Newspaper headlines: Team GB medal rush, Taser death and 'curtains' for Punch and Judy

As Team GB's Olympic medal tally continues to rise in Rio, a number of papers seek to explain the secret behind the success.

The Times highlights the funding role of UK Sport, the government body founded in 1997 "to pick up the pieces" after the squad languished in 36th place in Atlanta.

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"Britain's scientific approach to funding and training Olympic sports is now paying off with a dazzling display", says the paper.

In the Guardian, Owen Gibson examines the "components" behind Team GB's haul - picking out lottery money, UK Sport's focus on the disciplines most likely to win medals and "team spirit" as chief among them.

A silver for cyclist Mark Cavendish followed Charlotte Dujardin's dressage gold and saw Britain remain in second place going into Tuesday.

And in the Financial Times, political commentator Janan Ganesh writes: "As a case study of total and intended success, of a top-down project going to plan, there is little to match this in the annals of British technocracy...

"Athletes were victims of a national make-do-and-mend culture that was presumably meant to be charming. They now have expensive coaches, specialised infrastructure and enough direct income to give up other work."

The Daily Mail's Robert Hardman agrees it is time to "doff our caps to some of the unsung architects of Britain's triumph".

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major, who set up the National Lottery, deserves credit for the legacy it has produced, adds the Daily Telegraph, but in the end "it is the dedication and commitment of the athletes themselves that has paid off".


Rio 'proposal'

And it is Charlotte Dujardin who takes pride of place on the front pages after defending her title in the individual dressage.

The result is the culmination of four years of transformative dressage during which she has raised the bar for the sport and confirmed her status as its great innovator and current all-round superstar, says the Guardian.

The 31-year-old, aboard Valegro, "was the horse-dancing queen of London 2012 and now reigns in Rio after a sensational samba-based routine", says the Times.

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A gold medal and a promise of marriage reads the Daily Telegraph's headline, as it reports how Dujardin's fiance, Dean Golding, held up a sign after her moment of glory saying "can we get married now?"

"For some, this gesture may have tipped them over the edge at an already emotional high," says the i. Dujardin, however, remained unperturbed, "pointing out that they were already engaged after an initial proposal in 2008 and this latest stunt was probably her partner's way of getting her to name a date".


Taser 'disquiet'

The death of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson after he was shot with a Taser by police at his father's house in Telford, Shropshire, puts the focus on the use of the stun guns.

The Times says the incident has sparked fresh concerns about Tasers, which it says are carried by one in 10 police officers in England and Wales, and three people have now died this year.

Campaigners, says the paper, have warned they are being increasingly used despite "disquiet" about the risk.

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West Mercia Police said its officers were called amid concerns for the safety of an individual and the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The Daily Mail says it firmly believes police should be given every tool necessary to carry out their difficult job in an increasingly dangerous world.

But it says the frequency with which Tasers are now being used "raises serious concerns over whether controls are adequate... they should be used as a last resort - not a substitute for negotiation".

In a leading article, the Daily Mirror says "use of such a brutally incapacitating weapon must always remain the exception, not the rule".


Eye-catching headlines

  • Poppy sellers in revolt over Legion plans: Armed forces charity faces a revolt amid row over plans to close down its women's section - Guardian
  • Scandal of dementia care lottery: Online map resource being unveiled by the health secretary discloses the differences in care standards across England - Daily Telegraph
  • Shred alert: Dead dolphin on Cornish beach raises fears a huge shark is lurking off the coast of Britain - Daily Mirror
  • £1bn sugar tax is on the menu - Treasury set to launch plans for levy on soft drinks as part of plans to tackle childhood obesity. The announcement due this week dashes hopes of a U-turn by new Prime Minister Theresa May - Sun

What the commentators say...

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Media captionWriter and broadcaster Natalie Haynes and the Westminster correspondent for South West News Service, Rob Merrick, join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's front pages

Punch and Judy rowdiness

Finally, do events at a British seaside resort indicate it could soon be curtains for one of the few remaining traditions?

According to the Sun, the owner of one of the country's last Punch and Judy shows is threatening to pack it all in - because of rowdy audiences.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Daily Mail says Mark Poulton, only one of six licensed Punch and Judy performers left in the country, is becoming increasingly fed up with children throwing stones and hurling abuse.

The puppet show has been staged in Weymouth for 130 years but Mr Poulton - who has been working in the town since 2004 - complains bad behaviour often goes unpunished by parents.

"The stress of dealing with some members of the public, forever falling income and rising costs have taken their toll," reads a post on his Facebook page, the Times reports.


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