both enter their double points medal races at Weymouth and Portland today.
Nick Dempsey is lying second and, despite first place being out of his grasp, he requires a strong race to hold onto his Silver medal position. Shaw is seventh, just 11 points from third place.
Athletics boys can increase the tally
With the medal haul growing ever bigger, Team GB’s athletics squad won’t want to be left behind.
And in Lawrence Okoye in the discus and Robbie Grabarz in the high jump they have two more candidates who can find their way onto the podium and add to athletics’ medal tally.
Dressage team could dance to a medal
Team GB’s dressage squad will look to match the historic performances of their showjumping compatriots today.
The team goes into the final lying first after qualifying and looked in fine form throughout the competition.