Fourth place agony again for Pontefract swimmer Max Litchfield in Tokyo Olympics
Pontefract's Max Litchfield agonisingly missed out on an Olympics medal when he finished in fourth place in the first swimming final of the Tokyo games.
Litchfield was swimming in his second Olympic final, having also reached the leading eight at Rio in the same event, and unbelievably finished one place outside the medals for the second successive Olympics.
The Loughborough-based swimmer was disappointed to only qualify for the final in eighth place and found himself behind after the butterfly opening leg of the medley when swimming in the outside lane.
He improved with his backstroke leg to be in contention in sixth and was in fifth after the breaststroke before the final 100m of freestyle saw Litchfield charge for a medal. He appeared to be heading for a bronze only to be just touched off at the finish, finishing in a time of four minutes, 10.59 seconds.
Max ended joint fourth with his old rival David Verraszto, of Hungary, just 0.21 seconds behind third-placed Australian Brendan Smith, with the USA's Chase Kalisz taking gold in 4:09.42 and Jay Litherland, of the USA, second in 4:10.28.
After the race, Max said: "I just couldn't do it at the end.
"Fourth again - it is what it is. But I've got more years in me and I'll come back, I'll be better next time.
"It's a step in the right direction after the last few years.
"I just had to get my head down and go for it. That's what I did - it just wasn't quite enough.
"That's sport sometimes, you just fall short. It's unfortunate for me that I keep coming fourth in these major events, but that's life.
"I've learned so much about my craft in the last few years and made some serious improvements. We go back and look at what we can do better."