Gold prospect Kenny breaks Hoy's record

04 August 2012 / 21:08

Great Britain's Jason Kenny was in prime position to challenge for gold in the men's cycling sprint after setting a new Olympic record in qualifying at the velodrome.

Kenny thrilled with a ride of 9.713 seconds to top the seedings for the blue riband event and better reigning Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy's mark of 9.815secs - set in his charge to gold in Beijing four years ago.

That handed the 24-year-old a bye to the last 16, where he eased past South African Bernard Esterhuizen in a comfortable 10.363 to set-up a head-to-head with Azizulhasni Awang in Sunday's quarter-finals.

But while Kenny's performance left Team GB with yet more to celebrate on the track, Saturday's action also served to cast the spotlight on a controversial decision by the International Cycling Union and International Olympic Committee to limit each competing nation to just one entrant.

The most stark victim of the one-rider rule is Hoy, who lost out in a head-to-head selection battle with the man he edged into second in Beijing.

The Scot, who teamed with Kenny and Philip Hindes to win team sprint gold on day one of competition, has backed the selection.

As a result, the 200m flying lap yielded just three qualifying scores below 10 seconds - with Frenchman Gregory Bauge (9.952) and Australian Shane Perkins (9.987) coming in behind Kenny.

Indeed, with so many frontline sprinters absent from the start line, Great Britain's omnium rider Ed Clancy actually produced the fourth quickest 200m of the morning session.

Clancy, not considered a specialist sprinter, was actually timed at 12.556 over one lap as he topped the points table in the first of his six races but the time splits showed him clocking 10.035 with 200m gone.