Liam Heath claims bronze in canoe sprint and GB women set new national record in 4x100m relay heats - everything you missed overnight

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·33-min read
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Liam Heath claims bronze in canoe sprint and GB women set new national record in 4x100m relay heats - everything you missed overnight -  PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Liam Heath claims bronze in canoe sprint and GB women set new national record in 4x100m relay heats - everything you missed overnight - PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH

In the end, Liam Heath could not match Adam Peaty, Giles Scott, Hannah Mills and Max Whitlock and retain the Olympic title he won in Rio. He came third in the canoe sprint, a result he took with laudable generosity. There were no histrionics, no hissy fits, he got out of his canoe and slapped the winner, the Hungarian Sandor Totka, and the silver medallist, Manfredi Rizza of Italy, generously on the back.

“The journey has been so incredibly long, so incredibly tough, there have been ups and downs, and I am happy where I have landed,” he said, after he had kissed his bronze medal on the podium. "The race could have gone a little bit better for me, but at the end of the day it is what it is and I am happy with the medal around my neck.”

The fact was he knew he was in trouble the moment he got off to a slow start, caught slightly off balance by the strong headwind, pushed to the back of the starting platform he described as a “bucket”. Because in the splash dash of 200metres hurtling across the waters of the Tokyo rowing lake, a bad start can prove fatal to gold ambitions. Especially against contenders of Totka’s ability. The Hungarian led from start to finish, leaving the rest to sort out the minor positions.

"I had no idea,” Heath said when asked if he had realised he had recovered sufficiently across the latter stages of the course to finish in the medal positions. “I very rarely do. You don't want to start screaming and celebrating prematurely. You have to wait for the scoreboard.”

Liam Heath was overjoyed with his bronze - PAUL GROVER
Liam Heath was overjoyed with his bronze - PAUL GROVER

And the scoreboard indicated how close it had been. While Totka was the clear winner, a cigarette paper had been required to sort out the gap between second and fifth: Heath took 35.202 seconds to complete his race, Rizza, the silver medallist who he so heartily slapped on the back, 35.080.

Mind, even if his gesture was delivered in generosity, you must know when you have been slapped by Liam Heath. His is a discipline of almost insane muscular requirements, the ultimate in power sports, the entire body engaged in a ferocious attack on the forces of nature, pulling against the drag of the water. Looking along the line up at the start was like watching the finalists in the Mr Universe competition; their forearms bulged like Jack Grealish’s calves.

The races were taking place on the rowing lake, built into an old dock, an arrow straight stretch of water, flanked by the magnificent span of the dinosaur-like Tokyo Gate Bridge. Heath had earlier in the morning qualified for the final in another ferocious bit of paddling. There was barely time to cool down, before he was off again.

And, unlike in Rio where he was the outsider in a sport traditionally dominated by the eastern Europeans, in Tokyo he was the man they all wanted to beat.

"It’s a completely different experience,” he said of racing as the title holder. “As much as you try to push it to the back of your mind, coming into an event as a defending champion with everyone looking at you is very much there. In your mind, you try and keep focused on what you want to achieve. I've had challenges with doing that, but at the end of the day I managed to sort my head. It is a bit of a mental game."

 LIAM HEATH 200M SPRINT CANOE - PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH
LIAM HEATH 200M SPRINT CANOE - PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Now he will have a different sort of mental game: working out over the next few weeks whether he wants to commit to going again in Paris. There are plenty of reasons to think he had completed his Olympic engagement. Not least that he is about to turn 37 and is already Britain's most decorated Olympic canoeist (in addition to the gold he won in 2016 and his bronze here, he won bronze in 2012 and a silver in Rio in the no-longer raced category of the two man sprint).

“It’s a decision that’s got to be made between me, my family, and everyone at home in terms of the commitment that they put in and the support behind you,” he said of competing in Paris. “It’s a unique position to be in, because it’s just another three years. It seems to be just around the corner.” But before making his choice, he had a gift for his daughter, Sarah-Rose.

“I think she’ll have her eye on this fella, he’s definitely going to her,” he said, showing off the toy Olympic mascot, complete with a couple of plastic sunflowers coming out of its head, that all the medallists receive in Tokyo. “She turns four next month but hopefully when she’s older she can understand everything that I’ve been through and the family have been through and she will be proud.”

