UK Sport Talk

Published 23 November 2015

2015 Getty Images

Thursday 26 November

Para-Sailing: Britain’s Paralympic sailors are anticipating the most hotly-contested World Championships of this cycle when racing gets underway at the Para Sailing World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

The regatta, which runs from 28 November - 3 December, is the final Paralympic qualification event for country spots for 2016 – and with sailing having been removed from the Paralympic Games programme for Tokyo 2020, the race for Rio has added significance in addition to the usual pressures of a world title chase.

The British Sailing Team has already secured Rio qualification across the three Paralympic classes – the one-person 2.4mR, the two-person SKUD and the three-person Sonar – with London 2012 2.4mR gold medallist Helena Lucas also having earned individual selection as the first named athlete for ParalympicsGB in April this year.

While her own 2016 berth is assured, Lucas knows this World Championship will be an important regatta in the Games build-up, with some 142 sailors from 31 nations set to compete across the three classes.

“The event will certainly be a tough and very important one with several countries and people trying to qualify for the Games, and others looking to lay down the gauntlet with less than a year to go until Rio. It will be an interesting one for sure!”

“It’s a World Championship, so you always have the goal to be on the podium and definitely my sights are firmly set on that,” continued the Paralympic Champion, who will race in the 51-boat one-person 2.4mR fleet in which Britain’s Megan Pascoe and Will Street will also compete.

For more info: Royal Yachting Association

Judo: Nekoda Davis took home a well-deserved silver medal today in Korea, at the final Grand Prix competition of the year. The silver medal takes Nekoda’s medal tally to three for the season. 

A number of excellent performances on the way to the final were capped by a significant win over 2013 World Champion, Rafaela Silver. However, Jan-Di Kim of Korea was able to channel the support of a home crowd and halt Nekoda in the final. In a close fought contest, it was a yuko score from Kim that took the win and the gold medal, leaving Britain's Davis to settle for the silver.

Speaking on the win Davis said: "I'm happy to be back on the rostrum and looking forward to competing and training in Japan next week."

Elite Performance coach Kate Howey added: "Nekoda fought well today and it's good to see her confidence grow fight by fight as she hit form. This sets her up nicely for the Japan Grand Slam next week and as always at the moment it is 180 points towards qualification for Rio"

For more info: British Judo

Powerlifting: Ali Jawad won gold at the IPC Powerlifting European Championships in Hungary.

Jawad finished second in the Open competition behind Hu Peng of China, but came away with the title for the European Championships in the 65kg event.

Find out more: British Weightlifting

WeightliftingZoe Smith broke two British records at the weightlifting World Championships yesterday, boosting her chances of achieving a quota place for Rio 2016 qualification.

Smith set a new snatch personal best of 97kg in the -63kg weight division to finish nine overall while her 124kg clean and jerk and overall total of 221kg also set a new British Record.

Meanwhile, Smith’s teammate Rebekah Tiler, who usually competes at -69kg, was 13th at the event in Houston.

Great Britain and Northern Ireland now need to achieve more ranking points at the European Championships in April 2016 to secure a place in Rio.

Find out more: British Weightlifting

Wednesday 25 November

SailingGiles Scott advanced to the top of the leaderboard on a truncated second of day of Finn Gold Cup racing in Takapuna, New Zealand.

The defending world champion won the only race of the two originally scheduled races in a light and decaying breeze to take the yellow jersey and a 16 point lead into Thursday’s third day of competition.

Ed Wright, the 2014 bronze medallist and 2010 Gold Cup winner, retained overall third with a tenth place from his race.

Find out more: British Sailing Team

Tuesday 24 November

Disability Table TennisThe GB Para Table Tennis Team picked up three medals in the team events on the final day of the PTT China Open. Sue Gilroy and her partner Bhavina Patel from India took silver in the women’s class 4-5 team, Aaron McKibbin, with team partners Kim Daybell and Billy Shilton, added a bronze in men’s class 8-10 team to the gold he won in men’s class 8 singles and Jack Hunter-Spivey, partnered by Rafal Lis from Poland, added a bronze in men’s class 5 team to the silver he won in the singles.

Find out more: BTTAD

Monday 23 November 

Sailing: Charlotte Dobson proclaimed the push for Rio 2016 is ‘full steam ahead’ after claiming a fifth place finish with Sophie Ainsworth at the 49erFX World Championships, which drew to a close in San Isidro, Argentina, on Saturday (21 November).

The British pairing improved on their seventh at the 2014 World Championships in Santander and although Dobson admits they were disappointed not have pushed into the podium spots in the pivotal final medal race, she says the duo has made great strides in recent months, giving them confidence as the Rio Games draw closer.

“We’re a little bit disappointed not to have been able to move up into the medals, but to be honest I think fifth place pretty much reflects where we feel we are right now in the fleet. And actually we’re pretty happy with that,” said Helenburgh’s Dobson of their World Championship experience.

