London 2012: Great Britain close on Beijing gold tally

Jason Kenny beats Gregory Bauge

Great Britain took their Olympic gold medal tally to 18 with equestrian and track cycling success on Monday.

The host nation claimed a dramatic gold in the team showjumping event before Jason Kenny won the individual sprint to take his second gold of London 2012.

Britain are third in the medals table, behind the United States and China, and are now just one gold shy of their tally at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Gymnast Beth Tweddle added a bronze earlier in the day.

Britain, hosting the Olympics for a third time, have now won 40 medals at these Games, with the promise of more to come.

They had high hopes for Dai Greene and Holly Bleasdale in the men's 400m hurdles and women's pole vault respectively, but they both finished outside the medals in their finals on Monday night.

Welshman Greene, who only scraped into the final as one of the fastest losers, was fourth in his event, while Preston's Holly Bleasdale dropped out of the running after failing to clear 4.55m.

Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic won 400m hurdles gold in a time of 47.63 seconds, ahead of American Michael Tinsley (47.91) and Puerto Rico's Javier Culson (48.10).

Nick Skelton

"I gave it everything I had but was just too tired," said Greene, who clocked 48.24.

The women's pole vault final was won by American Jennifer Suhr, who cleared 4.75m, 30cm more than Bleasdale managed.

"I am really disappointed," said the 20-year-old Bleasdale. "I think I was lacking experience."

Britain's 17th gold came when Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Peter Charles and Scott Brash beat the Netherlands in a jump-off after the countries had finished level following two days of competition at Greenwich Park.

It was Britain's first Olympic showjumping medal since 1984 and their first gold since the Helsinki 1952 Games.

"The lads have done great, absolutely brilliant," Skelton, competing in his sixth Games at the age of 54, told BBC Sport.

"I've got a wonderful horse, wonderful owners. It's a dream come true."

Skelton, who had a hip replacement last year, added: "It's great for the country and great for our sport. My hip's great, it's my back that's the problem now. I've got to have it operated on next year."

Kenny, silver medallist four years ago, then added another in the London Velodrome when he succeeded Sir Chris Hoy as Olympic champion in the individual sprint, beating Frenchman Gregory Bauge in the final.

Kenny had already won gold in the team sprint.

"It's amazing, I hadn't even thought about it until we got into that last ride and then it suddenly dawned on me," said the 24-year-old from Bolton. "I was really pleased just to deliver for the team."

Hoy, who had lost out to Kenny in selection, tweeted his congratulations, describing his victory as "phenomenal".

Great Britain's Beth Tweddle

Kenny's gold was Britain's fifth from seven events in the track cycling, with the potential for further success on the final day of racing on Tuesday.

Laura Trott leads the omnium at the halfway stage, Victoria Pendleton is in the final of the individual sprint, while Hoy goes in the keirin.

Tweddle earned her first Olympic medal in what will be her last Games by taking third place in the uneven bars.

Tweddle, the most decorated British gymnast in history, finished behind Russia's Aliya Mustafina and 2008 champion He Kexin of China.

"I knew if I walked out of here without a medal, I'd have been really disappointed," said the 27-year-old Liverpudlian.

Britain are also guaranteed another three boxing medals, this time from flyweight Nicola Adams, middleweight Anthony Ogogo and super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua. They joined bantamweight Luke Campbell in the semi-finals after victories on Monday.

Grenada are also celebrating after Kirani James won men's 400m gold to claim the country's first ever Olympic medal. The 19-year-old clocked 43.94 secs in the last track final of the night at the Olympic Stadium.

Britain's haul of 47 medals in Beijing was their best at an Olympics in 100 years. With nearly a week of London 2012 to go, they have already secured 40 - 18 gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze.

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