THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES

Asher-Smith returns

Dina Asher-Smith is back. Already. And what a delight it is to see the smile back on her face. Just days after injury troubles left her in tears and pulling out of the 200m, the sprinter returned to the track and was one of the quartet who put in a national-record display.
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Hats off to Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot and Darryl Neita, with the trio combining with Asher-Smith to produce a time of 41.55 seconds to reach the 4x100m final on Friday.
"We are feeling incredibly confident going into the next round," Asher-Smith told Eurosport.

'We have another level' - Asher-Smith 'feels great' after Great Britain set national record

"We know that we have got another level when we are not up at four or five am.
"It's going to be so exciting to come out here tomorrow night and put on a great show."
The GB men’s quartet also reached the final with ease, with those heats producing a major shock as the US failed to qualify after finishing sixth.

‘Just slick’ – Rutherford backing GB after national record in heats

Boxing gold or silver for GB

A sixth boxing medal is on the horizon for Team GB. We knew that was the case when Galal Yafai reached the semis, but after a tense bout with Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov the Briton is through to Saturday’s flyweight final.
Yafai took it on a split decision 3:2, and now Carlo Paalam of the Philippines stands in Yafai’s way as he targets gold.

Bronze for Heath

It may not be the colour medal he wanted, but Liam Heath now has four Olympic medals in his collection after winning bronze in the men’s K1 200m final.
It is the last time we will see this event at the Olympics, and Rio 2016 champion Heath sealed his spot on the podium despite a slow start meaning he had plenty of ground to make up.
Sandor Totka held off a late surge from Manfredi Rizza to claim gold, and with that the European champion is the last-ever K1 200m winner at an Olympics – unless it gets reinstated after Paris 2024.

‘I almost lost an eye’

Not a quote you expect to read when it comes to marathon swimming, and certainly not an injury or outcome Britain’s Hector Pardoe would have wanted as he took to the warm waters of Tokyo Bay.
Chasing a top-10 finish, Pardoe was forced to abandon the 10km swim after a stray elbow left him with a cut above the eye, not too dissimilar to the one Frazer Clarke suffered in a sport where such injuries are far more common.
What’s worse is that Pardoe truly feared the worst, believing at one point he had lost an eye in the water…
“Then in the last lap, took an elbow to the face. I thought I lost the eye. My goggles came off completely. I always like to think whenever I get an injury I’d be able to finish the race, but the goggles completely fell off and I couldn’t even get them,” Pardoe told BBC.
“I couldn’t see anything, I thought my eye had fallen out in the water. I was going up to the lifeguard saying ‘My eye! My eye! Is it okay?’ They weren’t giving me a very precise opinion, then I had to get out after that.”

STILL TO COME

As we’ve said all week, so long as you’re reading this in the morning then there is very likely some track cycling on right now. The action started at 7.30am, and Katy Marchant will hope to navigate her way through to the keirin final, while Matthew Walls goes in the omnium.
There’s a chap called Jason Kenny too, an eight-time Olympic medallist apparently, who’s in sprint action this morning along with Jack Carlin. The sprint last-16 and quarter-finals are today, and you guessed it, the semi-finals and final are tomorrow.
On the track, the heptathlon and decathlon come to a conclusion just after 1pm, while before that you have the men’s 400m final at 1pm. There’s also the women’s pole vault final at 11am and the men’s 20km race walk from 8.30am.
Australia and USA go for bronze in the women’s football from 9am, while Australia and Belgium vie for men’s hockey gold at 11am.
There are also three karate golds on offer in the second session from 11.30am as the sport makes its Olympic debut. A men’s champion will be crowned in sport climbing, with the speed (9.30am) and bouldering (10.30am) coming before the lead final at 1.10pm.

HEROES AND MORE HEROES

Tom Daley has finished his cardigan and all that knitting was worth it. A heroic effort from the Olympic champion, with an end product that will leave fans wanting a replica no doubt – us included.
RyanCrouser defended his shot put crown and the American took advantage of his golden moment to write a message to his grandpa back home.
Remaining on the track, HansleParchment claimed a stunning win in the 110m men’s hurdles final, while PedroPichardo jumped a national record to claim gold for Portugal in the men’s triple jump.

OLYMPIC SPIRIT

What a moment for Burkina Faso, who join the Olympic medal club after Hugues Fabrice Zango claimed bronze in the men’s triple jump to win his nation’s first-ever medal.

EUROSPORT IN TOKYO

Whisper it, but Eurosport’s Greg Rutherford has a good feeling after the GB women reached the 4x100m final.
"It was just slick," Rutherford said from outside the Olympic Stadium.
“That's what you want in the relay, you want a slick, well-drilled team, and that is exactly what they were.
"I'm excited about this team. I don't think they have had a lot of time to practise since they have been out here, so to see them run that well and that well-drilled is really exciting
"I look at it and think could this maybe be the place where we get our gold medal on the track? You have the issue that the Jamaicans will come out with a full-strength team, but I've got a feeling. Maybe a dropped baton, or something happens - there is always drama in the Olympic Stadium!
"As long as the Brits can get that baton round as well as they did, and maybe slightly faster, it could be a fairytale end."
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