Then she might then give her dad a slap on the back. He deserves one.

British marathon swimmer feared he had 'lost an eye' in 10km open water swim

Britain’s Hector Pardoe endured a painful marathon 10km swim as an elbow to his right eye forced him to withdraw from the race.

The 20 year old was in 13th place when he received a blow in the water that was initially strong enough to knock his goggles off his face and then painful enough for him to fear he had lost an eye.

“On the last lap I took an elbow to the face. I thought I’d lost an eye, my goggles came off completely. I couldn't see a thing. I didn't realize how bad it was. It was all blurry in my eye and I was saying ‘my eye, my eye’,” Pardoe said.

“I had to get out after that. It’s bleeding everywhere. Anyone who says open water swimming isn’t a contact sport, it is.”

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While Pardoe was getting over the pain in his eye and early exit Florian Wellbrock was putting in one of the Tokyo Games’ most dominant performances.

The German was in the lead from about 200 metres and from there he controlled the race in such a composed and classy manner.

Essentially leading from start to finish, the 23-year-old German blew away the field to win by the largest margin in the history of the Olympic 10-kilometre marathon at sweltering Tokyo Bay.

Wellbrock pulled off the pool-open water double, adding to the bronze he won Sunday in the 1,500 freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

"A little bit unreal," he said. "The first seven (kilometres) of this race felt really easy. My competitors had to work really hard behind me."

Wellbrock took off like a sprinter at the start, was up front most of the way and blew away everyone at the end to win by 25.3 seconds.

For comparison's sake, the 2016 men's marathon was decided by less than a second.

Florian Wellbrock was hugely impressive as he won the men's marathon swimming race - AP
Florian Wellbrock was hugely impressive as he won the men's marathon swimming race - AP

Dina Asher-Smith returns to track in record-breaking form

Dina Asher-Smith made a welcome return to the track to help Britain’s 4x100m team to a national record in Thursday morning’s heats.

On Saturday a tearful Asher-Smith revealed she had torn her hamstring earlier this summer but ran with the injury last week, failing to reach the 100m final before pulling out of the 200m.

But back on the track she helped the relay team to a time of 41.55 seconds. That was enough to see her, Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Asher-Smith and individual 100m finalist Daryll Neita qualify as fastest for Friday’s final, almost half a second quicker than the next best - the United States.

The time took 0.22sec off Britain’s previous best set when winning bronze at the Rio Olympics.

After the impressive run Asher-Smith - who ran a good, powerful third leg - said once she had pulled out of the 200m her focus was firmly set on the relay.

Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita celebrate their new national record - REUTERS
Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita celebrate their new national record - REUTERS

“After the 100m I did say there was no way I wasn’t going to be here for the 4x100m girls,” said Asher-Smith, who tore her hamstring at the British Championships. “I only had one day off, then I got back on the training track.

“Essentially, all I need is a few more weeks and sessions. [My coach] was saying if I had a few more days it would have been the 100m final, another week and it would have been 10.8sec.

“It’s one of those things where I’m chasing times. Give me a few more training sessions and I’ll be closer to where I’m used to being. There was no way I wasn’t going to be here.”

The men’s quartet qualified by coming second in their heat. They ran a season's best of 38.02 secs, behind Jamaica who ran 37.82secs.

Afterwards they said the good run would hopefully be a springboard to better things in the final

Richard Kilty said: ”We have been working on this a lot. It is great to be out here. Much more to come, we have to step up if we want to get gold and we are capable of that.”

Hansle Parchment shocks Grant Holloway in 110m hurdles and US men embarrassed in 4x100m relay

Elsewhere on the track several golds were handed out with two big shocks and one obvious result that came to fruition.

The first shock took place when Hansle Parchment beat world champion Grant Holloway in the 110 metres hurdles final.

Holloway had not lost a hurdles race since August last year and was the overwhelming favourite.The 23-year-old burst out of the blocks and looked set for gold until losing momentum over the final two hurdles.

Parchment surged past him to win in a season-best time of 13.04 seconds to add gold to his bronze from London 2012.

