It's Katherine the great, at last

It's Katherine the great, at last

Great Britain's Katherine Grainger (left) and Anna Watkins celebrate winning gold in the women's double sculls

Jessica Ennis began her Olympic heptathlon campaign with a record time in the hurdles

Rebecca Adlington looks to be in golden form

First published in National News © by

Katherine Grainger has finally realised her Olympic dream and captured the nation's hearts as she branded her first gold the "people's medal".

Grainger feared she would always be the bridesmaid at the Games after clocking up three consecutive silver medals. But she put those days behind her as she stormed to victory at Eton Dorney with her double sculls partner, Anna Watkins.

Their stunning victory gave yet another boost to Britain, pushing Team GB up to fourth in the medals table with 19 - six gold, six silver and seven bronze.

It came just hours after Britain's Jessica Ennis made a sensational start in the heptathlon, setting a new record in the 100m hurdles which propelled her to the top of the leader board.

On the water, the rowing duo were roared to victory over Australia in a thrilling race which saw them lead from the start. The scene could not have been further removed from the devastating defeat in Beijing four years ago when Grainger, 36, missed out on gold. Then, she was left distraught and contemplating retirement.

Their win followed more rowing triumph for Team GB which came when George Nash and William Satch took bronze in the men's pair and Alan Campbell took bronze in the men's single sculls.

Another bronze went to veteran British judo heavyweight Karina Bryant, who finally claimed an Olympic medal in a fight against Iryna Kindzerska of Ukraine.

Back at Stratford, a rapturous crowd in the Olympic Stadium saw Ennis embark on the biggest two days of her sporting life in glorious style.

In the first day of athletics at the Games, only a handful of seats in the 80,000-capacity arena were empty as the 26-year-old recorded the fastest time ever for the 100m hurdles, smashing her personal best with an exhilarating run of 12.54 seconds. A sensational performance in the high jump followed, giving the athlete a 25-point lead after two events.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Adlington is also looking to become the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title in the 800m final.

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