Wednesday 22 January 2020

What you missed in Rio while you slept: Heroics from Thomas Barr and Oliver Dingley while GB make further history in the Velodrome

Here are seven things you probably missed from the Rio Olympics while you were tucked up in bed last night.

1. Thomas Barr runs a PB to make 400m hurdles final

Barr had been downplaying his Olympic chances earlier this week - joking that he had only packed one pair of running socks because he didn't want to jinx himself - but the hurdler produced an epic semi-final race of 48.39 to qualify for an Olympic final.

Barr's race takes place tomorrow at 4pm.

2. Kenny wins a sixth gold medal hours after Trott won a fourth

An extraordinary six days in the velodrome ended on Tuesday night with GB’s golden couple from London 2012, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, taking gold medals in the omnium and the keirin respectively to swell the GB riders’ medal tally at these Games to 12 in total, six of them gold.

Kenny equalled former team-mate and inspiration Sir Chris Hoy on six golds, with his third of the Rio Games – matching the Scot’s feat from Beijing 2008 – while his fiancée Trott reclaimed her place outright at the top of the women’s list with her fourth gold after Charlotte Dujardin had drawn level with her 24 hours earlier.

The mind-boggling statistics came amid huge drama with the keirin race – the final race of the programme – twice having to be restarted as the riders illegally passed the derny bike as it swung over with two laps remaining.

When the race did finally get under way properly, Kenny – sitting third wheel – showed all of the gas he had exhibited in the sprint and team sprint, surging around the outside of the field on the final bend to create British sporting history.

3. Oliver Dingley takes 8th in 3m diving final

The English-born Irish diver produced a brilliant final performance to finish eight out of 12 divers, a respectable showing for someone competing in their first Olympic final.

4. Laura Muir forced to settle for seventh place in 1500m final

Laura Muir's bid for a 1500 metres medal at the Rio Olympics ended in bitter disappointment as she had to settle for seventh place.

The Scot broke Kelly Holmes' British record last month, but here paid the price for trying to go with Kenya's Faith Kipyegon and Ethiopia's world record holder Genzebe Dibaba when they broke away and was swallowed up by the field with 150m to go.

The 23-year-old, who is training to be a vet, crossed the line in four minutes 12.88 seconds as Kipyegon beat Dibaba to the gold.

In light of her insistence that the Tokyo 2020 Games are her main aim, a seventh place finish in the final was a commendable achievement for Muir. But she had hoped for much more.

5. Robbie Grabarz equals his season's best - but it's not enough

Robbie Grabarz beat the height that secured his London 2012 bronze but just missed out on the high jump podium in Brazil. Four years on from having the home crowd on their feet, a sparsely-filled Olympic Stadium witnessed the 28-year-old's attempt to repeat the feat in Rio.

Grabarz immediately cleared 2.20m and then 2.25m at the second time of asking, before soaring over 2.29m - the height that secured him bronze in London.The Briton appeared to have then managed 2.33m, pumping his fists in celebration only to see the bar belatedly fall and the white flag replaced by a red one.

A perplexed Grabarz appealed the decision and the judges eventually relented, reinstating the jump that equalled his season's best. However, 2.36m proved too high for the 2012 European champion, seeing him finish joint fourth with Ukraine's Andriy Protsenko. Canada's Derek Drouin won gold.

6. Pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie burst into tears during his medal ceremony

French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie was booed on the podium and burst into tears on Tuesday night having compared the Brazilian crowd to the Nazi's treatment of Jesse Owens.

Lavillenie, the world record holder, was booed mercilessly by the partisan Rio crowd during the men's pole vault final on Monday night and was eventually beaten into the silver medal position by Brazilian Thiago da Silva.

And during the medal ceremony on Tuesday evening, a visibly upset Lavillenie was again booed in ugly scenes.

7. GB's Joshua Buatsi was outwitted but leaves Rio with a bronze medal

Josh Buatsi cut a dejected figure despite surpassing expectations by securing an Olympic boxing bronze medal at Rio Centro on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old dropped a unanimous decision to Kazakhstan's Adilbek Niyazymbetov in their light-heavyweight semi-final, bringing an end to his impressive run through the tournament.

An encounter with Floyd Mayweather ahead of the semi-final had led Buatsi to say: "He said to me he had heard about me before I got here and that I was a great fighter, a future world champion."

That may still be so, but he will start a pro career without the lustre of gold. To progress he will need more practice against the Eastern European method of turning side on, spinning away and counter-punching against more technically accomplished opponents, but there is no doubt the London-based has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him.

But in better news for the Great Britain squad on Tuesday, wins for Nicola Adams and Joe Joyce guaranteed they will leave the Games having hit their UK Sport target of at least three medals.

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