Jade Jones proves she can pack a punch too as GB win taekwondo gold
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 10 August 2012
Nicola Adams was not the only British woman to fight her way to Olympic glory yesterday.
Jade Jones, a 19-year-old from Flintshire, was last night celebrating Great Britain's third gold medal of the day after triumphing in the women's 57kg taekwondo.
She flung away her helmet in delight as the crowd erupted in joyous scenes after beating the Chinese competitor Hou Yozhuo in a closely fought contest. She is Britain's first Olympic taekwondo champion and her victory washed away some of the disappointment when Martin Stamper fell just short of bronze in the men's 68kg.
She said: "It still doesn't feel real, it feels crazy. I've dreamt about this for ages, and the crowd have just been amazing."
Earlier in the day Britain's women had laid claim to two other winners' medals – in dressage and boxing – but nobody epitomised the spirit of Olympian pluck more yesterday than Keri-Anne Payne as the sun beat down on the capital and thousands came out in anticipation of a twin glow from the sky and gold medals after a 24-hour fast on Wednesday.
After nearly two hours of exhausting aquatic combat in the Serpentine, during which she was hit repeatedly in the face by her opponents' flailing limbs, the 24-year-old Mancunian suffered the agony of finishing fourth by a matter of inches in the 10km swim. Cheered on by crowds standing 15 rows deep in Hyde Park, Payne lost out in the dying seconds as Hungarian Eva Risztov took gold.
The South Africa-born swimmer said: "It just seemed to be a pretty tough race, right from the start. It was a pretty violent race, actually." She said she now wanted "a bit of a break" from the 10km event.
British sailors Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell will have to wait until today for their showdown for gold with the Australians Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 dinghies after yesterday's race was postponed because of a lack of wind. In the 4x400m relay heats Jack Green produced a remarkable third leg, turning third place into a lead which saw Team GB secure a place in Saturday night's final. South Africa's "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius was reduced to a spectator in the same heat after compatriot Ofentse Mogawane was bundled off the track. But the squad was later restored to the final after a successful appeal.
Even by the standards of a sport renowned for its spectacular pile-ups, a succession of smashes on the BMX track brought home the risks of bruised – and broken – limbs run by its participants. Team GB's Liam Phillips won through to the semi-finals unscathed along with fellow Briton Shanaze Reade in the women's event.
Meanwhile, the British men's hockey team suffered a humiliating 9-2 defeat to the Netherlands in the hockey semi-final. They play for bronze against Australia tomorrow. In the women's football final at Wembly the USA defeated Japan 2-1.
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