Team GB was guaranteed a medal today after Bradly Sinden won a bitter fight to reach the final in the Taekwondo heavy weight division.
Sinden, 22, from Doncaster, came back from behind against a fierce Chinese opponent to kick, punch and wrestle his way to the final.
The 2019 World Champion has now earned the chance to win Olympic gold.
Pictured: Bradly Sinden of Britain in action against Zhao Shuai of China in 68kg semi-final
Great Britain’s Bradly Sinden celebrates victory against China’s Shuai Zhao in the Men 68kg semifinal match at Makuhari Messe Hall A on the second day of the 2020 Olympic Games
But he will be guaranteed to win at least a silver medal.
His victory will help the Team GB’s Taekwondo troop to get over their bitter disappointment at double Olympic gold-medal winner Jade Jones elimination in her first fight.
Sinden, who won the world title in Manchester in 2019, had cruised through his two opening contests, compiling a total of 92 points in wins over New Zealand’s Tom Burns and Hakan Recber of Turkey.
Zhao, who won Olympic gold in the lighter -58kg category in Rio and also has two world titles to his name, was certain to put up sterner opposition and so it proved as he edged the opening stages.
Sinden’s hopes of making the final in his first Games appeared to hang by a thread as a pair of big head kicks put his Chinese opponent in full control.
But the Briton stayed focused and pounced as Zhao tired in the final minute of the contest, pouring forward to secure a gold medal match against Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov later on Sunday.
Sinden’s hopes of making the final appeared to hang by a thread as a pair of big head kicks put his opponent in full control but the Briton stayed focused to claim victory in the final minute
Earlier Jones, 28, who had ended a long wait for her first world title in 2019, led early against Alizadeh but could not make her advantage count and fell to a disappointing defeat.
For an opening bout it was as tough as they come against Alizadeh, who became the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal when she took bronze in Rio behind Jones.
Alizadeh, also a two-time world medallist who beat Jones in the 2015 event in Russia, subsequently left her homeland to train in Germany, a decision which led to a period of inactivity that meant she was not seeded in the women’s -57kg category.
Any hopes Jones may have had of challenging for a bronze medal via the repechage were ended when Alizadeh was subsequently beaten in her semi-final match by Tatiana Minina of Russia.
Bradly Sinden was introduced to Taekwondo when a spirited four year old by his big sister Jodie who trained at the same club as Beijing 2008 bronze medalist and 2011 World Champion Sarah Stevenson.
Bradly Sinden (right) in action against China’s Shuai Zhao in the Men 68kg Semifinal match
He revealed: ‘I was hyper-active kid, I couldn’t really sit down.
‘I was copying my sister with the kicks until I could start when I was six.
‘The coaches could see I was interested and said if I didn’t misbehave they’d let me have a go.’
Bradly took the sport by the scruff of the neck aged eight and took part in national junior competitions and international events before he won a gold medal at the 2015 European Championships.
His mother Sheryl drove him from the family home in Doncaster to Manchester twice a week for national team training sessions, while his granny baby-sat his younger twin brothers.
He went on to win the World Championship in 2019.
His sister Jodie has become a Taekwondo judge so the sport remains very much a family affair.
Paying tribute to the support they have given him he said: ‘All parts of my family have supported me in different ways.
Bradly Sinden, who is the reigning World Champion, celebrates his semifinal victory in Tokyo
‘To do well in sports you can’t do it yourself, you need a good support network behind you and I’ve got that.
‘It’s why when I won the worlds, the main happiness for me was seeing my mum in the crowd.
‘I remember jumping a massive barrier and giving her a big hug. That was my way of repaying her.’
Sinden claims he has benefitted from Tokyo 2020 being delayed by a year, enabling him to train harder while in lock-down at home.
He said: ‘I took the positives from the Games being delayed.
‘If you look at my track record since joining the GB academy in 2016, within a year of joining the team I got my first worlds medal, within the next year I was consistently medalling abroad and then within three years I won a world title.
‘It just reassures me that an extra year of training will give me chance to work on the tactics I need to work on.’