London 2012 - Drama in the pool on Day 3

Day three at the Aquatic Centre saw the accent firmly placed on youth. At 15, Ruta Meilutyte became Lithuania’s youngest ever Olympic competitor and their first ever medal winner, as she clinched gold in the 100m women’s breaststroke final. In the heats she had already set a new European record of 1:05.21, before edging out the USA’s Rebecca Soni and Japan’s Satomi Suzuki in a time of 1:05.47 to top the podium. Her fellow teenager, 17-year old Missy Franklin of the USA, also wowed the crowds, first easing into the women’s 200m freestyle final, before returning to the pool less than a quarter of hour later to win the 100m backstroke final in a time of 58.33. She was joined on the podium by Australia’s Emily Seebohm (silver) and Japan’s Aya Terakawa (bronze). Meanwhile, France’s 20-year-old Yannick Agnel won his second Olympic title in two days, swimming a magnificent race in the 200m freestyle final to touch the wall in 1:43.14, two seconds ahead of South Korea’s Park Tea-Wan and China’s Sun Yang, who each clocked 1:44.93. The fourth of the day’s finals in the pool ended in a one-two for the USA, as Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman took gold and silver in the 100m backstroke with Grevers setting a new Olympic record of 52.16.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd who packed into the North Greenwich Arena, men’s gymnastics quintet Chen Yibing, Feng Zhen, Guo Weiyang, Zhang Cheglong and Zou Kai served up a dazzling display across all of the apparatus to ensure that China completed a successful defence of the team title they won on home ground four years earlier, more than four points clear of second-placed Japan. Meanwhile, Great Britain claimed bronze to win their first gymnastics medal in 100 years!

At the ExCeL, there was another gold medal for North Korea in the weightlifting, with Kim Un-Guk winning the men’s -62kg category by lifting 153 kg in the snatch and 174kg in the clean and jerk for a new world record total of 327kg. He shared the podium with Colombia’s Oscar Figueroa and the Indonesian Eko Yuli Iarawan, who both lifted 317kg. In the women’s -58kg, China’s Li Xueying was crowned Olympic champion thanks to a combined total of 246kg (108kg + 138kg), ahead of Thai lifter Pimsiri Sirikaew (236kg).

In the men’s synchronised 10m platform, Chinese duo Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan produced a perfect dive to claim gold, ahead of German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia who took silver to maintain Mexico’s excellent record in the diving competitions. David Boudia and Nicholas McCrory completed the podium line-up with bronze for the USA.

In the judo, Japan’s Kaori Matsumoto won by ippon against Romanian Corina Caprioriu in the final of the women’s -57kg category, while Russia’s Mansur Isaev proved too strong for his Japanese rival Riki Nakaya in the gold medal bout of the men’s -73kg. French judokas, Automne Pavia and Ugo Legrand, took bronze in their respective categories.

In the fencing, Ukraine’s Yana Shemyakina was crowned women’s individual épée champion, overcoming Germany’s Britta Heidemann 9-8 in the gold medal contest. China’s Sun Yujie completed the podium line-up with a 15-11 victory over South Korea’s Shin A-lam.

At the shooting range at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Romania’s Alin Molodoveanu recorded a phenomenal score of 702.1 in the 10m air rifle to secure the gold ahead of Italy’s Niccolo Campriani and India’s Gagan Narang.

At Greenwich Park, Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, put in an assured performance on her appropriately named mount, High Kingdom, in the cross-country, to help Great Britain qualify for the final of the team three-day eventing; and she also kept herself in contention for an individual medal, watched by her royal cousins Prince William and Prince Harry.

Also south of the River Thames, on the grass courts of Wimbledon, it proved to be a good day for the favourites in both the men’s and women’s singles, with Roger Federer (USA), Andy Murray (GBR) Novak Djokovic (SRB), Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), and Serena and Venus Williams (USA), Maria Sharapova (RUS) and Victoria Azarenka (BLR) all qualifying for the third round.