Team GB Win First Medals At Tokyo 2020 Olympics As Cumbrian Badminton Star Reaches Quarter Final

By Robert Haile

Day Two of the delayed Olympic Games have come to a close and Team GB are on the medal table.

In the Judo -52kg category, judoka Chelsie Giles won Team GB’s first medal with bronze.

The 24-year-old from Coventry twice threw Swiss Fabienne Kocher for waza’ari to get her nation off the medal mark and for an athlete who only made her senior international debut in 2017, it was a dream come true.

Giles said: “I believed I could do it, my coach has always believed I could and it showed in today’s performance.

“It feels very special to do it in Japan. It’s an amazing arena and the atmosphere was amazing. To do it where Japan started the sport, it makes it extra special.”

Britain’s judokas have now produced medals at each of the last three Games, with Giles following in the footsteps of Gemma Gibbons, Karina Bryant and Sally Conway.

Up next was the Taekwondo with double gold Olympian Jade Jones looking to make it three in a row and Bradly Sinden in his debut games.

Sadly for Jones it was a first round elimination to Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin of the Refugee Olympic team

In his taekwondo category Sinden made it to the final meaning he had won GB second medal of the games but would it be gold or silver?

Unluckily for the 22-year-old from Doncaster he lost out to Uzbekistan teenager Ulugbek Rashitov in a thrilling -68kg gold-medal match, going down 34-29 in the final few seconds of the contest.

Sinden said “I’ll reflect on this and be proud of what I’ve achieved in these last five years, from having no ranking points to becoming world champion and winning an Olympic silver.

“You’ll see me again in Paris, I’m just getting started.

“Sometimes you learn more than defeats and I’ll be taking that learning curve into Paris and hopefully I can go one better.”

In the mixed doubles badminton adopted Cumbrian Marcus Ellis and Carlisle’s Lauren Smith are closing in on the medal matches after beating the Canadian pair.

They won the group B match 21-13 21-19 against Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Josephine Wu.

Meaning the pair have qualified for the quarter-finals with the victory.

Ellis commented on the upcoming challenges saying “I think these first two matches were absolutely key for us. Tomorrow’s a very, very tough match. We’re very happy that we’re through the box and who knows what lies ahead.

“Of course, we came here in the top eight on the list and we wanted to get through our group. 

“In a way, we’ve kind of reached our seeding now so whatever happens from here is a bonus. Hopefully we can take some pressure off of ourselves and relish the opportunity to play against the top four or five pairs in the world.” 

While Smith was slightly critical of their performance saying “In that second set we were a little bit less structured than we wanted to be. We didn’t quite execute the tactics and maybe didn’t make them move as much as we normally like to make our opponents move.

“But I think in general we are executing what we want to. We’re bringing quality at the right times. 

“I think the speed is definitely there which is a really big part of our game and we get to test it tomorrow against the Thai pair [Sapsiree Taerattanachai and Dechapol Puavaranukroh].”

The British couple on and off the court will have their work cut out as in 2016 Olympics all three medals went to Asian countries with Indonesia taking gold, Malaysia silver and China bronze.