11 Aug 2016
Loughborough athletes set up more medal chances on day five in Rio
Team GB women’s hockey team produced the performance of the day on Wednesday 10th August, beating recent Champion’s Trophy winners and London 2012 silver medallists Argentina 3-2.
With that result, which makes it three wins from three for Great Britain, the side top Group B and are guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals. In the side, who have also beaten number three ranked Australia, are Loughborough alumnae Giselle Ansley, Maddie Hinch, Hannah MacLeod, Laura Unsworth and Nicola White. After Ansley and White got on the score sheet against India, it was at the other end of the pitch that Maddie Hinch starred today, denying Argentina with some world class stops.
The men were also in action late in the day, but they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line against Australia. After a win, draw and loss so far in the group stages, the boys in red really needed a positive result, but despite holding the world number ones at 0-0 until the final quarter, they couldn’t quite get across the line.
Captain Barry Middleton was influential once more, playing alongside four other alumni, but he knows the team will have to be at their best to beat Spain in their final must-win group game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t nick a goal at the right time like they did. At 2-1 down we played with real calmness and composure to make another good chance right at the end. We always trust in our game that we will get another chance whatever is happening. We got it and it just didn’t quite go in and sometimes that happens. We played well and defended well but it is just frustrating with the result.”
“We knew coming into the Spain game, wherever we were, we would want to win it so this doesn’t change much, it just means we need to do our jobs right. We are showing we are in the right place. We have a day off tomorrow which is nice so we will go away, have a good rest and come back as strong as we possibly can for Spain.”
There was more British success in Rugby Sevens, as the men emulated the women in advancing to the first ever Olympic semi-finals in the sport. Winning their first two group games on Tuesday, the side returned to the Deodoro Stadium to edge past New Zealand 21-19 and top their group.
That saw them drawn against Argentina in the quarter-finals, a game which turned out to be their toughest test yet. At half-time, neither side had managed to get a point on the board, and it was the same story at the final whistle. That sent the tie to golden point, and with momentum ebbing and flowing, it was finally Team GB who got across the line after a scrum deep in the Argentinian half.
That means alumnus Phil Burgess and his teammates are just one win away from a medal, and two from gold. They go again against South Africa at 7pm BST on Thursday.
Fiji, coached by alumnus Ben Ryan, won both their final group game and their quarter-final tie against New Zealand to also advance to Thursday’s semi-final. The favourites took on Loughborough alumni Zack Test and his USA team in their final group match, winning 24-19 to end the American’s medal challenge.
Later in the day they took on a strong New Zealand side and in a tight encounter showed just why they are the favourites for gold, overhauling their southern hemisphere rivals 12-7. They now face Japan at 6.30pm BST on Thursday.
The only Loughborough competitor in action in the pool on day five was Molly Renshaw, and she produced a lovely swim to qualify for the women’s 200m breaststroke semi-final fifth fastest. Renshaw returned to the pool in the evening and went one better, clocking 2.22.33, a new British record to qualify third fastest for the final.
“It’s nice to have the British record back. That swim was amazing. I’ve wanted to go 2:22 for quite a while. After being off that at trials, it’s nice to be finally making the big drop here.
“I knew I had to go out a lot faster than the morning. My back end is strong but I know if I want to make the big drops, I’ve got to make them in the front 100m. So I tried to take out the race but still stick to my long counts and keep the hold down the last 100m.
“It’s amazing to be third fastest for the final. I think I came into this ranked 12th so to be up there feels amazing. I’m sure people will step it up but hopefully I can as well.”