BRADLY Sinden fell short of winning Team GB’s first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 as his dream Taekwondo run at the Makuhari Messe ended with only a silver lining.
But those exertions took their toll as he found Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov too tough a prospect, stealing victory with eight seconds to go and foiling his ambition to become the first British male to win Olympic gold.
Sinden, the current world champion and second seed, went into the fight as strong favourite.
But Rashitov got the first point on the board with a punch and kept up that pace as Sinden trailed 13-8 after the first round, with four scoring kicks.
Sinden appeared to be getting a stern talking-to at the break but struggled to make any impact, even a late head-kick leaving him four points behind, 18-14.
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The Brit had demonstrated his powers of recovery in the semi-final, retrieving a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes.
A series of trunk shots took Sinden into the lead as his coach Martin Stamper roared: “Don’t look at the scoreboard, Bradley”.
But the Uzbek refused to give up, retaking the advantage going into the final 30 seconds, only to surrender it again.
But just as Sinden appeared set for victory, he was caught by a turning kick, followed by another kick and could not come back again, with the Uzbek winning 34-29.
It was such a shame after the way Sinden had exploded through his tournament, not affected at all by the shock first-round exit of fellow Brit Jade Jones.
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Sinden started by crushing New Zealand’s Tom Burns, with the contest stopped after two rounds with the Brit leading 53-8.
Next to feel the power of Brad was Turkey’s Kakan Recber, blown away by a stunning third round as the contest was again stopped with Sinden leading 39-19.
And then in his semi-final against China’s bronze medal winner Shuai Zhao, Sinden did it the hard way again, a superb final round worth 19 points as he came through 33-25.
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