Saturday, 28 July 2012

Slow start for Team GB

China have already raced to six medals, while the USA and Italy boast five each, but Team GB are yet to capture a single one in their quest to topple their 48-medal target.

It was a disappointing day overall, epitomised by a 29th placed finish for Mark Cavendish in the cycling road race. Sickeningly, it was the former drug cheat, Alexandre Vinokourov, who crossed the line first thanks to a horrendous error in the final 100m from Colombian Rigoberto Uran.
The strategy worked perfectly at the World Championships and the Tour de France, but unfortunately few others helped out this time around, as Cavendish and co were not able to adapt.

Furthermore, there were problems of empty seats at venues from the Aquatic Centre to the North Greenwich Park, which depleted atmospheres at some events. When Team GB needs all the help it can get from home support, it is disappointing that spaces reserved for “members of the Olympic family” – whoever they are – were not taken.

However, there were glimmers of hope in the men’s gymnastics, table tennis and women’s football. Team GB reached the final of the men’s team gymnastics for the first time in modern history as they finished third overall in qualifying behind heavyweights China and the USA.

Individually, Max Whitlock and Louis Smith will both appear in the final of the pommel horse. Smith was particularly impressive and admitted the vociferous crowd helped him; his emotional reaction afterwards showed just how much it all meant. Meanwhile, Kristian Thomas reached the finals of both the vault and the all-round categories, with Dan Purvis also joining him in the latter.

In the table tennis singles, as Joanna Parker and Paul Drinkhall moved into the second round of their respective events, while the women’s footballers saw off Cameroon 3-0 as they secured qualification for the quarter finals.

Tomorrow, we have many more of today’s sports as well as seeing our men's basketballers for the first time, Ben Ainslee in the sailing and also the water polo side (anything close to the drama of the Roses match would be perfect).

I’m confident that Team GB will reach their medal target and that these Olympic Games will be one of the greatest ever. Let’s hope the today’s problems serve as a wake-up call for the organisers and that our athletes can shake off their understandable nerves.

Stay tuned to The Bradders Blog for posts throughout the Olympics as well as York Vision for more in depth comment pieces. And most importantly, enjoy the action!

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