World, European and Commonwealth champion Adam Peaty lit up a day of mixed emotions for Team GB as the quest for a best ever Olympic Games on foreign soil began at Rio 2016.
- Peaty 0.07 off second world record in a day as 100m breaststroke gold looms
- Crash denies Thomas potential first Team GB medal in road race
- Women’s rugby 7s take two from two as sport makes historic Olympic return
- Men’s artistic gymnasts book eight finals spots
- Rehabilitated eventer Fox-Pitt leads after first day of dressage
- Team GB boxers Yafai, Cordina and Okolie all victorious
Adam Peaty powered to the first world record in the pool on the opening day of swimming at Rio 2016 and then went within a whisker of breaking it to underline his gold medal credentials.
The world champion carved 0.37 seconds off his own 100m breaststroke world record with a 57.55 effort in the heats before ducking under the old marker again to qualify fastest from the semis in 57.62.
No other swimmer broke the 59 second barrier in the semi-finals, but Peaty insists he doesn’t expect gold to be handed to him on a plate in the final.
“I’m in that spot where I have a real opportunity to do something but I’m not going to take that for granted,” said the 21-year old.
“I know those guys can probably step up as well so it’s going to be a great final. It will be about enjoying my first Olympic final and doing what I have been doing for the last seven years.”
Hannah Miley fell agonisingly short of landing Team GB’s first medal of Rio 2016 in the 400m individual medley, touching just 0.15 seconds off the podium in fourth.
Aimee Willmott was seventh behind Miley in the 400m medley while Max Litchfield and James Guy were fourth and sixth in the men’s 400m individual medley and 400m freestyle respectively.
A crash on the final descent ended Geraint Thomas’ hopes of an Olympic medal after a dramatic end to the men’s road race at Rio 2016.
Belgium’s Greg van Avermaet eventually sprinted for gold by the shores of the famous Copacabana beach, nudging Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark and Poland’s Rafal Majka into silver and bronze medal position respectively.
Thomas had looked in with a chance of challenging for the medals after a crash involving two of the lead group, Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao, left the door open to chase the loan leader Majka 10km from the finish
But the Welshman fell victim to the same misfortune almost immediately and eventually finished in 11th, one place ahead of Chris Froome and four clear of Adam Yates.
“Until the final circuit I thought the guys rode a perfect race. G put himself into the bike race perfectly,” said coach Rod Ellingworth.
“In general, great teamwork but it’s just unfortunate the crash happened when it did. I knew from the test event that final descent would be a deciding factor in the race and that’s how it turned out.
“Looking at Geraint he was properly disappointed as knew that was a real gold medal chance.”
The Team GB women’s rugby sevens side put in two near faultless performances with convincing victories over hosts Brazil and Japan as the sport made its historic debut at the Olympic Games.
In hot conditions at the Deodoro Stadium, Team GB battled against a fired up Brazilian side and a deafening crowd to record a 29-3 win after a first-half battle that saw the half-time score stand at just 7-3.
Things we far simpler against Japan as Team GB showed their clinical side to run riot against their clearly overmatched opponents, ending the day by winning 40-0 with six different try scorers.
A tougher test lies ahead for Team GB in the form of Canada tomorrow in the last Pool C game but captain Emily Scarratt says the squad will approach the game with confidence.
“It was a shaky start to say the least against Brazil,” she said. “It wasn’t the performance we were after but we got the all-important result and you have to take a lot from that in the opening game.
“We know all too well that sevens tournaments aren’t decided on the first day and we’ve got two good wins under our belts. That second performance was very pleasing for us and we rectified a lot of the things from the first game so we can be happy looking ahead.
“We have Canada next and we all know will be a real step up for us. We know we are going to have to be right on our game for that one but we will rest and recover and give it our best shot.”
Team GB’s men's artistic gymnastics squad put in a strong all-round performance to secure eight finals places at Rio 2016.
The team ended the day in fifth behind China, USA, Russia and Japan with a score of 268.670 going into Monday’s final.
In the individual events, Max Whitlock and Nile Wilson will both contest the all-around final, while Whitlock and Louis Smith finished an impressive one-two on pommel.
