Team GB’s athletes did not wilt on an extremely hot day in Sydney, winning no less than ten medals - 3 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze - on day three of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).
Team GB’s men’s artistic gymnastic quartet produced an outstanding performance to dominate their Chinese rivals as Dominick Cunningham, James Hall, Courtney Tulloch and Nile Wilson won the team gold medal in style at the Sydney Olympic Park Gymnastics Hall.
Team GB secured top sport with a score of 250.050, beating China (243.050) and Australia (231.550) into the silver and bronze positions. Wilson finished the all around competition ranked first with a score of 83.700, with Hall, Tulloch and Cunningham placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Wilson top scored on parallel bars (14.700) and the high bar (14.000), while Tulloch was top of the scoreboard for Rings (14.150) and Vault (14.800). Hall recorded the second highest score on Rings (13.900).
All four Team GB athletes will go into Sunday’s individual all around and apparatus finals with confidence and ambitions of achieving further podium positions. Reflecting on the performance Wilson said: “This is one of the best feelings in the world. To beat the Chinese team was better than anything we’ve ever done as a team. We pulled together as a team and helped each other and it was just an amazing experience. We’ve been training together wince we were little kids so to win a gold medal together feels incredible.”
Team GB’s women’s artistic gymnasts also began their AYOF campaigns in fine style today. British gymnasts top scored in three out of four apparatus in the women’s all around competition but were narrowly beaten to the team event gold medal by their Chinese rivals. The British quartet of Catherine Lyons, Teal Grindle, Tyesha Mattis and Amy Tinkler took silver with a score of 160.064. Tinkler achieved the highest mark on the floor with a score of 13.800, while Mattis top-scored on the vault with 14.066 and Lyons was the outstanding athlete on the beam with a score of 14.200. All four will compete for the individual titles on Sunday.
Earlier in the day shooter Kristian Callaghan claimed Team GB's first gold medal of the 2013 AYOF as he held his nerve against Australian Lachlan Temple to win the 25m men's rapid pistol event. But the medal flow didn't stop there at the Sydney International Shooting Centre as Sian Bruce also claimed her place on the top step of the podium in the women's skeet, while Michael Bamsey won 10m air rifle silver to bring the total number of Team GB shooting medals to six.
Callaghan said: "It was brilliant when I found out that I was the first member of Team GB to win gold at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. That was only my second-ever rapid pistol final so to go into a shoot out was really tense. I couldn't be happier."
London 2012 Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Zoe Smith added an Australian Youth Olympic Festival medal to her collection with silver in the women’s 63kg competition.
Zoe Smith – silver 200kg weightlifiting (63kg)
The British clean and jerk record holder lifted a solid 200kg but was beaten to gold by Chinese lifter Wei Deng who recorded an outstanding combined score of 235kg. Smith was satisfied with her performance: “I obviously haven’t been training as hard for this competition as I had been for the London Olympics, but I think I got out what I put in, so I am not unhappy. I am pretty sure the Chinese girl’s total would have medalled at the Olympics so I am not too disappointed losing out to her. 200kg was about what I was aiming for here.”
As the mercury hit a record breaking 46 degrees, Team GB’s triathletes showed remarkable resilience and determination to win Great Britain’s first two medals of the day at the Penrith International Regatta Centre with Georgia Taylor-Brown and Marc Austin both claiming bronze in the individual events.
First out onto the course at the Sydney International Regatta centre was Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell. Both girls had fantastic swims coming into the bike transition in the top two places.
Taylor-Brown led the group out and they formed a pack of seven for the bike. Into the final transition both were placed well in sixth and seventh and a podium finish was in sight. However, the heat on the run proved too much for Coldwell who slipped back to eighth, whilst Taylor Brown challenged the Australian pair the whole way on the run but had to settle for a superb bronze medal.
Speaking after the race Taylor Hall said: “It is amazing to win Team GB’s first medal of the day! It was a really fast, flat course. We were hoping to get away on the bike but we came out of the transition a bit slow and had a couple of other girls with us so we decided to sit in because it is a windy course, and work together as a group. We got loads of support all around the course which was fantastic.”
Spurred on by Taylor Brown’s performance Team GB’s Marc Austin and Gordon Bensen took to the same course next. Both of the boys put in solid swims with Austin coming out in the first group of swimmers. On the bike leg a big pack formed preventing anyone from making a break which meant everything came down to the last transition and run. Austin worked hard and produced a solid run keeping the Australian pair leading the race within his sights and managed to keep the Hungarian athlete behind him to claim the bronze. Bensen finished in 13th position.
Speaking after his bronze medal performance Austin said: “I didn’t really know how I was going to perform out here in Australia with the heat and getting acclimatised but I am really happy with my performance. This is one of the greatest experiences of my life!”
It was a successful day for Team GB’s divers in the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatics Centre as they followed in Tom Daley’s footsteps by claiming medals at the AYOF. Sam Thornton and Freddie Woodward won silver in the men’s synchronised springboard 3m event with a score of 325.92, finishing behind China (390.39) and ahead of Australia (278.19).
Meanwhile Georgia Ward secured a bronze medal with a score of 488.60 in the women’s individual 10m platform event. She finished behind the pair of Chinese athletes who scored 587.90 and 559.55. Shanice Lobb was 7th with a score of 438.35. Team GB’s Joshua Dowd was 4th (533.70) and Freddie Woodward 5th (518.30) in the men’s 3m springboard final. The Chinese divers took a clean sweep of gold medals.
Across the Olympic Park, three of Team GB’s four rhythmic gymnasts were competing in their first ever top level international competition. The quartet of Tyler Brummit, Lauren Brash, Helena Stiles and 12-year-old Tiola Gleeson performed admirably to finish fifth in the team event with a score of 119.367. Australia, China and Malaysia took gold, silver and bronze respectively. Brummit top scored with 31.751 (Hoop: 9.767, Ball: 11.467, Clubs: 10.517, Ribbon: 9.567). She was followed closely by Brash who recorded a very consistent 31.666 (Clubs: 10.283, Ribbon: 10.450, Hoop: 10.383, Ball: 10.833). Both narrowly missed out on qualification to tomorrow’s individual finals.
Team GB’s golfers coped very well with the intense heat at the Twin Peaks course during their second round to stay on course for medals in both the individual and team events. The predicted high temperatures forced play to be suspended for the day at 12:30pm, leaving some of the players with up to four holes still to play. The second round will be resumed at 6.45am local time tomorrow, before the third round commences. The fourth and final round tees off on Sunday.
All five Team GB players who completed the round scored no higher than 72 with three recording level par. Harry Ellis started with three birdies in the first three holes finished on the same score as the previous day, while Gabriella Cowley and Georgia Hall also finished level par in the women’s competition. Chloe Williams made up for her disappointment on day one with a very impressive three under par and Ewan Scott went even better with an outstanding five under.
Of those still on the course, Jack Singh Brar is one over with four to play, Bradley Neil is on three under with two to play, as is Lauren White who was on the 15th tee when play was halted. Amber Ratcliffe marked her ball on the 15th green on two under. The overnight leader, Ashton Turner continued his good form and stands at four under for the round with one hole to play.
The highlight of another excellent performance from the Kenwick Park player came when he drove the green at the 396 metre (433 yard) 8th hole. Turner said: "I knew I had hit it well, but not that well. I was looking for my ball from around 100 yards out and I couldn't believe it when I saw it was on the green. That's certainly my longest drive in the competition."
Over in Darling Harbour the basketball was postponed today due to the adverse weather meaning all matches are moved to tomorrow when the men’s team will be looking to build upon the three straight victories they earned on Thursday.