Team GB Review: Day Four at AYOF

Team GB’s young athletes enjoyed a ‘Super Saturday’ of their own at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney, winning an awesome 13 medals – 4 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze - to double their medal tally for the event to 26 – 7 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze - with one day still remaining.

Perhaps most pleasing was the fact that the medals were spread across seven different sports, demonstrating Team GB’s breadth of talent and potential in Olympic sport. The sports who contributed medals to the Team GB total on day four were: badminton, basketball, diving, gymnastics – trampolining, rowing, shooting and triathlon.

Trampolinist Harry Newbold-Cozens (Chorley) admitted he had to pinch himself after claiming gold at the AYOF today. The teenager started Saturday in style as he scored a new personal best 145.660 to finish fourth in the individual event, a place higher than his compatriot Joshua Newman (Basildon).

But the duo then teamed up in the synchronised event and stormed the competition to take gold, while Team GB’s Izzy Songhurst (Broadstone) and Megan Pettit (Wokingham) also picked up the silver medal in the women's event to complete a memorable day for the Team GB trampolinists.

"I didn't think my day could have gotten any better after finishing fourth in the individual with a new PB because I was hoping for maybe eighth or something like that," Newbold-Cozens said. "So to finish fourth was amazing but then to get the gold with Josh in the synchro was just unbelievable.

"It feels amazing - gold is the one that everyone wants and to think that we have it is brilliant."

Team GB's rowers had to wait until the penultimate day of competition at the AYOF to get going and the wait clearly gave them itchy feet as they burst into action at the Sydney Regatta Centre.

Ten British boats took to the water in the morning with all but one qualifying for their A final. It was Jack Beaumont (Maidenhead) who opened the floodgates as he claimed single sculls gold, meaning fellow Brit Luke Moon had to settle for silver.

Also finishing top of the podium were Ben Board (Henley on Thames) and Jamie Copus (Wallingford) who took victory in the lightweight men’s double sculls, while Anastasia Chitty(London) and Nicole Lamb (Hexham) won women's coxless pairs silver.

There is still one more day of action to go for Britain's rowers and Beaumont is hopeful the good times will continue to roll downunder: "I came here with the intention of getting the gold medal and that is exactly what I have got so I am really pleased," Beaumont said. "This is my first international gold medal for Great Britain as I had won two silver medals before but hopefully I can add to this in the quad and the eight.”

Team GB’s divers claimed their third medal of the AYOF as Georgia Ward (Greenford) and Francesca Del Celo (Richmond)  won bronze in the women’s 3m synchronised springboard event with a score of 258.84. Ward was delighted with her second bronze medal in as many days: “I was over the moon about yesterday. I was quite nervous about synchro today because you’re diving with another person so it’s extra pressure. But I’m really enjoying competing in this amazing Olympic venue and to win two medals is really fantastic.”

Del Celo had earlier finished agonisingly out of the medals in fourth place in the women’s individual 10m platform event with a score of 466.30. Her teammate Georgia Davenport (Sheffield) finished in sixth position with 451.75. In the men’s individual 3m springboard competition Ross Haslam (Sheffield) placed fourth with 491.20 and Sam Thornton (Shipley) scored 476.75 to finish sixth. For the second consecutive day Chinese divers completed a clean sweep of gold medals.

Team GB's triathlon contingent ensured they all head home with a medal to show for their efforts in Sydney after they claimed bronze in the mixed team relay event today.

Marc Austin (Glasgow) and Georgia Taylor-Brown (Leeds) had already tasted success at the Sydney Regatta Centre as they picked up bronze medals in yesterday’s individual men's and women's events respectively. And 24 hours later they joined forces, along with Sophie Coldwell (Nottingham) and Gordon Benson (Leeds), to repeat the success, finishing third with teams from Australia claiming gold and silver.

“I was a little bit disappointed after finishing the individual event without a medal so it is really nice to put that behind me in the relay,” Coldwell said. “It was good to come together as a team, put in a good performance and come away with a medal. It is our winter back at home so we are not really in race condition but it was good to stick with the Australians as much as we did and give them a race and we are really pleased to all come away with a bronze medal.”

Team GB’s men’s and women’s hockey teams dominated their American counterparts to record convincing victories at the Sydney Olympic Hockey Centre today. The men produced a forceful performance to beat USA 6-0 with goals from Phil Roper (Cheshire) (2), Ross Gilham-Jones (Hythe), Sam French (Addingham), Alan Forsyth (Paisley) and captain Andy Bull (Manchester).

The result means Team GB will face arch rivals Australia in the gold medal final tomorrow. Gilham-Jones said: “It was a case of job done today. It was a really professional team performance and we played some good stuff. Hopefully we’ve still got a lot left in the tank for Australians tomorrow. It’s going to be a great battle and we’ll be ready for it.”

The GB women got their first win of their AYOF campaign with a 5-0 victory over USA. Hannah Martin (Ipswich) scored a brace, with further strikes by Lily Owsley (Bristol), captain Shona McCallin (Newark) and Suzi Petty (Yorkshire). The sides will face each other again in the bronze medal play-off tomorrow, while hosts Australia meet China in the final.

In shooting, Team GB’s Dan Tarrant (Pulborough) was delighted with his performance today which saw him win gold in the men’s trap event at the AYOF today. Tarrant, who led the competition from start to finish, admitted that going into the final he didn’t think he would win, “I didn’t think I could do it, so I am over the moon!”

Up next in the 50m prone event were Ross Shears (Northampton) and Michael Bamsey (Tamworth). Bamsey made it a hat trick of silver medals in his personal AYOF collection while Shears finished fifth. Bamsey, who was narrowly beaten by his Chinese opponent said: “I was tied second with China going into the final and I was doing really well up until the last shot. As soon as I pulled the trigger the wind twisted round, I saw it as soon as I pulled the trigger, I was hoping it had caught China as well, it did, but not as much. Losing out on gold by 0.1 has certainly given me determination for the future.”