A fourth final awaits for Whitlock on floor and he’ll be joined by Kristian Thomas as they qualified in fourth and seventh respectively while Wilson will also bid for medals in the high bar.
“I’m happy with what I’ve done,” said Whitlock. “The team have pulled together really well and I’m really pleased to come up first in pommel.
“It’s probably one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had. The 2015 World Championships where we came second in front of China really proved that. We need to take what we’ve done use the experience we’ve got and go out there and enjoy it.”
Team GB’s boxers made the perfect start to their Rio 2016 campaign with all three athletes in action securing opening round wins.
Light flyweight Galal Yafai got the ball rolling with a comfortable 3-0 win over Simplice Fotsala of Cameroon before Joe Cordina saw off the challenge of the Philippines’ Charly Suarez 2-1 in the lightweight division.
And it was left to heavyweight Lawrence Okolie to complete the sweep as he overcame Igor Pawel Jakubowski of Poland 3-0.
“I didn’t find it tough. I felt like I was comfortable. Charly Suarez was falling over his front foot swinging and I was just stepping back and hitting him,” said Cordina.
“Obviously I gave a couple away but you can’t go swimming without getting wet. It’s one of those things – you’re going to get hit a couple of times.
“I tried to minimise that and I thought I won every round. I knew it was a close second round. You can feel that yourself.
“But he didn’t really hit me in the last round. He was showing off in the last half a minute but I don’t know what for. Every time he threw a shot he was missing.”
Team GB’s rowers came prepared for the conditions as their first day of competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games got underway in some difficult conditions on the Lagoa.
With Christ the Redeemer looking down over the action, four of the six crews secured top-two finishes to move safely into the next rounds and the training waters of Caversham helped the team feel right at home with the wind and choppy waters of Rio.
Alan Campbell got Team GB off to the perfect start with a comfortable win in his single sculls heat before Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes progressed through to the semi-finals with a second place finish in the men’s pair.
“From a British perspective I think we’ll cope with this better than other nations. We’re happy to row in similar conditions and our training base at Caversham can be unforgiving at times,” said Campbell.
“The wind came straight down off Christ the Redeemer straight down onto us. To be honest he could spread his arms a little more to protect us.”
Five-time Olympian Katherine Grainger and double sculls partner Vicky Thornley battled with the water and a competitive heat to record an impressive second place.
The lightweight men’s four of Mark Aldred, Chris Bartley, Pete Chambers and Jono Clegg also looked strong to finish in second and secure a semi-final place.
However, it’s the repechages for the men’s double sculls of John Collins and Jonathan Walton and the quadruple sculls of Angus Groom, Peter Lambert, Sam Townsend and Jack Beaumont after both crews came home in fourth.
Equestrian – Eventing
William Fox-Pitt put in a superb performance to place first after the first of two days of dressage as the bid for Rio 2016 Olympic eventing gold began in earnest.
The 47-year old suffered a severe head injury in October 2015 following a fall but showed he was back to very best as he rode Chilli Morning to 37 penalties.
“That ride was what I was dreaming of. Chilli is great on the flat and he did very good tests at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and 2013 European Championships and I did not want to let him down,” he said.
“In November 2015 I thought Rio was still months away but then I suddenly realised that Rio was just around the corner. I had lots of help with my rehabilitation and I saw more experts than I ever wanted to see. For me it was perfect timing and I am just lucky to be here.”
Meanwhile teammate Gemma Tattersall put in a solid if unspectacular display on Quicklook V with 47.20 penalties, with Team GB ranked third in the team event after two riders.
“I’m a little bit disappointed with the score but she [Quicklook V] went in and we both did our absolute best. She tried really, really hard for me,” said Tattersall.
“It’s hot and she just slightly dropped behind me a little bit, which is perhaps why we didn't get the score but it’s still a good team score.”
Jennifer McIntosh recovered superbly after her rifle suffered a worrying malfunction to finish 15th out of 51 in the women’s 10m rifle – the first event to award medals at the Games.
After finding a good rhythm at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Deodoro, the 25-year-old from Edinburgh was stopped in her tracks as her rifle jammed up and would not load properly.
