Great Britain

Medals keep coming for Team GB in Tokyo as first eventing gold won in nearly 50 years

TEAM GB cantered to their first eventing gold in nearly half a century as the Olympic glory rush continued in Tokyo.

Oliver Townend, Tom McEwen and Laura Collett beat Australia in a thrilling equestrian showdown that brought our 11th first place of the Games.

The trio, each on their Olympic debuts, produced class performances to kick-start another wave of medals.

Oliver, 38, said: “There will be a big celebration — and I don’t think it will be with a cup of tea and a biscuit.”

Tom, 30, later went on to take silver in the individual eventing competition — although he did go agonisingly close to winning another gold.

The riding success came hours before Nottingham’s Emily Campbell bagged silver in weightlifting.

Yesterday’s final at the Equestrian Park was the third and final day of fierce battles.

Competitors are judged in a dressage test, a cross-country round and then a jumping round.

But Oliver, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, could afford to have four fences knocked down in the last show jumping phase to ensure GB of victory.

Tom, who rents stables at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire from Princess Anne, had completed a clear round on Toledo De Kerser.

He followed Laura, 31, who had just four faults on her steed London 52.

Oliver, the world-ranked No 1, clipped just one rail on Ballaghmor Class to ensure Team GB were made champions for the first time in 49 years — previous triumphs coming in 1956, 1968 and 1972.

Yesterday’s medals took Team GB’s equestrian haul in Tokyo to four — with Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Charlotte Fry winning dressage bronze while Charlotte also collected an individual bronze.

Tom said: “Toledo is a class horse and a great jumper, so it was just up to me on top. My nerves were fine.

“Oliver and Laura are both brilliant riders and I had no doubt they would pull it straight out of the bag quite ­easily and comfortably.”

LAURA'S SWEET VICTORY AFTER CRASH

The victory was even sweeter for Laura, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, as she narrowly avoided death in a horror ­accident eight years ago.

She was blinded in one eye and left with multiple rib, spine and shoulder fractures after a heavy fall. She was in a coma for six days.

Then 23, she suffered crush injuries to her lungs and liver in the accident, which would have been much worse if she was not wearing a hi-tech air jacket.

Recalling the near-death moment, Laura yesterday said: “Just to be here was more than a dream come true.

“It hasn’t sunk in. I look back and I think where I was eight years ago.

“I knew I was lucky to even just be alive, let alone be able to come and do the job that I love, and be lucky enough to have a horse like London 52 to bring me to a place like Tokyo.”

Elsewhere on another brilliant day for Team GB, diver Jack Laugher, 26, from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, qualified for the 3m springboard semi-final.

Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Josie Knight qualified for the next round of the women’s team pursuit in the cycling.

They face the Americans this morning for a place in the final this afternoon.

Britain stayed alive in the men’s competition — but only after a bizarre crash for Australia’s Alex Porter when his handlebars fell off.

Ed Clancy, Ethan Hayter, Ethan ­Vernon and Ollie Wood set a British record but it still left them well off the pace set by Denmark.

Team GB’s sensational twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, 16, finished their Olympic dream with a flourish in the individual gymnastics.

They ended sixth and seventh after last week ­taking an incredible bronze in the all-round artistic gymnastics.

GB win gold in the three-day eventing for the first time in 49 years thanks to Tom McEwan, Laura Collett and Oliver Townend

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