Holloway came home in 13.09 to take silver with Jamaican Ronald Levy third in 13.10.

Parchment was stunned to have toppled Holloway, saying: "The greatest feeling, the greatest feeling, I've worked so hard. It's unbelievable that I caught this guy."

Britain's Andrew Pozzi finished in seventh.

Jamaica's Hansle Parchment (L) crosses the finish line to win ahead of second-placed USA's Grant Holloway (R) and third-placed Ronald Levy  - AFP
Jamaica's Hansle Parchment (L) crosses the finish line to win ahead of second-placed USA's Grant Holloway (R) and third-placed Ronald Levy - AFP

The other big shock was the failure of the United States’ 4x100m relay team to make the final. The American quartet finished back in sixth place in the second heat and will not battle it out for gold on Friday.

While not nearly as strong as the United States’ heralded relay teams of the past they were still fancied for a medal and American sprinting royalty Carl Lewis hit out at the poor performance of the current batch of sprinters.

The Olympics legend took to Twitter to say: “The USA team did everything wrong in the men's relay. The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership. It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU (American Association of Universities) kids I saw.”

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The cast-iron certainty saw the United States’ Ryan Crouser retain his shot put title, breaking his own Olympic record three times in the final and finishing with a mark of 23.30 metres.

He set the previous record of 22.52m at the Rio Games five years ago when he won the title.

His compatriot Joe Kovacs took silver and Tomas Walsh of New Zealand claimed bronze with a season's best mark of 22.47. The final results mirrored the 2016 final.

Medal table latest - where do Team GB now sit?
Day 13 overnight - as it happened:

04:30 AM

Australia's Keegan Palmer makes history

As he becomes the first men's park skateboarding Olympic champion.

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04:09 AM

The USA relay fallout continues

Carl Lewis has already voiced his opinion (of course he has...) on the men's quartet not making the 4x100m relay final and now it's becoming clear that they didn't really sign up to the whole 'practice makes perfect thing...

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04:04 AM

Nelly Korda is red hot right now

The USA golfer heads the leaderboard in the women's event after a blistering five-hole stretch that saw her shoot six-under.

She's now on 10-under through ten in her second round.

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03:53 AM

Back to Hector Pardoe's eye

Earlier this morning British marathon swimmer Hector Pardoe was forced to withdraw from the 10km open water race due to being on the receiving end of a a fellow swimmer's elbow.

The 20 year old thought he'd lost an eye and was initially in some distress. If you think he was exaggerating then have a look at this...

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03:45 AM

Pedro Pichardo's 17.98 metres

Was enough to see the Portuguese win the triple jump gold.

China's Yamming Zhu took the silver, while Hugues Fabrice Zango won Burkina Faso's first ever Olympic medal with bronze.

Pedro Pichardo hopped, skipped and jumped his way to gold  - AFP
Pedro Pichardo hopped, skipped and jumped his way to gold - AFP

03:39 AM

A bit more on the GB men's 4x100m

The men's quartet qualified by coming second in the first heat. They ran a season's best of 38.02 secs, behind Jamaica who ran 37.82secs.

Afterwards they said the good run would hopefully be a springboard to better things in the final

Zharnel Hughes said...

"I am happy to be here. We are into the finals and greater things can happen for us."

Richard Kilty said...

"We have been working on this a lot. It is great to be out here. Much more to come, we have to step up if we want to get gold and we are capable of that."

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake said...

"We all have to raise our game. We are here for gold. We regroup and go again."

The GB men's 4x100m relay team Chijindu Ujah, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake  - GETTY IMAGES
The GB men's 4x100m relay team Chijindu Ujah, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake - GETTY IMAGES

03:34 AM

No shock here

Ryan Crouser has done it again. The Rio 2016 shot put champion defends his title as he throws 23.30 to smash his own Olympic record.

Ryan Crouser decides to go with national stereo type and celebrates by wearing a cowboy hat - AP
Ryan Crouser decides to go with national stereo type and celebrates by wearing a cowboy hat - AP

03:25 AM

BIG (as in well worth the Caps Lock) shock

In the men's 4x100m heats.

