Team GB: Duncan Scott stays calm to qualify for 200m individual medley final
It was the morning after the morning before for Duncan Scott, who produced a composed swim to qualify for the men’s 200‑metre individual medley final, winning his semi-final 24 hours after the emotional rush of anchoring Great Britain’s 4x200m freestyle team to gold.
The Glasgow-born 24-year-old, an individual silver medallist in the 200m freestyle on Tuesday, could have been forgiven if all the action and excitement prompted a dip in performance. But that is exactly what he works to avoid.
“It’s about trying to keep quite neutral throughout the week. You do get carried away with some of the [races] and watching the teammates as well when they’ve been phenomenal. It’s something I’ve been able to do over the past three or four years and get better at it,” he said.
“I’ve learned not to make the highs too high and try to minimise the lows as well. At the end of the week, that’s when I enjoy myself and relax, but also look at how the week has gone and analyse every swim.
“I’ve done plenty of competitions with harder schedules. Europeans was a really good preparation for this, that was seven 200m races in around two or three days, I’ve trained for it. That’s me out of my toughest block now.”
Scott’s time of 1min 56.69sec was the second-fastest of the semi‑finals, behind Wang Shun of China. Michael Andrew, of the USA, and the home favourite Daiya Seto are expected to contend in the final on Friday.
James Wilby nurtured medal hopes in the 200m breaststroke but the 27-year-old finished sixth and Alys Thomas was seventh in the final of the women’s 200m butterfly. Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood qualified for the women’s 200m breaststroke final while Anna Hopkin will swim in the women’s 100m freestyle, qualifying in eighth place, but Freya Anderson missed out.
There was better news for Luke Greenbank in the men’s 200m backstroke. He was the second-fastest qualifier for Friday’s final and won his heat ahead of Ryan Murphy, the American reigning champion.
“There have been some inspiring performances and I really want to get in on that action and come away with a medal,” he said.
“Once [Adam Peaty] got that first medal it really boosted morale in the camp. Everyone’s really motivated, we all get behind each other and we really want to see each other do well. That’s had a huge impact on the more recent performances.”
Elsewhere, three solid rides put Kye Whyte into Friday’s BMX semi‑finals, alongside his female GB counterpart, Beth Schriever. Members of the Peckham club where Whyte began his career and his family will be watching and cheering on a big screen in the early hours of the morning.
Whyte said: “It was challenging, it was hot. The track is longer so it is more tiring, but it has been a good day. I would have liked to have done better, but it is good to get the nerves out of the way.”
The windsurfer Emma Wilson is guaranteed to pick up at least a bronze medal for Great Britain on Saturday. Wilson, the daughter of the former Olympic windsurfer Penny Wilson, has an insurmountable lead over fourth place going into the double‑points medal race at the weekend. Her tally of 34 puts her four points behind China’s Lu Yunxiu and two points ahead of third-placed Charline Picon of France.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said the 22-year-old, whose mother was a three-time world champion and represented Great Britain at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Tom Squires will start sixth overall in the men’s medal race.
In a rerun of the 2016 Rio Olympic final, the Netherlands avenged their defeat by Great Britain in their women’s hockey group match, winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Frederique Matla. The GB women can qualify for the quarter-finals in their match against Ireland on Saturday.
Great Britain’s men qualified for the hockey quarter-finals with a game to spare after fighting back to draw 2-2 against the Netherlands. Sam Ward struck twice during the closing minutes at Oi Hockey Stadium as Britain responded strongly to a 5-1 drubbing from Germany in their previous match.
The British super-heavyweight boxer Frazer Clarke was satisfied with his performance against Ukraine’s Tsotne Rogava. Clarke is hoping to continue his country’s proud record in amateur boxing’s blue riband division since the turn of the century, with Anthony Joshua and Audley Harrison having won gold, Joe Joyce silver and David Price bronze.
Clarke overcame the first hurdle, with four of the five judges giving him the verdict 30-27, while the other official scored the contest in Rogava’s favour 29-28. “I’d rate it as a six out of 10,” said Clarke. “There are a few more gears for me to get through first.”
The Commonwealth champion, who takes on France’s Mourad Aliev in the quarter-finals, was the last of Team GB’s boxers to get his campaign under way.
The golfer Paul Casey was proud to call himself an Olympian after a fruitful four-under-par 67 in the opening round of the men’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club. He finished the first day three shots ahead of his compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, with Austria’s Sepp Straka atop the leaderboard after a blemish-free 63 with eight birdies.
For Casey, though, merely stepping on to the course at Kawagoe in Saitama, about 20 miles from downtown Tokyo, was enough. “I just felt really proud, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in golf,” he said. “There was not an ounce of nerves, just 100% excitement.”
Casey recorded birdies at the 5th, 7th, 8th and 14th holes in his bogey‑free round. Shane Lowry finished alongside Fleetwood on 70 while Rory McIlroy sits on two under. The golf was hit on Sunday by the withdrawals of Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau due to Covid.