A battling Toby Penty was defeated in the men’s singles round of 16 to end Team GB’s hope of a badminton medal at Tokyo 2020.
His opponent, the third seed Anders Antonsen, settled into the match quickly and took an early advantage, winning the first game 21-10.
The Walton-on-Thames player came into his own in the second game, going toe-to-toe with the Dane as he dictated rallies and pushed his opponent all the way.
Both players were dripping with sweat as they put their bodies on the line in pursuit of the win, with Penty’s fighting spirit clear at 17-14 as he forced Antonsen around the court to move within two points of his opponent.
It wasn’t to be for the Brit, however, as Antonsen eventually pulled away, winning the second set 21-15 and with it the match.
“There’s a bit of frustration,” Penty said. “I felt I was in there maybe more than the scoreline suggested.
“He is just a very good match player. He plays the situation so well and I felt that was a big difference today, when he needed to up his game he could.
“I struggled to just control the arena and really make a dent in him to build a few more points.
“One end was a lot faster than the other, especially in the second half of that second set I was just making too many errors out the backcourt.
“I felt like I was trying to do the right things but maybe I was just rushing it too much, which I haven’t done this week before that.
“That is what happens when you play top players. They make you rush and he played a good game today.”
Penty’s impressive showing continued in these knockout stages and he can hold his head high following masterful performances on his Olympic debut.
Earlier in the week, the 28-year-old surged into the elimination round after a stunning straight-games victory over Thai 14th seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
Today’s defeat was the first time Penty had dropped a game in this men’s singles competition after winning in straight games against Germany’s Kai Schaefer in his opening match.
Reflecting on his Olympic experience, he said: “I think it has been great. I am really satisfied on the whole with how I played and that is the main thing. I wanted to come out here and perform to my highest ability.
“Whether I lost my first match or went all the way to the final it didn’t matter to me, performing and feeling comfortable out there was the main thing and I have ticked those boxes.
“I’m happy and itching for more, hopefully in Paris.
“I’ve had a lot of support not just this last week but the last few years building up to the Olympics.
“I have had so many messages of support, both for my badminton and for other personal circumstances, and I am just very grateful for that.”
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Photos courtesy of Badminton Wire