The USA are out...yes, I know it's early in the morning and you may understandably think your eyes are deceiving you BUT they are not. You read that correctly, the USA are out.

They finished back in into sixth place in the second heat and will not make the final. While not nearly as strong as the USA's heralded relay teams of the past they were still fancied for a medal.

The early exit earned the scorn of US sprinting royalty Carl Lewis (a man who is never short of an opinion or two, to be fair...)

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03:15 AM

Liam Heath speaks...

On winning medals at three Olympics...

"It's hard to put into words, it's what you're working towards, to be at your best for these events and I've learned so much along my journey. You learn more about yourself, your competitors and the people you work with day in, day out. It's them working tirelessly behind the scenes which provides the support for me to be able to achieve my dreams."

On winning the bronze rather than gold...

"A massive thanks to everybody that's watching at home. Not quite the gold, but I'm happy with my performance so I hope you guys can be happy too.

On whether he'll retire...

"My future is something I have to think about a lot more seriously now, it's a joint decision for me, my wife and my whole family because of the effort that goes into each cycle. It's only a few years away now, it'll be a short cycle to Paris."

Liam Heath 
Liam Heath

03:06 AM

One, two, three

Hansle Parchment (L) crosses the finish line to win ahead of second-placed USA's Grant Holloway (R) and third-placed Jamaica's Ronald Levy (C) in the men's 110m hurdles final  - AFP
Hansle Parchment (L) crosses the finish line to win ahead of second-placed USA's Grant Holloway (R) and third-placed Jamaica's Ronald Levy (C) in the men's 110m hurdles final - AFP

03:05 AM

Andrew Pozzi on his 7th

“I came here wanting to win a medal so it’s a disappointment. It’s been a tough 12 months as it has been for everyone. I’ve had a couple of injures, it’s not quite where I want to be. I am proud of the progress I am making. I’ll keep rolling on and keep building."

03:00 AM

Gold for Jamaica's Hansle Parchment

That's a big shock as he beats Grant Holloway who looked hot favourite through 65 metres. The American got the silver with another Jamaican Ronald Levy taking the bronze.

Pozzi is seventh.

02:57 AM

Andrew Pozzi in the 110m hurdles final now

He's had his injury worries and has done well to get to the final. Can he snatch a medal?

02:48 AM

Bronze for Liam Heath

Totka dominated from the start and deservedly won the Olympic title.

It was a tight finish with Heath being just pipped to silver by Italy's Manfredi Rizza.

  1. Sandor Totka

  2. Manfredi Rizza

  3. Liam Heath

02:45 AM

No double Olympic gold for Liam Heath

Sandor Totka of Hungary wins gold...Liam Heath paid for his poor start BUT still gets the bronze.

02:43 AM

Heath trying to come back into it

Totka from Hungary leads.

02:43 AM

They're off in the K1 200m final

Heath has been struggling with his starts and it's another bad start for the Briton.

02:41 AM

Liam Heath going for gold in a moment

Can the sprint canoeist defend the 200m title he won in Rio? He's been the dominant force in K1 class.

The one man who can upset his party is Hungary's Sandor Totka.

Liam Heath
Liam Heath

02:35 AM

There's an Olympic record in the shot put

The USA's Ryan Crouser claimed the record with his first attempt with 22.83.

He's the world record holder and defending champion so it's no shock at all to see the American casually get off to a great start.

02:32 AM

Lois Toulson also makes the final

Of the women's 10m platform diving event. The Briton scored 62.40 with her last dive and she too has a 'Q' next to her name with some still to perform their final dive.

The British duo will go for medals in the final which begins at 7am in the UK.

Lois Toulson
Lois Toulson

02:28 AM

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix is just 16 years old

But she's already made it to an Olympic final. Her final dive in the women's 10m platform semi final scored an impressive 67.20 and she already has a 'Q' next to her name.

What a bright prospect she is.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

02:24 AM

The triple jump final is under way

Peurto Rico's Pedro Pichardo leads early on with a jump of 17.61m. American duo, Will Claye and Donald Scott are in second and third with jumps of 17.19m and 17.15m respectively.

There is a long way to go, though.

