Image: Isiwal / Wikimedia Commons
Image: Isiwal / Wikimedia Commons

Tokyo 2020 – Day 13: Team GB move past 50 medals with omnium, pole vault, kayak success

Team GB moved past 50 medals with success in a number of events, including an omnium gold and the nation’s first-ever pole vault medal. We saw the first-ever Olympian claim a climbing gold, while Australia excelled in the skateboarding and the US 4x100m team faced criticism from sprint legends.

Matt Walls has won track cycling gold in the men’s omnium. On his debut, Walls finished on a total of 153 points, 24 ahead of New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart on 129, while defending champion Elia Viviani of Italy took bronze with 124. Walls was top of the overall standings going into the 100-lap race, which he dominated comfortably to win the gold medal – he adds an Olympic medal to his world championship bronze and European title in the event.

Holly Bradshaw won the first Olympic pole vault medal in British history after taking bronze in the women’s final. Bradshaw cleared 4.85m on her first attempt to beat defending champion Katerina Stefandi of Greece to secure a spot on the podium. The USA’s Katie Nageotte was the only athlete to clear 4.90m, winning the gold medal, while the ROC’s Anzhelika Sidorova took the silver. Bradshaw shrugged off a failure at 4.80m, and then succeeded at 4.85m on her first attempt. She was unable to clear 4.90m on this occasion – Nageotte was the only athlete to achieve the feat.

Liam Heath took bronze in a photo finish during the men’s kayak single 200m. He had hoped to defend his title after winning gold at Rio 2016, but was happy to take bronze after a “hesitant start”, edging out Hungary’s Kolos Csizmadia for third place. The gold went to another Hungarian, Sandor Totka, who won in 35.035, while Italy’s Manfredi Rizza took silver.

Galal Yafai will compete for the 52kg flyweight gold after defeating Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the semi-final. The British fighter got off to a spectacular start, with a thudding left hand that knocked the Kazakh into the ropes. The referee gave a standing count, and Yafai had the better of the rest of the round too. He set a pace that his opponent could not match, although Bibossinov edged the scorecards 3-2 in the second round. It all came down to the final round, a battle fought at close-quarters, and the judges, who voted in favour of Yafai. He will face the Philippines Carlo Paalam in the final, where he is guaranteed at least a silver.

Dina Asher-Smith returned to compete in the women’s 4x100m relay, setting a new British record of 41.55 seconds along with Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot and Daryll Neita. They will compete in Friday’s final, as will the men’s 4x100m, who came second in their heat with a time of 38.02 seconds. The US men’s team failed to reach the final, coming sixth, in a performance that nine-time gold medallist Carl Lewis dubbed a “total embarrassment”. Four-time gold medallist Michael Johnson was similarly scathing, saying it was “embarrassing and ridiculous”.

Keegan Palmer took gold for Australia in the men’s park skateboarding final, while the US’ Ryan Crouser beat his own Olympic record to win shot put gold, launching 23.30m. Belgium’s Nafi Thiam retained her heptathlon title, while Canadian Damian Warner triumphed in the decathlon. Spain’s Alberto Ginés López made history as he won the first-ever Olympic gold medal in combined sport climbing. López laid down a marker at the start of the event by winning the speed discipline, and strong showings in the bouldering and lead disciplines put him at the top of the table.

Medal table:

  1. China

Gold (34), Silver (24), Bronze (16), Total (74)

  1. USA

Gold (29), Silver (35), Bronze (27), Total (91)

  1. Japan

Gold (22), Silver (10), Bronze (14), Total (46)

  1. Australia

Gold (17), Silver (5), Bronze (19), Total (41)

  1. Russian Olympic Committee

Gold (16), Silver (22), Bronze (20), Total (58)

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