Tokyo Olympics: Jason Kenny and Jack Carlin safely through in sprint as Italy take team pursuit gold

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Jason Kenny and Jack Carlin continued their fine starts to the Olympic track cycling meet by breezing through the opening rounds of the men’s sprint competition to keep their individual medal hopes on course.

Kenny and Carlin, along with Ryan Owens, set a new national record when claiming silver in the team sprint competition on Tuesday in what both spoke of afterwards as a best-case outcome, with the imperious world champions the Netherlands continuing their dominance of the event.

Carlin set a new Olympic record in individual qualifying, but it was quickly surpassed by Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland, both of whom had been part of the Dutch squad that had hammered Team GB in yesterday’s final.

The silver in that event made Jason Kenny Britain’s most successful Olympian of all-time and the 33-year-old qualified eighth-fastest, before both he and Carlin won their first round match-ups to progress.

Carlin was up first in the 1/16 Finals and survived a scare when he was forced off the inside of the track by rival Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom of Malaysia to win impressively, before Kenny followed, holding off a late charge from Japan’s Yuta Wakimoto and both will return for the 1/8 Finals tomorrow.

Katy Marchant, meanwhile, looked to have got her Keirin campaign off to the perfect start with victory in her heat but she was subsequently forced to come through the repechage having been relegated after coming down the track onto the sprinter’s line too soon. However, the 28-year-old made light work of the extra race with victory to reach tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Britain’s 13-year reign as men’s team pursuit champions had come to an end in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, amid a kit row with Denmark, a bizarre crash and Ed Clancy’s retirement, but they were back in action in the seventh-placed playoff on this afternoon, and took out a little frustration with a dominant five-second win over Switzerland.

In the gold medal match, Italy, led by the superb Filippo Ganna, clawed back a gap of almost a second inside the final kilometre to beat the Danes by just 0.166 seconds, breaking the world record again in the process.

Australia, whose hopes had been hit by a crash in qualifying on Monday, claimed bronze, fortune swinging their way this time as one of New Zealand’s riders hit the deck.

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