USA's Will Claye lies in second early on in the Triple Jump - GETTY IMAGES
USA's Will Claye lies in second early on in the Triple Jump - GETTY IMAGES

02:18 AM

One round of dives to go

In the women's 10m platform semi final.

Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix are 9th and 10th with the top 10 making it through to the final.

02:16 AM

Bit of a howler this...

Of all the countries to mistakenly call them...

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02:14 AM

A reminder of what happened in the relay

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02:12 AM

Lois Toulson is getting better

At just the right time - she was in 12th after the last round (only the top 12 make it to the final) and she's just scored 72 with her fourth of five dives.

Lois Toulson 
Lois Toulson

02:03 AM

Deborah Kerr fails to make the K1 500m canoeing final

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02:02 AM

Lois Toulson needs more dives like this

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01:59 AM

After the third round

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix is in 8th place on 187.60 and Lois Toulson is back in 12th on 176.70. The top 12 make it to the final.

The women's diving 10m platform semi final, however is being dominated by Chinese pair Hongchan Quan and Yuxi Chen - they are in first and second on the huge scores of 253.35 and 250.85

Hongchan Quan leads in the Women's 10m Platform semi final - GETTY IMAGES
Hongchan Quan leads in the Women's 10m Platform semi final - GETTY IMAGES

01:50 AM

Great third dive from Lois Toulson

She so needed that - she scores 67.20 and that should see her back into the top 12 which is all she needs to do to make the final.

01:41 AM

After two rounds in the diving

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix is in 8th place on 130.30 and Lois Toulson is back in 15th on 109.50.

The top 12 make it through to the final later today

Lois Toulson needs to improve to make sure she makes the top 12 in the women's diving 10m platform semifinal - AP
Lois Toulson needs to improve to make sure she makes the top 12 in the women's diving 10m platform semifinal - AP

01:37 AM

Skateboarding can be a dangerous sport

If you're a cameraman...

Australian skateboarder Kieran Woolley took out a poor cameraman during a routine in the men's park preliminaries.

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01:30 AM

Lois Toulson goes again in the women's 10m platform diving semi final

She was fifth after the first round, but that wasn't her best as she went over the vertical on landing. She scores just 42.

01:27 AM

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix has completed her second jump

In the women's 10m platform diving semi final. After her good first dive of 63.00, she scores 67.20. That should move her up from 10th position - she's looking good for a place in the final.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix 
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

01:19 AM

Dina Asher-Smith speaks...

“It was essential [I ran today] there was never any doubt I wouldn’t run. The relay is important, we got bronze in Rio, these ladies are in great shape and so talented - so knew I would be here today. I've been training hard and was ready."

Team GB's victorious quartet of Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith, Imani Lansiquot and Daryll Neita - GETTY IMAGES
Team GB's victorious quartet of Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith, Imani Lansiquot and Daryll Neita - GETTY IMAGES

01:04 AM

Great Britain into the final with a win!

Great changes and serious speed sees GB's quartet of Asher-Smith, Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot and Daryll Neita win in 41.55 seconds which is a new British record!

Asher-Smith looked good on her leg, she ran a good bend, confident and seemingly not affected by the hamstring injury.

USA came second and Jamaica, after some horrible changeovers were back in third.

12:59 AM

Dina Asher-Smith

Will be on the third leg for GB.

12:59 AM

They're on the track...

So you suspect it will be Jamaica plus at lest two others from Heat 1...

12:58 AM

In the 4x100m heats...

...the first 3 in each heat and the next 2 fastest of the rest advance to the final.

Objective No.1, don't drop the baton...

12:54 AM

A reminder of Asher-Smith's Games so far

She was the Team GB's figurehead ahead of these Olympics but a torn hamstring destroyed her chances of individul glory.

"A devastated Dina Asher-Smith on Saturday night abandoned her hopes of winning an individual Olympic title after revealing a torn hamstring was to blame for her crashing out of the 100-metre semi-finals.

Asher-Smith broke down in tears as she confirmed she was pulling out of next week's 200m sprint event, where she was among the favourites for gold, explaining that she had initially been told she would not even be able to compete in Tokyo after being diagnosed with a full hamstring rupture suffered while winning the British 100m title at the end of June."

