After a year’s delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally under way and there’s already been plenty of action involving Team GB in Japan.
Sir Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury marked themselves out as medal contenders with a brilliant first-round performance in the men’s doubles at the Ariake Tennis Park.
The pair had a tough draw against second seeds and Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut but they brushed the French pair aside in a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
The Tokyo Olympics are finally under way and there has been plenty of Team GB action already
Salisbury and Murray had never played a match together before but the former is Britain’s best doubles player while Murray also has plenty of experience in the format.
Murray suffered a first week exit at Wimbledon last month but played some spellbinding tennis, and is looking to add to his two Gold medals won in men’s singles competition in London and Rio.
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski were the final British players on court for the day and they saved a match point in a nail-biting 6-7 (3) 6-4 13-11 victory over Argentinians Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos.
Sir Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury laid down an early marker after beating top contenders
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski also advanced in a nail-biting clash with Argentine rivals
Murray and Skupski were regular partners until the end of last year, when Murray decided to rekindle his partnership with Bruno Soares, and he was a late substitute for the Olympics after Dan Evans tested positive for coronavirus.
Murray and Skupski found themselves 3-1 down in the second set and staring at an early exit, but turned the match around before edging the tightest of tie-breaks.
In the road race, Adam Yates came closest to medalling but was outsprinted at the last, while Geraint Thomas was forced to make an early exit after crashing again.
The Welshman suffered the same fate in Brazil five years ago and could not move out of the way after Team GB team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart’s front wheel came off 70 kilometres into the race.
Geraint Thomas suffered heartbreak in the road race after crashing out on Mount Fuji
The 35-year-old bemoaned his bad luck after his team-mate front wheel fell off in front of him
‘All good with me. Thanks for the messages!! Think I must have done something bad in a previous life,’ Thomas tweeted to his 482,000 followers.
‘Freak crash, Tao lost his front wheel and decked it in front of me. I had nowhere to go, other than the floor as well’.
Max Whitlock began his Gold medal defence strongly in the qualifying rounds of artistic gymnastics and eased through to the men’s pommel final on his return to Olympic competition in Tokyo.
Whitlock scored 14.9, ranking him in third place in the standings in the penultimate qualifying rotation, which guaranteed his qualification for the eight-man individual final.
The Briton’s two-year-old daughter Willow wished her dad ‘Good Luck’ and shouted ‘Go GB’ in a heart-moving home video, recorded by his wife Leah at the family home in Essex early this morning.
Max Whitlock launched his gold medal defence with a strong showing on the pommel
Elsewhere, Britain’s title defence in the men’s eight got off to a rocky start in Tokyo on Saturday, as the Netherlands scored a stunning victory to force the reigning European Champions into Wednesday’s repechage.
Making her Olympic debut, 24-year-old coxswain Eline Berger guided the Dutch men’s crew to a stellar 5:30.66 performance, seizing the early lead as heavily favoured Britain struggled to hit their stride and finished third behind New Zealand.
It was not all doom and gloom for Britain’s rowing teams, however.
The men’s four, which has picked up gold at the last five Games, and the lightweight women’s double sculls crews advanced, along with two-time Olympic champion Helen Glover and team mate Polly Swann in the coxless pair, months after Glover made a surprise a return to elite rowing.
‘It wasn’t our perfect row but I guess there’s value in learning in the early rounds,’ said Glover, 35, of their third-place finish on Saturday. ‘We’re open to what’s going to come next.’
The Great Britain men’s eight crew will have to race again in Wednesday’s repechage after finishing only third in their heat on Saturday as the Olympic rowing events got underway
Helen Glover (left) says there’s more to come as she launched her bid for a third gold medal
Glover is bidding to win her third Olympic gold medal and clocked in behind Australia and the Russian Olympic Committee.
Charlotte Fry had an Olympic Games debut to savour as she cruised into the individual dressage final at Tokyo’s Equestrian Park.
The 25-year-old, whose late mother Laura rode for Britain in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, topped her qualifying group with Everdale on a score of 77.096 per cent.
Two riders from each of six groups – plus the next six-best finishers – will contest Wednesday’s individual final.
And Fry’s outstanding performance also meant a strong start to British team hopes, with Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester completing a powerful trio.
Charlotte Fry had an Olympics debut to savour as she cruised into the individual dressage final
Karriss Artingstall advanced to the last-16 of the women’s featherweight competition in boxing
The Briton defeated Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi of Botswana via unanimous decision
Karriss Artingstall made a fantastic debut in boxing, advancing to the last-16 of the women’s featherweight competition after defeating Keamogetse Sadie Kenosi of Botswana via unanimous decision.
Paul Drinkhall eased through his opening round of the men’s singles in table tennis after seeing off Nima Alamian of Iran 4-1 to make it to round two, while Tin Tin Ho was eliminated by India’s Manika Batra.
Seonaid McIntosh fell short in the women’s 10 metre air rifle after missing out on qualification with her 60th and final shot off target.
McIntosh, who will return as the favourite for the 50m three positions category next Saturday, said: ‘The last couple of shots weren’t great, but I am pleased with how I performed. I struggled a bit with fatigue and the heat.’
It was a quarter final loss for Sarah Bettles and Patrick Huston in the archery after the pair lost out to their Mexican opponents in the mixed event.
Meanwhile, Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith cruised through in their first group game in badminton mixed doubles after defeating French pair Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue 21-18, 21-17.
There is plenty more to come today, with Team GB’s women’s team returning to action to face hosts Japan. Steph Houghton & Co. beat Chile earlier this week and take to the field at 11.30am BST.
Olympic champion Adam Peaty returns to the pool at 1pm BST to launch his defence in the 100m breaststroke heats. The men’s hockey team play South Africa in their opening group game at 10.30am BST.