Sport-in-brief- your weekly update from the high performance sports communitySubscribe
Grace Cullen 05 December 2012
Athletics: Three of Britain’s Olympians have confirmed their participation in the Glasgow and Birmingham indoor legs of the world-class 2013 British Athletics Series, with Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz world indoor pole vault bronze medallist Holly Bleasdale and world indoor long jump bronze medallist Shara Proctor all set to compete at both events.
All three Olympic finalists will firstly grace Glasgow’s brand new Emirates Arena on Saturday 26 January for the British Athletics International Match. The Match’s unique five team format will see a Great British squad go head-to-head over an afternoon of world-class athletics with the USA, Russia, Germany and a Commonwealth Select team in the first international athletics event at the 5,000 seat arena.
The three stars will then compete at what is widely regarded as the best indoor meet in the world, the British Athletics Grand Prix at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA) on Saturday 16 February.
Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz said: “I can’t wait to get back to competing in the new year. I’ve been training hard over the autumn and winter months so will hopefully have some really strong performances in store for the British Athletics Series.”
Boxing: An Olympic silver medalist and three reigning European Champions will box in the British Lionhearts’ next home fixture against the German Eagles at Earl’s Court in London, after the line-ups for the team’s next two encounters were announced.
Olympic silver medalist, Fred Evans, will compete alongside his fellow European champions Andrew Selby and Joe Ward in the Earl’s Court fixture on Friday 14 December 2012. They will be joined by Liverpool’s Sam Maxwell who will make his World Series of Boxing debut at lightweight and London’s Joe Joyce who will compete at heavyweight.
Tickets prices start at £20 and offers are available. Tickets can be purchased at www.britishlionhearts.com/tickets.
On the Saturday before, Scotland’s London Olympian, Josh Taylor, his countryman, Aston Brown and 2010 European Championship bronze medalist, Gamal Yafai, will make their first appearances in the World Series of Boxing when the Lionhearts take on Astana Arlans Kazakhstan in Kazakhstan.
Rob McCracken, Performance Director of the British Lionhearts said: “We have started very well with a couple of good victories but the team is now facing two very tough fixtures. The boxers have been training well and we have some excellent talents in both teams however we are taking nothing for granted and know this is going to be a couple of very hard contests.”
British Paralympic Association: The British Paralympic Association this week launched ParalympicsGB SportsFest, a free event for disabled people, with the opportunity to try out different sports, find out how to get involved, and meet some of GB’s Paralympic medal winners.
Gymnastics: Britain's Daniel Purvis won the silver medal at the Stuttgart World Cup in Germany.
Purvis competed alongside team mate Kristian Thomas and six other top gymnasts from around the world. Both proved that they can mix with the world's best after their historic Olympic team bronze success, with Purvis clinching the silver (89.397) behind Germany's Marcel Nguyen (90.232) and in front of Russia’s David Belyavskiy in bronze (89.298), with Kristian Thomas in seventh.
The next stop for both Brits will be the season-ending Glasgow World Cup this Saturday (8 Dec).
Purvis said: “I was very happy with finishing second especially with such high level competitors there. Barcelona was a good indication on how well my fitness was and finishing second there really gave me confidence going into Stuttgart. I’m very excited about Glasgow, it will be my last competition this year and I am hoping to put in a great performance in front of a home crowd and finish this year on a high.”
Hockey: A goal from Mark Gleghorne helped England to a 1-1 draw against New Zealand in their final Pool A match at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne. The 27 year old’s quick reactions in the 11th minute saw him give England an early lead, which they held for much of the match until Phil Burrows’ late equaliser for the Black Sticks.
The result, coupled with Germany's 3-2 win over India and Australia's 1-0 win over Pakistan, means England finish third in Pool A and will now take on hosts Australia, the Olympic bronze medallists, in the quarter finals.
Short Track Speed Skating: Britain’s Elise Christie won the 1,000m at the World Cup event in Japan, before also claiming silver in the 1,500m to confirm her position as World Cup leader.
Christie said: “I’m chuffed because you can be never sure of the result in speed skating until you’re over the line, and it was a big relief that everything went to plan! It’s great to finally have a gold after being so close in the last two rounds.”
Performance Director of GB Short Track, Stuart Horsepool said: “Elise coped immensely well with the added pressure of being world number one and responded with a dominant performance. The fact she was able to do this is a really good sign because it shows she has the physicality, and now she's really developing her other skills as well.”
Taekwondo: Bianca Walkden reclaimed her French Open title in Paris, stunning Spain's former World and European champion, Rosana Simon, in the +67 kg final.
A 3-0 victory was her 10th in succession during a five week period in which she also captured the Serbia and Swiss Open titles.
Walkden's French triumph included a semi-final defeat of South Korea's World silver medallist, An Sae Bom.
And with Mancunian Jordan Gayle (-68kg) and Nottingham's Ruebyn Richards (-80kg) securing bronze medals, the Brits enjoyed their stay in the French capital.
Triathlon: British Triathlon has announced the appointment of Brendan Purcell as the new Performance Director, and Ben Bright as the new Head Coach to work alongside Brendan.
Brendan has worked with elite sports programmes for over ten years, including a role leading High Performance Diving in Australia. He then joined the GB Canoe Sprint programme prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, and at the London 2012 Olympics, he led the coaching team supporting the successful medal-winning GB Canoe Sprint team.
Ben, a previous Junior World Triathlon Champion, coached a number of World Championship winning triathletes before taking on the role of Men’s Olympic Coach within the British Triathlon Olympic Performance Group - a group created in May 2011 to focus solely on the British Triathlon Olympic Squad and who helped successfully guide the squad to British Triathlon’s best ever results in the Olympic Games.
On appointing Brendan and Ben, British Triathlon Chief Executive Zara Hyde Peters OBE said: “I am delighted to introduce Brendan as our new Performance Director and Ben into a new permanent role as Head Coach.
“Brendan’s background of working with elite athletes within an Olympic multi-medal winning programme is exceptional. He has shown he has the essential skills to be an excellent leader of the programme supporting our Lottery funded elite athletes and I have great faith in what he will achieve.
“Ben’s experience in Olympic discipline elite triathlon is recognised throughout this country and the world. He is greatly respected amongst those he has worked with – both athletes and coaches. This respect is well deserved and will contribute massively to his success in fulfilling the Head Coach role alongside Brendan.
“I believe that in appointing both Brendan and Ben, British Triathlon will successfully address the challenges that lie ahead for the World Class programme and will continue to ensure that the GB Triathlon team leads the World.”
Wheelchair Tennis: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced the return of international tennis to the London 2012 Olympic Park after leading British charity, the Tennis Foundation, was awarded the rights to stage the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in 2014-2016.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is the ITF’s official year-end wheelchair tennis championship, with an elite field featuring the top eight men, eight women and four quad players in the wheelchair world rankings.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “We are delighted that wheelchair tennis will become one of the first sports to build on the legacy of London 2012 by using facilities at the Olympic Park. The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is one of the most prestigious events on the circuit, and its staging in London will help us in our efforts to promote the sport. After the spectacular success of this year’s Paralympic Tennis Event, British fans can look forward to the return of some outstanding athletes to London.”
The event is part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series, an ambitious programme to bring major international sporting events to the UK.
Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said: “We are delighted to have secured the 2014 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. This is the second Paralympic event to join UK Sport’s Gold Event Series – and the first to be staged at a London 2012 venue – building on the legacy our home Games.”