READ: Dina Asher-Smith breaks down in tears on TV as hamstring tear wrecks her Tokyo 2020 Olympics dream

12:43 AM

Great news: Dina Asher Smith is back

She has been named in Team GB's 4x100m relay lineup for the heats in 20 minutes.

Asher-Smith tore her hamstring earlier this month but ran with the injury last week and failed to reach the 100m final before pulling out of the 200m.

She, alongside Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot and Daryll Neita, will take on the USA and red-hot favourites Jamaica in heat one coming up.

Dina Asher Smith
Dina Asher Smith

12:38 AM

This is pure power on the water

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12:33 AM

Liam Heath is in the final

It wasn't the sharpest of starts BUT in a tight race he was safely in the top four. The results are just coming up now and he came second. He was a second slower than yesterday.

12:31 AM

Liam Heath is now in the semi final of the K1 200m

He's defending his sprint canoeing title so it shouldn't be much of a problem...but he looked in good form in the heats...

Liam Heath
Liam Heath

12:21 AM

A 10km swim in open water has many potential pitfalls

Fatigue, cramp and possible drowning are just three of them and that's before you even think about what exactly you're swimming in (luckily you cannot get weil's disease in salt water, fresh water however...) But if you're in the 10km Olympic final then you can add 'elbows and feet to the face' to that horrible list.

Here's another pic of Hector Pardoe following his injury in what he calls a 'contact sport'.

Pardoe - BBC
Pardoe - BBC

12:11 AM

Here's that remarkable Hector Pardoe interview

For you to watch...

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11:58 PM

Hector Pardoe thought he'd lost an eye

Team GB's marathon swimmer had to withdraw from the 10km open swim due to being on the wrong end of an elbow to the face.

It was a bad injury and here is the 20 year old on what happened...

"It's not what I expected from the start. It was really warm conditions, not what I'm used to and I started to panic when I saw that a top-five finish was over. On the last lap I took an elbow to the face. I thought I’d lost an eye, my goggles came off completely, I couldn’t see anything and I was saying ‘my eye, my eye'. I had to get out after that. It’s bleeding everywhere. Anyone who says open water swimming isn’t a contact sport, it is”

On what he needs to do going forward...

"I am going to get more experience under my belt, come back in three years time and try win in Paris.”

Hector Pardoe
Hector Pardoe

11:41 PM

Meanwhile on the fairways

Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom sits on top of the leaderboard in the women’s golf. She’s got off to a fine start in her second round and is two-under through two to lead on seven-under.

India’s Aditi Ashokis is one-under for the day and five-under overall to lie in second. Nelly Korda of the USA and one of the favourites to take the gold is yet to get her round under way and is third on four-under.

GB's Mel Reid is on two-over but yet to get her second round started.

Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom is currently leading in the hunt for gold in the women's golf - AFP
Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom is currently leading in the hunt for gold in the women's golf - AFP

11:26 PM

Update on Hector Pardoe

The 20-year-old Briton was hit in the head with a stray elbow (which can happen in open water swimming...) and that is why he had to withdraw after 8kms.

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11:24 PM

Wellbrock is in the history books

As, having won the bronze in the men's 1,500m freestyle on Saturday has become the second athlete to win a medal in swimming and marathon swimming at a single Olympic Games, after Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli won gold in marathon swimming and bronze in the men’s 1,500m freestyle in 2012.

Wellbrock 
Wellbrock

11:20 PM

Florian Wellbrock takes the gold

Wow - that was so dominant. The German has blown away the field, he's been in control from the start - that's as good a swim as you are likely to see in open water.

Hungary's Kristof Rasovsky wins silver from Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri who wins the bronze.

11:16 PM

Wellbrock has been imperious

There must have only been 200 metres where the German hasn't been in the lead, and he's increasing the gap between him and the rest of the field. He's destroyed everyone - this is seriously impressive.

11:10 PM

Hector Pardoe has withdrawn

It's a huge shame but it's very hot and he's young, just 20 years old. In three years time he'll be better for this experience.

11:08 PM

Wellbrock has gone

And he's gone decisively.

Kristof Rasovsky of Hungary is now second and Gregorio Paltrinieri is third, Wellbrock has taken 10 seconds off the Italian in the past 300 metres.

