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Drama in the velodrome

posted 7 Aug 2012, 14:30 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 7 Aug 2012, 14:31 ]

Britain's Chris Hoy grabbed his sixth Olympic gold medal when he powered to victory in the keirin final at the London Games on Tuesday (August 7).

Hoy took the lead with two laps to go but German Maximilian Levy, who claimed silver, pushed him to the limit before yielding in the home straight.

New Zealand's Simon van Velthooven and Dutchman Teun Mulder both took bronze after a photo finish could not separate them.

It is Hoy's seventh Games medal, which puts him ahead of Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins on 'gold difference' as Britain's most decorated Olympian.

Wiggins has four Olympic titles to Hoy's six after the Scot won the team sprint event with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny last Thursday.

Anna Meares beat Victoria Pendleton to win the Olympic track cycling women's sprint title but the event ended on a sour note for the retiring Briton, who was relegated in the first leg.

Pendleton was adjudged to have left the sprinting lane, drawing boos from the raucous home crowd when the decision was announced.

It was Meares's second Olympic title after she won gold in the time trial in Athens eight years ago and exacted a modicum of revenge over Pendleton who beat her to the sprint title in Beijing.

For Pendleton, who is retiring after the Olympics and had already claimed a gold in the keirin, it was a disappointing end to a glittering career that delivered two Games golds and nine world titles.

China's Guo Shuang won the bronze after beating Germany's Kristina Vogel.

American Aly Raisman won the women's floor exercise title in the final artistic gymnastics event at the London Games on Tuesday (August 7) after defending champion Sandra Izbasa fell on her last tumble.

Raisman added gold to the bronze she had earned for the balance beam 90 minutes earlier and the team gold she helped the United States to win a week ago.

Romanian Catalina Ponor, demoted to fourth on the beam after the Americans won an appeal on Raisman's score, had the compensation of floor silver while Russia's Aliya Mustafina took bronze.

American Jordyn Wieber, who missed the chance to qualify for the all-around final here despite being world champion, went home with no individual medals, finishing seventh on the floor after stepping out of bounds twice.

The only woman behind her was Izbasa who crashed to her knees as she tried to land her final tumbling pass and incurred a penalty of 0.3 points.

Dutchman Epke Zonderland showed off a flamboyant gravity-defying routine to snatch the Olympics horizontal bar title. Zou Kai had been the favourite to win the gold medal as China had won every Olympic and world title on the apparatus since 2008 but he was easily surpassed by a flying Dutchman who showed no fear as he pulled off three back-to-back release manoeuvres to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Zonderland triumphed with 16.533 points and German showman Fabian Hambuchen, who thought he had bagged the title with his high-flying performance, had to make do with silver on 16.400.

Zou, the 2008 champion who had been hoping to give China a third gymnastics gold on Tuesday following successes on the parallel bars and balance beam, took the bronze.

China moved within one step of a second successive clean sweep of Olympic table tennis golds when their women marched to victory over Japan's young team.

Red-hot favourites China beat Japan 3-0, having not lost an individual match throughout the tournament.

The win was led by singles gold medalist Li Xiaoxia, who ground down Ai Fukuhara and then partnered Guo Yue to victory in the doubles, with Ding Ning having thrashed Kasumi Ishikawa in the second rubber.

Japan's silver was their first Olympic table tennis medal and, with 19-year-old Ishikawa and Fukuhara, 23, they are expected to challenge China's dominance in the coming years.

China's men are also strong favourites to take the fourth and final table tennis gold on offer when they play the team final against South Korea on Wednesday.

After sealing their victory, China's women's team players and coaches hugged and then bowed to a passionate crowd who waved scores of national flags.

China dominate women's table tennis and have taken all seven Olympic singles titles since the sport was introduced in 1988, and all but one of the doubles or team events.

Singapore beat South Korea 3-0 earlier on Tuesday to grab the women's team bronze medal.

Spaniard Marina Alabau Neira won the Olympic RS:X windsurfing women's gold medal. Tuuli Petaja of Finland won the silver medal and Zofia

Noceti-Klepacka of Poland the bronze.

The RS:X class is unlikely to be raced in Rio following a decision by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) in May to replace it with kite-surfing, though that decision is being challenged by the International RS:X Class Association Ltd.

World champions Russia lived up to predictions they would cement their dominance of synchronised swimming at the London Games, claiming the title for duets with a crisp routine inspired by horror movies and macabre fairytales.

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina - in costumes decorated with dolls, their eyes framed by toy-like eyelashes - took gold after scoring 98.9 points out of a possible 100 in the free routine executed for the final.

That marked an improvement on Monday's score for the same sequence and took their total points to 197.1 - more than four points clear of their nearest rivals Spain.

Russians, bringing a tradition of ballet to the pool, have taken home the Olympic gold for duets since Sydney in 2000, earning a reputation for seamless execution in a sport that demands precision and endurance - paired with a smile.

Spain's tango-inspired routine helped their duo to silver, retaining the same medal position as in Beijing four years ago.

China came 0.03 points behind with their dragon choreography as they took bronze.

Britain won team gold in Olympic dressage, breaking a 40-year winning streak for the Germans, after Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin posted Olympic record scores for their grand prix special tests.

This was the first Olympic medal of any colour for Britain in dressage, team or individual.

Britain finished the second phase of the competition on a total average score of 79.979 percent, well ahead of silver medallists Germany on 78.216 percent. The Netherlands took bronze.

Britain has had a superb showing in the equestrian disciplines at its home Games, capturing its first show jumping gold for 60 years and taking a silver in eventing.

Charlotte Dujardin, who with horse Valegro achieved a world record score of 88.02 percent for the grand prix special earlier this year, is now the proud holder of Olympic records for last week's grand prix test and grand prix special.

She scored 83.663 percent for the grand prix and 83.286 percent for the more technically demanding grand prix special, which is astonishing given the pair only started competing at the top ranks of international dressage last year.