Having already matched its best-ever Olympic gold medal haul, opportunities are running out for Australia to set a new benchmark heading into the penultimate day of the Tokyo Games.
Back-to-back golds within the space of a few minutes on Thursday matched the best-ever gold medal haul of 17 from Athens 2004, but the Aussies were unable to add to the tally on Friday.
Australia stands in sixth on the Tokyo Olympics media tally, with 17 gold, six silver and 21 bronze.
Kelsey-Lee Barber secured a bronze medal to add to the list of Australian achievements on Friday night in the javelin final.
It was a stunning turnaround for Barber to even reach the podium, having been just three days earlier on the brink of an ignominious exit in the qualifying round, to add to the gold she won at the 2019 world championships.
Meanwhile, minutes earlier, Harry Garside cemented his place in Australian boxing folklore by ending a three-decade Olympic medal drought with a bronze.
There are two genuine medal chances on Saturday in the women’s high jump after Nicola McDermott and Eleanor Patterson soared into the Olympic final.
McDermott, the national record holder, didn’t have a miss as she sailed through the preliminary round, while Patterson only failed to clear the bar once at the automatic qualifying mark of 1.95m before joining the group of 14 women in the final.
Elsewhere on the track, Stewart McSweyn has vowed to alter his tactics as he chases a medal in the men’s 1500m, having led from the front before eventually finishing fifth in the semi-final.
“Going from the front is a good tactic in the first two rounds because you have the time spots,” McSweyn said.
“But time doesn’t matter in the final. It’s about competing.”
In the women’s 1500m final on Friday night, Australian Linden Hall finished an impressive sixth, while Jessica Hull finished 11th.
Ellie Pashley, Lisa Weightman and Sinead Diver will be hoping the 6am start for the women’s marathon on Saturday will see them avoid the oppressive Tokyo heat. The event was brought forward an hour.
Australia’s men’s and women’s K4 crews will be out to build on the nation’s success at Sea Forest Waterway when they set out in Saturday’s semi-finals, with the finals to follow in the afternoon.
London K4 1000m gold medallist Murray Stewart will be out to add to his medal tally as part of the men’s crew, while the women’s crew of Shannon Reynolds, Catherine McArthur, Jo-Bridgen-Jones, Jaime Roberts scraped through after finishing fifth place in the repechage race.
Hannah Green will be sweating on the forecast typhoon not impacting the final round of the women’s golf event, with the 2019 US PGA champion sitting in a share of third.
If no play is possible in the final round, Green – who is five strokes off the pace set by American world No.1 Nelly Korda – will likely share bronze with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Japan’s Mone Inami and Dane Emily Kristine Pedersen.
Australia’s men’s basketball team will once again go in search of their first Olympic medal when they take on Slovenia in the bronze medal match.
The Boomers have lost the corresponding match four times, including a one-point heartbreaker to Spain in Rio five years ago.
“We’re going to a place where the country’s never been before. Australia has a proud tradition of basketball but we’ve never medalled,” coach Brian Goorjian said after the loss to the US.
“It’s as important as anything all of us as players, coaches have ever been involved in.”
Australian diver Cassiel Rousseau has qualified for the men’s 10-metre platform semi-final, while Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien will carry the nation’s medal hopes at the velodrome in the men’s madison.
– with AAP