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Australia’s gold medal hopes still alive

Medal hope Anna Meares, right, will go head to head with rival Victoria Pendleton, left, in the women’s sprint. Credit: Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

While it’s been doom and gloom for the Australians in London so far, there’s still plenty to come and plenty of chances for gold.

As we come to the business end of the team sports, there are several Australian teams in with a genuine shot of topping the podium.

The Stingers, Australia’s women’s water polo team, have secured a spot in the semi final and look a good shot to go a couple better than their Beijing bronze.

Undefeated in their pool, the Stingers scraped through their quarter final against China to set up a semi-final with the USA on Wednesday.

If victorious against the Americans, the girls will play for the gold at 5am on Friday morning AEST.

Another successful and highly decorated women’s team, the Opals, will play their quarter final against China at 1.15am Wednesday AEST.

After stumbling to a shot defeat at the hands of France early in the competition, the Opals look to have found their feet.

Unfortunately, the girls are in the same half of the bracket as powerhouses USA and if they get through China, will have to beat the best in the world just for a shot at gold.

But, with the confidence of Liz Cambage rising by the minute and Lauren Jackson white hot, Australia has the talent to take it right up to the US.

Inspirational track cyclist Anna Meares will go head to head with bitter rival Victoria Pendleton in the women’s sprint race at 2.30am Wednesday morning AEST.

Meares has an uphill task against her, with Pendleton in scintillating form and peaking at the right time.

But we all know just how tough Anna Meares is.

This is a woman who broke her neck in a crash, narrowly avoided becoming a quadriplegic, and got back on the bike just two weeks after.

If there’s one thing she knows, it’s triumphing over adversity.

Despite the early hour, it’s an event well worth getting up for.

Also on the bikes, albeit of a very different variety, we have BMX young guns Caroline Buchanan and Sam Willoughby.

Willoughby is reigning world champion and Buchanan was ranked number one in the world as recently as May.

The BMX team just might be able to deliver the Gold Rush the track cyclists haven’t.

The women’s BMX final is at 1.30am on Saturday with the men’s following shortly after at 1.40am.

Steve Hooker, reigning world champion in the pole vault, might be out of form at the moment but look for him to throw down and bring his best when he jumps this week.

The men’s final kicks off at 4am Saturday.

Oh, and also in athletics, there’s a hurdler you might have heard of by the name of Sally Pearson.

Pearson made a huge statement in her Monday morning heat, posting the fastest ever heat time -12.57.

She hits the track at 6am Wednesday morning.

Erin Byrnes, in London

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