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Olympics: Jason Kenny wins gold in men’s Keirin by flying out of the field early

Flying out of the field early, Great Britain's Jason Kenny took control of his own destiny to win the men’s Keirin at the Tokyo Olympic Games, making it the third Olympics in a row he has taken gold in the discipline. 

Kenny didn’t wait for the final sprint, sensing an opportunity when he had a gap at the front with four laps to go and as the rider second in line, Australia's Matthew Glaetzer, was looking behind. 

Once he let fly there was no hope for the rest of the field, which he comfortably held off to the line.

“It is a bit of shock I think, I really wanted to cross the finish line," said Kenny after he took his seventh gold medal at the Olympic Games. 

"I was hoping to kind of get stuck in, and hopefully come away with some silverware. To win at the corner on my own like that is absolutely buzzing.”

Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) led the charge from the rest of the field to take silver.

“I came here to execute a plan, I did my best. In the quarterfinals and semifinals I did really well. I planned to do the same thing in the final, but it is just bad luck," said Awang. 

"I got drawn to the back and had strong guys at the front, so I couldn’t jump straight into the front and just waste my energy. I wanted to go for the win, and Jason [Kenny] was fully committed at the front. There was a big gap and we just came late.”

Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) took third, adding another medal to his already substantial haul after wins in the Team Sprint and individual Sprint. 

Jair Tjon En Fa from the small South American nation of Suriname was fourth, with Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer fifth and Maximilian Levy (Germany) sixth.

On the podium, Kenny's fellow medallists recognised the scale of his achievement, lifting the rider from Great Britain into the air after he was presented with his seventh gold medal. 

Kenny had already taken silver in the Team Sprint at the Izu Velodrome in Tokyo but was disappointed to have fallen out of the running for the medals in the individual Sprint, an event where he had won gold at both Rio and London.

“I just wasn't quick enough to be competitive at all,” said Kenny of the Sprint. 

“That was really hard to take, because we work really hard. You don't really know what kind of form you have until you get here, because obviously we taper and we don't see the best until the last minute.

“But you just keep scrapping away, and I am absolutely buzzing to get something out of chaos.”

Early rounds

The early rounds of the men’s Keirin produced some thrilling racing with several big-names forced to qualify via the repechages to make it through to Sunday’s finals. 

Jason Kenny (Great Britain), Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) and Matthijs Buchli (Netherlands) all had to come back via a second race after finishing out of the top two places in their hotly contested heats.    

Jack Carlin (Great Britain), Callum Saunders (New Zealand) and Matt Richardson (Australia) made it through facing some serious competition, while Japan’s expert Keirin riders Yudai Nitta and Yuta Wakimoto, cheered on by the local crowd in the Izu velodrome, also qualified for day 2. 

Mohd Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia also went through too, no doubt adding some spice to the finals, while Rayan Helal (France) and the experienced Maximilian Levy (Germany) also qualified. 

Suriname’s Jair Tjon En Fa sprinted with confidence and qualified via the repechage, giving the small South American nation a shot at a place in the finals and perhaps even a medal.

Tjon En Fa, like Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago, has developed with the help of the UCI’s World Cycling Centre track programme.

Paul sailed through the quarterfinals with a huge solo win over Carlin, along with Kevin Quintero (Colombia) and Yuta Wakimoto (Japan).

In the semifinal, however, Paul was disqualified for passing on the blue band. Carlin, Trinidad & Tobago's Kwesi Browne, Quintero, Wakimoto and Helal missed the medal final and fought for 7th through 11th place.