The last final of the day saw Kristian Callaghan (Reading) competing in the 50m pistol. Callaghan went into the final in first place but after a shaky ninth round with a score of 1.5 Callaghan tied with Abd Malek from Malaysia for third. Callaghan held his nerve in the shoot out to score 10.0 compared to Abd Malek’s 5.3 and claim the bronze medal.

Speaking after his tense final Callaghan said: “It was only the second final I have been in for this event and the other was nowhere near as pressurised as this. My heart rate definitely increased going into the shoot out. He shot early and I heard the audience gasp, so I fired and the audience cheered, I looked down and saw the 10.0 and thought ‘yes, I’ve done it’.”

In the basketball 3x3 competition Great Britain's men took a change of venue in their stride as they claimed an outstanding bronze medal for Team GB in Sydney. With souring temperatures causing yesterday's competition to come to a halt at Darling Harbour, the event was moved to Sydney Boys High School. But that didn't deter the Team GB players as they put a 19-16 semi-final defeat to Australia behind them by beating China 19-15 to walk away with the bronze medal. Team GB's women finished a commendable fifth after losing their opening three matches.

Gregor Gray (North Berwick) hopes they have done their bit to put Great Britain on the map when it comes to basketball: "We are all delighted with the bronze medal. To come back from the defeat to Australia like we did was fantastic. We came here looking to prove what we could do in basketball and we have done that. Hopefully by us doing well we can encourage more people to get into the sport and we can continue to raise the profile of basketball in the UK."

Badminton became the seventh and final sport to contribute to the Team GB medal tally on day four of the AYOF as Tom Wolfenden (Liverpool) and Aaron Cheng (Surbiton) claimed a brilliant bronze medal by defeating their Chinese Taipei opponents 21-19, 17-21, 21-17 in a thrilling men’s doubles bronze medal play-off match. The victory was all the more impressive given that Aaron was a late replacement for this event and the pair had never played together before the competition.

Alex Lane (Exmouth) and Chloe Birch (Sheffield) were losing semi-finalists in the men’s and women’s singles competition and both face players from Chinese Taipei in their respective bronze medal matches on Sunday morning. Birch teamed up with Holly Smith (Sunderland) in the women’s doubles but after making good progress to reach the semi-finals they could not overcome strong Malaysian opponents and lost the bronze medal play off to Chinese Taipei.

The youngest member of the squad Lynnlette Aung (Leeds) was defeated by one of the favourites from China in the first round of the women’s competition and also went out to Chinese opposition in the mixed doubles alongside Cheng. Wolfenden and Smith progressed to the mixed doubles quarter-finals where they were also defeated by a Chinese pair.

‘Super Saturday’ very nearly turned into ‘Shocking Saturday’ for Team GB on the third day of play at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.

A group, including Team GB members Ewan Scott (St.Andrews) and Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie), who are two of four nominated players for the team award, teed off from an incorrect teeing ground on the sixth hole. The tee had been moved from its previous position and the group had not been advised of the change of tee or yardage.

Under the R&A rules of golf, the penalty is disqualification. However following an appeal, the committee reviewed the decision and, after discussion with R&A representatives, the disqualification was waived under exceptional circumstances, having found precedent from a similar incident in an International qualifying event. The group of three, which included an Australian player, were asked to replay that hole from the correct tee.

It was a turbulent day all round for the GB golfers.  Five British players began early in the morning in order to complete their second round, which was suspended due to the excessive heat yesterday.

Teeing off at 6.45 am, Lauren Whyte (St.Andrews) posted a superb five under par 67, holing a 15 footer on the last to loud cheers from her teammates. Ashton Turner (Alford) finished on four under par 68 to maintain pole position in the men’s individual competition.

Play for the third round commenced at the later time of 8.45am in very different conditions to that of the previous day as temperatures were halved to a more comfortable 23 degrees, accompanied by showers and a challenging breeze.

Georgia Hall (Bournemouth) discarded the frustrations of her first two rounds and posted a fine four under par 68. Going into the final day, Hall leads the women’s individual event by three shots from Australia, with teammate, Gabriella Cowley (Harlow), shooting 73, placing her in bronze position.

Hall said: "It was much nicer weather to play in today compared to yesterday as there was a nice breeze that helped and it was a bit more like what we are used to. I finished four under for the day and I was really pleased with how I played. I bogied one hole but that was it and seemed to play my best golf yet so that is a good sign. After finishing the first day one under and then the second level par it is nice to put in a good score and things seemed to just fall for me finally and hopefully I can continue that in the last round.”

Both Chloe Williams (Wrexham) and Whyte struggled to repeat their form of round two, but are well placed to maximise their performance in the final round and are within reach of the medal places. Amber Ratcliffe (Cromer) recorded her tournament best of 70 and will be looking to improve on that again on the final day.

In the men’s competition Turner was disappointed with his 74, which dropped him into bronze position, behind Australia and China. Teammates Jack Singh Brar (Romsey) and Harry Ellis (Southampton) shot their first sub par rounds of the tournament with 67 and 70 respectively.

With Scott and Neil re-instated from disqualification, Team GB lead the team award by four strokes from Australia. Neil posting another sub par round of 69 and Scott a level par 72.

Team coach Tegwen Matthews said: “The guy’s spirits were revived following the boys re-instatement and everyone is in the right frame of mind to maximise their performance tomorrow and contribute to the ever growing haul of medals from all the other Team GB athletes. Let’s make it ’Super Sunday’ for Team GB Golf!”