Day 14: Stage set as Team GB begin the last lap
More medals for home crowds to cheer – and there's promise of further glory as Farah carries Britain's hopes on the Games' final weekend
With less than 48 hours to go in one of the most remarkable fortnights in British sporting history, the host nation's athletes are poised to compete for gold medals today in boxing, canoeing, athletics and modern pentathlon.
Household names such as Mo Farah and Tom Daley will join younger sportsmen in competing to add to Britain's medal tally, which last night stood at 57, with 25 gold, 15 silver and 17 bronze. The haul was boosted yesterday on the waters off Weymouth, where British sailors won two silvers. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark finished second to New Zealand in a winner-takes-all finale in the women's 470 class. Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell also took silver in the same men's event, behind a resurgent Australia.
"We just feel a bit gutted at the moment that we didn't put on a big show," said Clark, after a lack of wind undid their hopes of catching the Kiwis.
Great Britain's boxers found success across the board and put on an impressive display that will be transferred into a medal haul over the weekend. Anthony Joshua overcame a Kazakh giant in Ivan Dychko booking his place in the Olympic final tomorrow.
Welsh welterweight Fred Evans also defeated Ukraine's world number one and reigning world champion Taras Shelestyuk 11-10 to earn a spot in his division final, while Hull's Luke Campbell punched his way past Japan's Satoshi Shimizu into the final of the bantamweight category. Tonight, in what will be one of the most captivating contests of the entire games, he will fight Ireland's John Joe Nevin, who defeated the world number one, Cuban Lazaro Jorge Alvarez Estrada, in a frenzied atmosphere in London's Docklands. Irish fans have almost turned the boxing ring at London's ExCeL Centre into a home venue since Katie Taylor won the country's first gold medal there on Thursday. Whatever happens tonight, it will certainly be loud.
And a bronze medal will go to middleweight boxer Anthony Ogogo, from Lowestoft, who was comprehensively beaten in his semi-final by Brazilian Esquiva Florentino, who floored him for a count of eight. Of all the members of Britain's talented boxing team, it is Ogogo that many spectators have willed to reach the podium. His mother has been in hospital since 19 June after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
The women's hockey team also won bronze yesterday evening after beating New Zealand 3-1. It is their first medal for 20 years.
Lutalo Muhammad, who was controversially selected ahead of world number one Aaron Cook in the 85kg Taekwondo category, also won a bronze medal in the competition's repechage stage having been eliminated in the quarter-final earlier in the day. But there was heartbreak too. Sarah Stevenson, who read the athlete's oath at the opening ceremony, lost in her first round Taekwando match against American Paige McPherson.
Diver Pete Waterfield lost out on his place at the 10m platform semi-final, while Tom Daley only narrowly crept in, finishing 15th out of 32 in the qualifying round.
Arguably Great Britain's likeliest remaining gold medal hope, the canoe sprinter Ed McKeever – described as the Usain Bolt of the lake – blazed into this morning's K1 200m final at Eton Dorney, setting the fastest time of the day in his heat and winning his semi-final. It is the first time that the 200m race has been contested at the Olympics. British canoeists will compete in two further finals today: Liam Heath and Jon Schofield pair up in the men's K2, while Jess Walker will compete for a medal in the women's K1.
Great Britain's synchronised swimmers finished an honourable sixth in their first-ever venture into the Olympic competition.
"We've shown how strong we are and we've improved so much. It stands us in good stead for the future," said Katie Skelton, 24, of the debutantes' performance.
In the women's 4 x 100m relay, the American team won gold and broke a world record that has been held by the now disgraced East German athletes since 1985. It was the last of the East German world records still standing.
The American quartet ran 40.82, knocking nearly three tenths of a second off the record. "We didn't just beat it, we smashed it. We smashed it!" said Carmelita Jeter.
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