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Today at the Games: Wonder for Walls as Britain claim first Tokyo cycling gold

Today at the Games: Wonder for Walls as Britain claim first Tokyo cycling gold
© Reuters
Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault and Liam Heath in the canoe sprint K1 claimed bronze medals.

Matt Walls secured Britain’s first cycling gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics – and Team GB’s 50th medal of the Games overall – in the men’s omnium on Thursday.

Pole-vaulter Holly Bradshaw bagged a bronze to take the tally to 51 – equalling the mark set by Team GB at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Earlier in the day, Dina Asher-Smith made a dramatic return to the Games as Britain’s women’s 4×100 metres relay team set a national record to qualify for Friday’s final.

Canoe sprint star Liam Heath claimed bronze in the men’s K1 200m category, while flyweight boxer Galal Yafai is guaranteed at least a silver in the men’s flyweight final on Saturday.

Jack Carlin progressed to the semi-finals of the men’s sprint but Jason Kenny’s golden reign in the event – stretching back to London 2012 – is over after he was eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

Here, the PA news agency breaks down everything you need to know about Thursday’s action.

Omnium glory for Walls, but Kenny sprint reign is over

Walls ensured a successful end to the day’s track cycling programme with gold in the men’s omnium. The Oldham rider jointly led alongside Jan Willem Van Schip and Benjamin Thomas after the tempo race, but then outlasted the pair in the elimination race to take a narrow advantage into the decider. He wasted little time in taking control as he gained a lap alongside American Gavin Hoover, winning the second sprint in the process. That gave him a cushion of 30 points over the field, and from then on he could mark the likes of reigning champion Elia Viviani, Thomas and Stewart to the finish.

Jack Carlin overcame Germany’s Maximilian Levy to make it into the final four of the men’s sprint but Kenny suffered consecutive defeats to Dutchman Harry Lavreysen to bow out of the event, ending his reign as Olympic sprint champion which had stretched back to London 2012.

Katy Marchant’s hopes of a medal in the women’s keirin track cycling event were dashed as she crashed out through no fault of her own in a quarter-final race at the Izu Velodrome.

Bronze for Bradshaw

Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw secured a bronze in the women's pole vault
Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw secured a bronze in the women’s pole vault (Martin Rickett/PA)

The 29-year-old finished behind the USA’s Katie Nageotte and the ROC’s Anzhelika Sidorova. She cleared 4.85m but could not make it over 4.90m – her personal best.

Asher-Smith made her return as Great Britain’s women’s 4x100m relay team swept into the final and broke the national record in the process.

The 25-year-old saw her Games wrecked by a hamstring injury she suffered in June and pulled out of the 200m after failing to reach the 100m final last week.

But she made her comeback on Thursday to help her team record a time of 41.55 seconds to win their heat and reach the final.

The men’s 4x100m relay team of CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Richard Kilty and Zharnel Hughes reached Friday’s final after coming second in their heat, while the women’s 4x400m relay team qualified for their final on Saturday by finishing third in their heat.

Morgan Lake also made the high jump final after clearing the automatic qualifying height of 1.95m.

Heath helps himself to kayak bronze, Yafai on track for gold

Liam Heath took bronze in the K1 200m
Liam Heath took bronze in the K1 200m (Mike Egerton/PA)

Defending Olympic champion Heath won a bronze medal in the men’s K1 200m at Sea Forest Waterway.

The 36-year-old clocked 35.202 seconds to finish third behind Hungary’s Sandor Totka, with Italian Manfredi Rizza taking silver.

Yafai booked his place in the men’s flyweight boxing final with a tremendous split decision victory over tough Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan.

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