Team GB medal hopes: the athletes going for gold at the Tokyo Olympics
Can the Kennys, Adam Peaty and Jade Jones lead a British gold rush?
After finishing second in the overall table with 67 medals at Rio 2016 can the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team deliver another glittering haul at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
UK Sport, the government body responsible for Olympic and Paralympic sport funding, said no “targets” are being set for Tokyo because the process of monitoring progress and potential has been “severely compromised” by the pandemic, the BBC reports. However, it is hoped that Team GB can win between 45 and 70 medals.
Team GB will take its largest ever delegation to an Olympics on foreign soil: 376 athletes, and a further 22 reserve athletes, who will compete across 26 sports in Japan. And for the first time at a summer Olympics, the team will have more female than male athletes with 201 women (53.5%) and 175 men (46.5%).
Here we look at the Team GB athletes tipped for medal success at Tokyo 2020...
Laura and Jason Kenny: track cycling
“History is on the cards for cycling’s golden couple”, says The Independent. Laura Kenny, a four-time gold winner, needs one more medal of any colour to equal Katherine Grainger’s all-time record of five. Jason Kenny, who has won six gold and one silver in his Olympic career, needs one more medal to equal Bradley Wiggins’ tally of eight. There is “every chance both records will at least be matched”.
Adam Peaty: swimming
Peaty “started Team GB’s gold rush” on day two in Rio by winning the men’s 100m breaststroke, so “expect him to help kickstart the party in Tokyo too”, says The Telegraph. “It would take something major to happen, such as falling off his blocks, for Peaty not to defend his 100m breaststroke title.”
Jade Jones: taekwondo
After winning gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, Jones will look to become the first taekwondo fighter to claim three Olympic titles, the BBC reports. The 28-year-old is reigning world champion in the -57kg division and the No.1 seed.
Liam Heath: canoe
Sprint canoeist Heath is the reigning Olympic champion and he holds the world’s fastest time in the men’s K1 200m. He is backed to defend the title that he won in Rio.
Max Whitlock: gymnastics
Whitlock won pommel and floor golds at Rio but it “hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing since then”, The i Paper says. The 28-year-old fell in the European Championship pommel horse final earlier this year but will start as favourite in Tokyo.
Dina Asher-Smith: athletics
Asher-Smith is the “greatest female sprinter Britain has ever produced”, says The Telegraph. A triple gold medal winner at the 2018 European Championships (100m, 200m and 4x100m) she also won 200m gold and 100m silver at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. The 25-year-old “will need to be in the form of her life” in Tokyo to see off American Gabby Thomas and veteran Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, The Independent adds.
Laura Muir: athletics
Seonaid McIntosh: shooting
Reigning 50m prone rifle world champion and world record holder McIntosh, 24, is already Great Britain’s most successful female rifle shooter of all time, The Independent says. The “sharpshooter” hopes to add Olympic gold to her trophy cabinet and the timing of her events could see her land Team GB’s first medal of the Tokyo Games, The Times reports.
Pat McCormack: boxing
Team GB’s 11 boxers are eyeing a big medal haul in Japan, says The Guardian’s Donald McRae. Pat McCormack, the No.1 fighter in the men’s welterweight division, is one of the Brits hotly tipped to become an Olympic champion.