Rio 2016Olympic & Paralympic Games


9 Aug 2016

Walton makes Olympic rowing final on day four in Rio

Loughborough University alumnus Jonny Walton and his partner John Collins enjoyed a wonderful morning on Lake Lagoa as they booked their place in the men’s double sculls final on Thursday afternoon.

After a poor heat, they only made the semi-final via the repechage, but they looked back to their best with a commanding row to finish third. Drawn in the tougher first semi-final, they battled all the way to line, securing third place behind world champions Croatia and a strong Norwegian pair.

In fact the Team GB duo’s performance was faster than any of the qualifiers from the second semi-final, so they’ll go into the final knowing a flawless performance could see them rewarded with a medal.

“I’ve got goosebumps just saying we’re in the Olympic final. We have been working hard, we both believed we could do it. It has not been easy to get out here and to finally say Olympic finalists is great, but we don’t just want to be Olympic finalists. We have set ourselves a good platform in that semi-final but we can still do more so bring on that final.”

Phil Burgess made his Olympic debut, lining up for Team GB in the men’s Rugby Sevens, the first time it has been included in the Olympic programme. Drawn in a very tough group it was imperative they got off to a good start against Kenya, and that they did, winning 31-7 with Burgess on the score sheet.

Team GB’s second game of the day was a nail biter, as they took on a Japan side that had just beaten one of the favourites New Zealand. Two quick tries saw GB lead at halftime, but Japan fought back on two occasions, eventually scoring a try after the hooter. Thankfully the tight angle prevented a conversion, which would have tied the game, so it was Team GB who prevailed 21-19.

It was also a good day for Zach Test and his USA side. Test scored a somewhat controversial try shortly after coming off the bench against Argentina, but it wasn’t enough as they were beaten 14-17. They bounced back in the evening though, thumping the hosts Brazil 26-0.

Ben Ryan, coach of double world champions Fiji, will be pleased with the start his team made to their Olympic title challenge. Starting as favourites, the Fijian’s showed why, their flamboyant, attacking rugby too much for Brazil, whom they beat 40 points to 12.  They made harder work of their second match though, trailing Argentina 14-17 with 3 minutes to go. In the end their quality shone through though, as they overturned a physical Argentina side to win 21-14.

Ryan and Test will go head to head at 17:30 BST on Wednesday, whilst Team GB are back in action an hour earlier against New Zealand. 

Team GB Men’s Hockey team thumped hosts Brazil 9-1 to strengthen their chances of a quarter-final place. Captain fantastic Barry Middleton scored twice, with Mark Gleghorne slamming home a penalty corner, as the five Loughborough players made their mark. David Condon should have opened the scoring early on, whilst Ian Sloan and Henry Weir helped control the game as Great Britain dominated possession from start to finish.

Despite a very close match the Irish men’s hockey team still couldn’t create the luck that the Irish are often known for, as they were edged out 3-2 by Germany. The German’s took the lead, but Ireland pegged them back before halftime. A quick-fire double put Germany in an almost unassailable position after the third quarter, and despite rallying and pulling one back, John Jackson and Paul Gleghorne suffered a third defeat.

Luxembourg’s Laurent Carnol was back in action in his favoured 200m breaststroke, but despite a good swim he missed a semi-final spot by just 0.41 of a second. 

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