Men's Keirin Round 1 Heat 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rayan Helal (France) 0:00:10.063
2Maximilian Levy (Germany) 0:00:00.010
3Kwesi Browne (Trinidad & Tobago) 0:00:00.248
4Jason Kenny (Great Britain) 0:00:00.462
5Sam Webster (New Zealand) 0:00:00.546
6Ivan Gladyshev (Russian Olympic) 0:00:03.173

Men's Keirin Round 1 Heat 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jack Carlin (Great Britain) 0:00:09.951
2Matthew Richardson (Australia) 0:00:00.070
RELMatthijs Buchli (Netherlands)
DNFHugo Barrette (Canada)
DNFSergey Ponomaryov (Kazakhstan)
DNFMuhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom (Malaysia)

Men's Keirin Round 1 Heat 3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) 0:00:09.955
2Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) 0:00:00.075
3Patryk Rajkowski (Poland) 0:00:00.104
4Stefan Boetticher (Germany) 0:00:00.115
5Jean Spies (South Africa) 0:00:00.739
6Sebastien Vigier (France) 0:00:00.884

Men's Keirin Round 1 Heat 4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Yudai Nitta (Japan) 0:00:09.899
2Denis Dmitriev (Russian Olympic) 0:00:00.004
3Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) 0:00:00.093
4Chao Xu (People's Republic of China) 0:00:00.240
5Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) 0:00:00.256
6Mateusz Rudyk (Poland) 0:00:00.974

Men's Keirin Round 1 Heat 5
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Yuta Wakimoto (Japan) 0:00:09.657
2Callum Saunders (New Zealand) 0:00:00.089
3Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia) 0:00:00.096
4Tomas Babek (Czech Republic) 0:00:00.228
5Nick Wammes (Canada) 0:00:00.292
6Jair Tjon en Fa (Suriname) 0:00:00.396

Men's Keirin Round 1 Repechage Heat 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kwesi Browne (Trinidad & Tobago) 0:00:09.938
2Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom (Malaysia) 0:00:00.010
3Sebastien Vigier (France) 0:00:00.037
4Tomas Babek (Czech Republic) 0:00:00.638
5Chao Xu (People's Republic of China) 0:00:00.979

Men's Keirin Round 1 Repechage Heat 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Kenny (Great Britain) 0:00:09.569
2Stefan Boetticher (Germany) 0:00:00.363
3Matthijs Buchli (Netherlands) 0:00:00.441
4Mateusz Rudyk (Poland) 0:00:00.480
5Nick Wammes (Canada) 0:00:00.564

Men's Keirin Round 1 Repechage Heat 3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) 0:00:09.746
2Jair Tjon en Fa (Suriname) 0:00:00.577
3Sam Webster (New Zealand) 0:00:00.580
4Hugo Barrette (Canada) 0:00:00.738
5Patryk Rajkowski (Poland) 0:00:01.616

Men's Keirin Round 1 Repechage Heat 4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) 0:00:09.677
2Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia) 0:00:00.069
3Sergey Ponomaryov (Kazakhstan) 0:00:00.124
4Ivan Gladyshev (Russian Olympic) 0:00:00.675
5Jean Spies (South Africa) 0:00:00.760

Men's Keirin Round 2 Heat 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia)
2Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
3Rayan Helal (France)
4Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
5Matthew Richardson (Australia)
6Yudai Nitta (Japan)

Men's Keirin Round 2 Heat 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tabago)
2Jack Carlin (Great Britain)
3Jair Tjon en Fa (Suriname)
4Maximilian Levy (Germany)
5Callum Saunders (New Zealand)
6Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom (Malaysia)

Men's Keirin Round 2 Heat 3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Yuta Wakimoto (Japan)
2Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)
3Kwesi Browne (Trinidad & Tabago)
4Matthew Glaetzer (Australia)
5Stefan Boetticher (Germany)
6Denis Dmitriev (Russian Olympic)

Men's Keirin Semifinal Heat 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
2Matthew Glaetzer (Australia)
3Jair Tjon en Fa (Suriname)
4Jack Carlin (Great Britain)
5Kwesi Browne (Trinidad & Tabago)
6Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia)

Men's Keirin Semifinal Heat 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)
2Maximilian Levy (Germany)
3Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
4Rayan Helal (France)
5Yuta Wakimoto (Japan)
DSQNicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tabago)

Men's Keirin Finals
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
2Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)
3Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
4Jair Tjon en Fa (Suriname)
5Matthew Glaetzer (Australia)
6Maximilian Levy (Germany)
7Yuta Wakimoto (Japan)
8Jack Carlin (Great Britain)
9Kwesi Browne (Trinidad & Tabago)
10Rayan Helal (France)
11Kevin Santiago Quintero Chavarro (Colombia)

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