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Super Tuesday for Team GB as sailing golds and new most decorated Olympian lead medals charge

Written by on 03/08/2021

Day 11 of the Tokyo Olympics has brought more success on water and land for Team GB, with seven medals – including two golds – and cyclist Jason Kenny crowned Britain’s most successful Olympian ever.

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell started a winning streak in the sailing when they claimed gold in the 49er event.

The pair went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand, but victory for Fletcher and Bithell and third for New Zealand saw them claim the title.

Fletcher and Bithell celebrate winning gold
Image: Fletcher and Bithell celebrate winning gold

Stuart’s mother Viv Bithell, 68, said: “It’s been really exciting and we are absolutely delighted what’s happened.

“We’ve spoken to him on Facetime and he’s absolutely beaming and can’t believe it, he said himself it’s not sunk in yet, so there’s going to be some celebrations going on in the next week or so.”

Shortly after the pair’s victory, Giles Scott won gold in the men’s Finn class – Britain’s sixth successive title in the event.

Scott left himself a lot of work to do after fearing he had gone too early and deciding to go back across the start line.

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There was also a silver for Olympic debutants John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the mixed Nacra 17 class, who finished fifth in the medal race to stay in second place overall behind Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti.

On the track, Keely Hodgkinson took silver in the 800m and also became the new British record holder.

It was Team GB’s first medal in the Olympic Stadium after Adam Gemili tore his hamstring before the 200m and Zharnel Hughes false-started in the 100m final.

Dina Asher-Smith suffered a serious hamstring injury last month and pulled out of the 200m.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson comes into the heptathlon on Wednesday after rupturing her achilles in December.

US runner Athing Mu, wins the 800m gold medal ahead of Keely Hodgkinson
Image: US runner Athing Mu, wins the 800m gold medal ahead of Keely Hodgkinson

In the velodrome at Izu, Laura Kenny was the first of Britain’s star married cycling duo to have a shot a gold in the women’s team pursuit.

Laura and teammates Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Josie Knight won silver, following gold in both London and Rio, before her husband Jason Kenny did likewise with Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens in the men’s sprint.

The couple now have 13 Olympic medals between them and Jason Kenny has become the most decorated British Olympian of all time, alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins.

But there was disappointment as Great Britain’s reign as Olympic men’s team pursuit champions ended in bizarre fashion when Danish rider Frederik Madsen crashed into Charlie Tanfield during their semi-final race.

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Frederik Madsen and Charlie Tanfield are floored during the match-up after an unexpected collision.

With Britain – Olympic champions in this event since 2008 – among the teams calling for Denmark to be disqualified in a row over illegal equipment, this match-up was already something of a grudge contest.

The UCI deliberated for half an hour before announcing that Denmark would advance to a final against Italy on Wednesday, while Britain’s cyclists left empty-handed.

Elsewhere, in the pool Jack Laugher claimed a bronze medal in the men’s 3m springboard final after revealing he had been close to quitting the sport

Laugher celebrates on the podium with his bronze medal
Image: Laugher celebrates on the podium with his bronze medal

Laugher won gold and silver at Rio 2016 and he completed the set at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre by claiming the last place on the podium as Xie Siyi took top spot, with Chinese compatriot Wang Zongyuan finishing runner-up.

There was palpable relief afterwards from Laugher, who spoke of his embarrassment at his final dive at the 2019 World Championship as he slipped from a gold medal position to take bronze and how his mistake haunted him.

And in the boxing ring, GB’s Pat McCormack settled for a silver medal after being outclassed in his welterweight final by Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias at the Kokugikan Arena.

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McCormack, who progressed to the 69kg showpiece after Irish opponent Aidan Walsh withdrew from their semi-final because of injury, was hoping to win Britain’s first boxing gold of these Games.

However, all five judges preferred the slicker work of Iglesias, who won every round on three of the officials’ scorecards.

Team GB’s gold medal tally now stands at 13 and they have moved up to 5th in the overall medal table.

 Sky News

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