The German is so impressive and so in control.

11:04 PM

Hector Pardoe is in...

...13th place, nearly three minutes back of Wellbrock.

Here's a stat, Pardoe swims 90km a week in training - I bet he has no problem falling asleep every night...

10:59 PM

Wellbrock is at 8km

And he's opened up two bodies length gap and it still looks as though he's got another gear left in him. He's lifting his head up every now and again to check where his rivals are. He said he'd look to speed up at 8km and it seems that's what he's done.

Wellbrock 
Wellbrock

10:54 PM

Wellbrock is still leading

And there's still clear water between him and the swimmer in second who is Marc-Antoine Olivier. Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri is in third.

Hector Pardoe is in 13th, roughly two minutes behind the lead group.

10:48 PM

Florian Wellbrock is an impressive athlete

Clearly with energy to burn as having won bronze in the men's 1,500m freestyle on Saturday, is currently in the lead in this marathon swim

Should he stay in the lead he'd become the second athlete to win a medal in swimming and marathon swimming at a single Olympic Games, after Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli won gold in marathon swimming and bronze in the men’s 1,500m freestyle in 2012.

10:45 PM

So we're 6.5km through the swim

And Hector Pardoe is down in 20th place, a minute and 30 seconds or so down on the leaders. Who are...

Florian Wellbrock (Germany) is in the lead, four seconds ahead of Hungary's Kristof Rasovszky and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Marc-Antoine Olivier from France.

Florian Wellbrock out in the lead on his own - so far  - REUTERS
Florian Wellbrock out in the lead on his own - so far - REUTERS

10:40 PM

As with basically every event these Games

It's hot...

If the water temperature is 32 degrees then they cannot swim. When they started the water temp was about 28 degrees and it's probably about 30 now, according to the BBC commentary team. So the need to take on drinks during the swim is very important. The beverages are only just above freezing so as to cool the body down.

Have you ever tried to drink and swim at the same time? I'll level with you - I haven't...

Drinks time during the 10km swim - REUTERS
Drinks time during the 10km swim - REUTERS

10:37 PM

A brutal event

There are currently 26 swimmers taking on a 10km swim in Tokyo's Odaiba Marine Park, which seems to put it mildly a tad excessive and exhausting.

It’s very hot out there so they need to take on fluids - so not only do you have to deal with flailing limbs and a very long swim but you also have to pay attention to make sure you don't take someone else's drink when you come in to 'feed', as it's known in the sport.

It’s as much an examination of spotting your coach with your bottle of fluid (which is just above freezing) as it is of your stamina to swim 10kms in bath-hot water.

10:23 PM

A marathon swim

Today sees the men’s 10km marathon swimming race take place just 24 hours after Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won gold in the women's race at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing the race a touch faster than the pack.

Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, who was looking to defend her title from the 2016 Games in Rio, took silver with a finishing time less than a second behind Cunha, and Kareena Lee of Australia claimed bronze.

"I didn't plan it to happen this way, but I'm extremely happy," said Cunha, sporting a shock of fluorescent green and yellow hair perfectly colour coordinated with her Brazilian uniform.

Cunha has five individual world championship titles to her name but had failed to win any medals at the Olympic Games.

The swimmers cut through the water of Odaiba Marine Park, with clouds sitting low in a blue sky at times providing welcome shade from the blazing sun.

With barely any wind and little current, the race became a show of endurance and tactics in the warm water as temperatures rose.

German Leonie Beck was leading with one lap to go, until the athletes started fanning out to overtake one another, repositioning themselves for gold.

It was Cunha who powered to the front and swam the best line at a turn with just over a kilometre remaining, taking a lead that she refused to concede until the end.

"The water is quite warm, and I knew this would be a problem for people at the end" if they didn't stay hydrated, said van Rouwendaal.

She tactically hung back earlier in the race, but could not catch up to Cunha in the last lap.

"It was more like a safe choice to maybe get the medal... I think it was my best result for hot water," she said.

The men’s race has got under way in hot conditions at the Odaiba Marine Park with Team GB’s Hector Pardoe going for one of the medal’s having won the Olympic qualifier in Portugal to book his place.

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