“It’s been really, really good to have our next coach Mark [Asquith] come in in the last month. We’ve worked really well as a team and actually that was a real important factor in pulling through the week and in making a good finals series. 

“It will be really exciting to see what we can do as a team from here on in.”

For more info: Royal Yachting Association

Archery: Patrick Huston won recurve gold for Britain at the Indoor Archery World Cup in Marrakesh.

Huston qualified in second spot before defeating Spain's Guillermo Diaz Linares, Ege Yildirim of Turkey 6-2, German Cedric Rieger 6-4 and Frenchman Lucas Daniel, winning the semi-final 6-4.

Huston then saw off fifth seed Matteo Fissore of Italy, winning gold with a 6-4 scoreline.

Meanwhile, other British archers Adeel Quadir, Alex Smith and Edward McDermott all made the final 32. Nicky Hawkins, Leslie Day, Michael Clarke and Ghassan Alusi put in solid performances but missed out on the final cut.

Find out more: Archery GB

Judo: Gemma Gibbons won bronze at the Qingdao Grand Prix in China on Sunday. 

Gibbons (-78kg) defeated Anastasiya Dmitrieva in the repechage before beating Russian Alena Kachorovskaya to secure the bronze secure another 120 points towards Rio qualification.

Andy Burns (-90kg) also kept up his push for Rio Olympic qualification as he finished in seventh. 

Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) and Sarah Adlington (+78kg) were both in action on the final day in Qingdao with Chamberlain defeating Christian Schmidt (ARG) in his first contest by ippon before losing out to Kenta Nagawasa (JPN) who would go onto win gold. Adlington went out in the first round losing to Sisi Ma (CHN) after being scored against for ippon.

Find out more: British Judo

Rowing: Alex Gregory and Heather Stanning were named rowing’s “Olympic Athletes of the Year” at the GB Rowing Teams’ dinner in London on Saturday. Both are already Olympic Champions and have had an outstanding 2015. 

Stanning was crowned 2015 World and European Champion as well as overall world cup winner with Helen Glover in the women’s pair. They now remain unbeaten as a women’s pair internationally since 2012. Stanning and Glover were also crowned as World Rowing's "World Female Crew of the Year" over the weekend.

“Heather displays an exemplary attitude of hard work, self-discipline, teamwork in all that she does and thoroughly deserves this accolade”, said Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director.

Gregory raced to World Championships gold in a dramatic final which saw the GB men’s eight hold off their rivals and reigning Olympic Champions, Germany. 

For the 31 year-old, who learnt to row at Evesham Rowing Club, it was a fifth World title won across the men’s four and eight and a fourth consecutive gold since 2011 - there being no World Championships for the Olympic boats in the Olympic year. His Olympic gold came in 2012 in the men’s four as part of Super Saturday.

“Alex is an outstanding technician, respected as a great team player and highly successful with three World Championship titles since his Olympic Gold in 2012”, said Tanner. “He is a stand-out candidate to receive this award”.

For more info: British Rowing

Disability Table Tennis: Paralympic medalist Aaron McKibbin beat the Chinese World number two Ye Chao Qun to win gold in the men’s class 8 singles at the PTT China Open in Bejing on Sunday and there was further success for the GB Para Table Tennis team as Jack Hunter-Spivey took silver in men’s class 5.

McKibbin, who won team bronze in London 2012, reached the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Arufuahirokazu Tateishi from Japan and a 3-1 defeat of the former European champion Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland took him through to the final against Ye. The 24 year old Sheffield based Londoner produced a great performance to beat the former World champion 3-1 and help to secure his qualification for Rio next year.

“I’m very happy to get my first big result of the season,” said McKibbin. “Beating the Chinese in China is never easy but I think I played well and positively and I’m just happy to get the victory.”

For more info: BTTAD

Wheelchair Tennis: Nicolas Peifer of France and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands won the men’s and women’s singles titles on a dramatic last day of the 2015 Nottingham Indoor Wheelchair Tennis Tournament when both singles finals went to three sets.

Peifer came from 3-0 down to take the opening set of the men’s singles final against Britain’s defending champion and world No. 4 Gordon Reid before Reid raced the through the second set for the loss of just the second game. However, Peifer built a 3-0 lead in the decider and went on to complete a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory.

“I’ve very happy to win here in Nottingham. I played a patient game today and made sure I kept the ball in court and when I thought had the chances to go for the winners I went for it. It is very good for my confidence ahead of the Masters,” said world No. 3 Peifer, runner-up at the 2014 NEC Masters, the ITF’s season-end wheelchair tennis singles championship.

“I was hitting some good shots in the first set but just didn’t play too smart at times and gave him balls that he likes and he took advantage,” said Reid. “I played a lot smarter in the second set, but then he just took his chances when he had them in the decider and he played a good match. That said, I’m happy with much of my play and this is a good warm up for the Masters. That’s the one I really want to win.”

World No.9 de Groot, who started the tournament unseeded, beat top seed Brit Jordanne Whiley 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to clinch her first ITF 1 Series singles title.

For more info: Tennis Foundation

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