Tokyo 2020: Team Bath AC high jumper Tom Gale through to first Olympics final as former Team Bath Tennis ace Marcus Daniell wins historic medal

30 July 2021

Tom Gale will compete in his first Olympic Games final this weekend after the Team Bath AC high jumper impressed in the qualifying rounds during the first morning of athletics at Tokyo 2020.

Gale, who has developed his talent at the Team Bath Sports Training Village over the past eight years and is coached by Denis Doyle, produced a season’s best of 2.28m to join 12 other high jumpers who cleared that height in progressing to the final.

That will take place on Sunday (11.10am BST) and achieved the minimum pre-Games target for British record holder Gale, who is competing at his first Olympics.

“A successful Games for me would be to medal but I go into every competition believing I can win,” he said prior to the Games. “I’m not someone who turns up just to compete, I don’t want a participation medal.

“It’s a mental game at the end of the day, we all know we’re the among the best in the world and it’s down to whoever can hold their game until the very end.”

Also progressing to the final of the first-ever Olympics mixed 4x400m relay competition were a GB quartet featuring Sports Performance graduate Cameron Chalmers and University of Bath-based Emily Diamond, who are racing at their first and third Games respectively. They set a new national record of 3:11.95 to qualify fourth-fastest from the heats.

The latest round of swimming finals in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre saw University of Bath graduate Anna Hopkin go within six-hundredths of a second of the British record she set in the heats as she finished seventh in Friday’s 100m freestyle final.

It was a first individual Olympic final for the Sport & Exercise Science graduate, who said: “That was a big goal, to get close to what I did in the heats – that was an out-of-the-blue swim. To back that up shows how consistent I am. Obviously you always want to go faster but I think I’ve showed I can cope in this arena and put out those swims.”

Hopkin is aiming to cap a memorable Games debut by bagging her first Olympic medal on Saturday as part of the GB mixed 4x100m medley relay team.

“It is going to be an exciting race, the guys did an amazing job yesterday,” she said. “I’ve got to bring my best tomorrow and hopefully we can get a medal there.”

Fresh from helping GB set a new European record in the mixed 4x100m medley relay on Thursday, British Swimming National Centre Bath duo James Guy and Freya Anderson returned to action in the men’s and women’s medley relay heats respectively.

Guy, already an Olympic Champion this week in the 4x200m freestyle relay, helped GB ease through to Sunday’s final in 3:31.47 but the women’s quartet missed out by just 0.42 after finishing fifth in their heat in 3:58.12.

Ben Proud – who has been working with University of Bath Head of Swimming Mark Skimming, Hopkin’s former coach, at the Team Bath Sports Training Village this year – eased through to Saturday’s 50m freestyle semi-finals in 21.93.

Also aiming for a medal this weekend are University of Bath graduates Deborah Fleming and Natasha Hunt, who are part of a GB women’s rugby sevens squad to have reached the semi-finals in fine style.

Hunt kicked an early conversion to help set GB on their way to a comfortable 31-0 victory over Kenya in their final Pool A match, which set up a quarter-final against the United States.

The match was delayed for 30 minutes due to bad weather but that didn’t stop GB from recording an excellent 21-12 victory, which means they will face France in the last four on Saturday (3.30am BST), seeking a place in the final at 10am BST.

The last day of rowing saw Vicky Thornley, who started her career at the University of Bath with the GB Rowing Team Start talent development programme, narrowly miss out on a medal in the women’s single scull.

Fourth place was Britain’s best-ever Olympic result in the boat, though, and Thornley – a silver-medallist in the double scull at Rio 2016 – said: “I couldn’t really have done much more, especially in the second half of the race.

“This five years was all about what I could do as an individual. I truly believe I’ve reached my capacity. Every race I’ve raced has been the best of me. I’m proud of the work I’ve put in over the last five years.”

However, there was medal success for former Team Bath Tennis professional Marcus Daniell who, along with Michael Venus, won bronze in the men’s doubles – a first-ever Olympic medal in tennis for New Zealand.

They bounced back from the disappointment of losing 6-2 6-2 in Thursday’s semi-final to Croatians Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodi to secure a podium place with a 7-6 6-2 victory over Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren of the United States.

Barry Scollo, Director of Tennis at Team Bath, said: “Congratulations to Marcus and his coach, Dave Sammel, from all of us, it is an awesome achievement to win an Olympic medal and well deserved for all the hard work put in over the years.

“Marcus was part of our International High-Performance Tennis Academy programme for many years, including when he made his Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and he was and remains a real inspiration to all of our young players.”

Twenty sportspeople who train at the Team Bath Sports Training Village are competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as 12 University of Bath graduates. Click here to follow their progress.

Tom Gale picture credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

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