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Kayakers gold lifts Australia
By Paul Mulvey
21:34 AEST Thu Aug 9 2012

Australia has climbed into the top 10 on the Olympic medals table after four surf lifesavers resuscitated the country's reputation with kayaking gold.

Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jake Clear have grown from nippers to Olympic gold medallists, claiming an emphatic win in the men's K4 1000m at Eton Dorney on Thursday.

The sixth gold medal of the Games takes Australia past Kazakhstan in 10th place.

Smith, Smith, Stewart and Clear went into their final as one of the major contenders after taking silver at last year's world titles and setting the fastest time in the heats and semi-finals.

They led the race from start to finish, beating home Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Like so many Australian kayaking champions before them, including Olympic gold medallists Clint Robinson and Ken Wallace, the quartet learnt to paddle on surf skis on Sydney and Queensland beaches.

It was a sweet reward for the unrelated Smiths who both paddled in the K4 1000 boat which crashed out and failed to make the final in the 2008 Beijing Games.

David Smith said they were also motivated to atone for last year's world titles defeat to Germany where they were overpowered in the final 200m.

"The last 300 where we kicked, none of the crews came through so we knew had the gold and all we had to do was hold on," Smith said.

"Once we had 100 to go all of us started tightening up, started losing our rhythm but we just had enough boat speed to get through to the line and win gold.

"Always when you come second the year before you are a little bit more hungry and that result showed we were more hungry for it."

The youngest member of Australia's Olympic team, 16-year-old diver Brittany Broben, qualified alongside teammate Melissa Wu for the final of the women's 10m platform.

Broben was third in Thursday morning's semi-finals with Wu finishing fourth.

At the athletics, Australia missed out on a spot in the men's 4x400m relay final after finishing sixth in their heat on Thursday.

The men's basketball team fell to super-powers the United States, 119-86 in the quarter-final late on Wednesday night.

Australia may also collect a bonus bronze on Friday, albeit from the 2004 Olympics, with the IOC poised to formally strip American cyclist Tyler Hamilton of his time trial gold medal from Athens for a doping infringement.

Australia's Michael Rogers will be elevated from fourth to bronze, while the gold will go to retired Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov and American Bobby Julich will take the silver.

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