Slingsby wins gold to break Australia’s 9 day drought
Tom Slingsby has broken Australia’s nine-day gold drought at the London Olympics with a command performance to win the Laser sailing class.
The world champion and world number one, Slingsby was at his tactical and competitive best to finish the 11-race event with 43 points from Pavlos Kontidis, with the first Olympic medal of any description for Cyprus on 59, and Sweden’s Rasmus Myrgren with 72 points.
The victory made up for the devastation of Beijing four years ago when Slingsby was also the world champion and world number one, but finished outside the top 20 in what he described as “my worst ever performance”.
Not so last night as Slingsby started what looms as an Olympics medal saviour for Australia by the talented sailing team.
The Elliott 6m match racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty are unbeaten; Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 class are both genuine gold medal chances; while Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have an unassailable lead in the 49ers.
At the velodrome, there was a bronze for Australian Shane Perkins in the men’s sprint won by Jason Kenny, Great Britain’s sixth cycling gold of the Games.
Arch-rivals Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain and Australian Anna Meares continue their battle for gold in the women’s sprint.
Australian Annette Edmondson is third on the women’s omnium points score after three events behind Great Britain’s Laura Trott and American Sarah Hammer.
The final three events are tonight.
On the track, a blistering start for Sally Pearson to open her gold campaign.
The world champion Australian made all her opponents sit up and take notice of her 12.57 in the qualifying round of the 100 hurdles. The next best were the Americans Lolo Jones 12.68, Kellie Wells 12.69, and Dawn Harper’s 12.75.
Australians Zoe Buckman (4.07.83) and Kaila McKnight (4.13.80) both qualified for the 1500 track semis. Ethiopia’s world number one ranked Abeba Aregawi was the fastest qualifier with 4.04.55.
But Jeff Riseley’s 1.46.99 wasn’t enough to qualify for the 800 semis. “I’m shattered, just two weeks ago I ran a 1.44,” was Riseley’s reaction.
Australian Ben Harradine qualified for the men’s discus final, but Dani Samuels finished 12th in her discus final.
Lauren Boden ran 56.66 in her 400 hurdles semi, well outside her PB, but was eventually DQ’d. “It was so draining, both physically and mentally,” was how Boden summed up her performance.
There were no Australian women in the 200 heats, where the three Americans Sanya Richards-Ross (22.48), Carmelita Jeter (22.65), and the effortless pocket-rocket Allyson Felix (22.71), looked good for the semis.
A disappointing 400 flat final from 19-year-old Australian Steve Solomon saw him finishing eighth in 45.14, with the gold going to Granada’s Kiran James with 45.94.
Belgium’s Borlee twins, Kevin and Jonathan, finished fifth and sixth with 44.81 and 44.83.
And even before Alana Boyd started her pole vault campaign last night, she was part of an enviable record. Along with pole vaulter father Ray, and track sprinter mother Denise, they are the first Australians as a family to represent at two Olympic Games each.
Alana finished 11th.
But the thunderous applause of the night at Olympic Park, with yet another 80,000 packing the stands, was reserved for Usain Bolt at his 100 gold medal presentation.
The greatest sprinter to ever don spikes was given sustained adulation worthy of his standing that sent chills up the spine.
Shooter Michael Diamond, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in his sixth Games, missed two of his last five shots in the trap final to be forced into a sudden-death shoot-off for bronze, which he lost as well to Fehaid Aldeehani, Kuwait’s first ever Olympic medal.
Very un-Diamond like for the Australian, who shot a world record possible of 125 in the qualifier.
Around the venues:
The Boomers are into the quarter finals of the men’s basketball after a nail-biting 82-80 win over Russia.
With 4.1 seconds left on the clock, Russia led 80-79, but Patty Mills wasn’t to be denied and he nailed a three-pointer off the rim with a second to go – a sensational finish.
The Australian men’s water polo team did a comprehensive 13-8 job on Greece to qualify for the quarters.
The Australian men’s volleyballers, the Volleyroos, upset Poland last night with a 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 25-11 victory. Despite the loss, Poland advance to the quarters, while the Volleyroos’ chances of qualifying with two wins and three losses rest with other results.
The Hockeyroos had to beat Argentina to qualify for the semis, but drew 0-0. So Argentina will play Great Britain for a place in the final.
And Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander qualified for the show jumping final.
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