Tao Li fails to make 100m butterfly final; Badminton’s Shinta and Yao Lei lose first match

Tao Li fails to make the top 8 in the 100m butterfly after finishing 10th out of 16 semi-finalists (Getty)Tao Li fails to make the top 8 in the 100m butterfly after finishing 10th out of 16 semi-finalists (Getty)

Singapore's swimming star Tao Li failed to qualify for the women's 100m butterfly finals at the London Olympics on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who is the Republic's best medal prospect in the pool, only managed to clock 58.18 seconds in the first semi-final held at the London Olympic Park's Aquatics Centre.

She finished fourth in her race, behind Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom (57.27s), Chinese duo Lu Ying (57.51s) and Jiao Liuyang (58.04s).

Despite managing to improve on the 58.34s timing she clocked during the morning heats, Tao's efforts placed her as the 10th fastest out of a field of 16 in the semi-finals. Only the top eight makes the final.

America's Dana Vollmer continued her hot streak when she clocked the fastest qualifying time of 56.36s. Following behind were Australia's Alicia Coutts (56.85s) and Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen (57.25s).

For Tao, her performance was a disappointment given that she had finished fifth in the same event at the last Games in Beijing four years ago.

She was also the first Singaporean swimmer to reach an Olympic final when she clocked a then-Asian record of 57.54s in the semi-finals in Beijing.

Speaking to local media after the semi-final, Tao attributed her disappointing performance this time to a change a coach last year.

"For my standard, had I not gone through a change of coach, I could have gone up a notch," she explained.

"Perhaps the timing (of the change) was just too short (to the Olympics). Nonetheless, I'm still happy to have been able to post these times today under such circumstances."

In August last year, she split with former coach Barry Prime as she felt the programme did not suit her, and current coach, Englishman Ian Turner was named a month later.

It was also Tao's second change of coach in as many years, she parted ways with Peter Churchill the previous year.

Singapore's Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari lost in their opening group match (Getty)Singapore's Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari lost in their opening group match (Getty)

Other updates

In badminton, Singapore's women's doubles pair of Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari lost their opening group match  to Chinese Taipei's duo Cheng Wen-hsing and Chien Yu-chin.

Yao and Shinta took the first set 21-18 but lost the next two 15-21, 15-21 in a match that lasted less than an hour.

They will next play against Japan's Mizuki Fuji and Reika Kakiiwa tonight (Singapore time).

Team Singapore's other shuttlers Gu Juan and Derek Wong will also play their first women's and men's singles group matches today.

Gu will square off against Slovakia's Monika Fasungova while Wong plays Israeli Misha Zilberman.