Fortunately rifle coach and father Donald was on hand to rush the gun to the service team to be fixed but it was an anxious ten-minute wait for Jennifer before the problem was resolved and weapon returned in the nick of time.
Showing superb composure, she finished strongly to take a top-20 position and set herself up perfectly for the women’s 50m rifle three positions event next week.
“It was a really good performance so I’m super proud of it,” McIntosh said. “After having a malfunction with the rifle that saw me lose ten minutes, I think it was a great result.
“It was a tense ten minutes but you just have to manage the situation by staying calm, not panicking and trusting the team to do their job and get things sorted.
“All in all, this was a big confidence boost ahead of the next event so I’m very happy and looking forward to competing again.”
The Team GB women’s side put in a gutsy performance as they saw off Australia 2-1 in a furiously competitive game at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro.
With a tactical first period seeing both sides give little away, Lily Owsley broke the deadlock with a clever chip before Australia rallied and levelled immediately after half-time.
The game tightened up once again until a fantastic break from Team GB saw Alex Danson rifle the ball into the top corner to give them a 2-1 lead that they took through to the end.
“It was a good three points for us. It was a difficult game and it was not pretty at times but we stayed disciplined throughout,” said Team GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh.
“Australia are a fantastic side. They have strength all over the field and they will do very well in this tournament so to get a win against them is definitely a great confident booster.
“You see in the women’s tournament because it is so tight between us, whoever has a bit of momentum and takes their chances will do well in the tournament so it was really pleasing for us to get the win.”
Earlier in the day, the Team GB men’s hockey side made a disappointing start to the Olympic hockey tournament as they suffered a 4-1 defeat in stifling conditions against Belgium.
Heather Watson made it two wins out of two on the first day of competition at the Olympic Tennis Centre, winning her first round singles match and doubles contest with Johanna Konta.
The British pair beat Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic and Aleksandra Krunic 6-2, 6-1 to move into the second round, following Watson’s earlier three-set singles win against China’s Shuai Peng.
Watson triumphed 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in two-and-a-half hours to set up a clash with Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in round two. Kyle Edmunds will face the world No.118, Taro Daniel of Japan, next having defeated Australian Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-2.
“I got in there and I played pretty well and I was happy with my game. The score showed that I played well so it was just nice to kick things off with a win,” Edmunds said.
Dominic Inglot and Colin Fleming were knocked out of the men’s doubles at the first hurdle, losing 6-3, 6-0 to Mexican pair Santiago Gonzalez and Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela.
Paul Drinkhall got his singles campaign off to the perfect start at Riocentro, coming from behind to triump over Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic 4-1.
Having lost the first game 12-10, Drinkhall applied his speed to overwhelm his opponent and win the next four games to take the match.
“I knew that if I could stay close to the table then I’d be too quick for him,” Drinkhall said. “I think that showed at the beginning of the first set. I think my concentration lapsed a little bit, he relaxed and played really well.
“It was a very tough game mentally, but I managed to get back on top.”
He will now face Indonesia’s Gao Ning, coached by Drinkhall’s former coach of 13 years Lu Jia-Yi.
Ashley McKenzie was the first of Team GB’s seven-strong judo squad to take to the mat in Rio and got off to a fine start with victory over Turkey’s Bekir Ozlu.
His opponent in the last 16 was far tougher though – world champion Yeldos Smetov – and he couldn’t edge past the Kazakhstan judoka in a tough contest.
McKenzie lost 1-0 to exit the competition after two fights at Carioca Arena 2 and was distraught not to have progressed further at his second Olympic Games.
“I thought I had him but the way judo goes I obviously didn’t. The cameras are there so I definitely didn’t catch him,” said McKenzie.
“It is one of those things in judo – you try for four years and then it is over in two fights. I missed out on a medal by losing to the world champion.
“There is nothing you can do but you put in four years and god knows how many hours that is. “You dedicate your whole life to one thing and then to come here and for it to be over in two fights is the worst.”
Team GB in Rio: Day 2 Preview
Adam Peaty will bid to complete the international set as he goes in the 100m breaststroke final while there’s five other medal chances via long-distance swimmer Jazmin Carlin, the women’s road race, fencing, judo and diving.
Click here to find out more.