Team GB must wait for their first gold medal at Tokyo 2020 after Bradly Sinden was denied in a thrilling taekwondo -68kg men’s final.
Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov triumphed despite having to come through a preliminary match on Sunday morning just to reach the main draw.
In a high-scoring final, the momentum and scoreboard shifted between the fighters before Rashitov prevailed 34-29.
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It was a bitter blow for the 2019 world champion, who had set his sights on gold after an excellent semi-final win over China’s Shuai Zhao.
The Brit started well with a string of precise trunk kicks, before back-to-back head kicks saw Rashitov roar back in a fast-paced opening round that would set the tone for an explosive encounter.
Having trailed 13-8 at the first break, the 22-year-old’s woes continued as the Uzbekistani did well to keep Sinden at distance.
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A head kick in the final moments of the penultimate round gave Sinden a vital boost heading into the third, four points behind at 18-14.
Sinden started superbly, an echo of his final round display in the semi-final, drawing level at 19-19 with a quick-punch kick combination inside 30 seconds.
Ahead with a minute to go, the Brit’s coach roared at Sinden to not look at the score.
Taking the lead via a back-kick with just 10 seconds left, Rashitov ensured neither Sinden nor his coach would have any intention of score-checking.
The Uzbekistani held his nerve in a nail-biting finish to seal a famous win and deny Team GB their first Tokyo gold.
Wild celebrations among the Uzbek team contrasted Sinden’s dejected trudge towards a screen displaying a live video feed of his family watching from home.
They applauded as the 22-year-old walked on, befitting of the youngster’s excellent performances throughout the day.
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Sinden, having also not even been in the draw this morning, will leave Tokyo as an Olympic medalist.
Speaking to Eurosport, Sinden said: "I'm gutted. The only colour I see is gold, anything else isn't what you want and what you work for.
"I'll look back on it eventually and be proud of myself in these last five years as a senior, winning the World Championship and being so close to winning the Olympics.
"I came here to have no regrets and being caught at the very end will get me, but sometimes a loss can be a better learning [experience].
"It's only three years to Paris and I'm confident I can go one step further and bring home that gold."
Sinden becomes the second Team GB medallist at the Games, following Chelsie Giles’s bronze in the women’s judo event.
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