Sport-in-brief - your weekly update from the high performance sports communitySubscribe
Grace Cullen 12 April 2012
Basketball: British Basketball has announced their preliminary Standard Life men’s squad, consisting of 21 hopefuls looking for a place at London 2012. NBA stars, Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons) and Byron Mullens (Charlotte Bobcats) have all confirmed their availability and commitment. Also returning to action for GB is power forward, Pops Mensah Bonsu who is having a brilliant season in Turkey with Besiktas. Joining him in the preliminary GB squad, and hoping to be part of the team's training camp in Houston this summer are established national team players Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald who have also enjoyed fantastic seasons in Spain's top flight and will be aiming for a final berth in head coach Chris Finch's squad.
Finch commented: "The GB basketball programme has come a long way since 2006 and the blend we have now of experienced talent with the younger guys is fantastic to see. We have the potential for a world class team who will surprise a few people this summer. The commitment from all our players to the programme once again is great and it's also good to see our strength and depth continuing to increase year on year."
Full GB preliminary squad: Kieron Achara, Ogo Adegboye, Robert Archibald, Eric Boateng, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Dan Clark, Luol Deng, Joel Freeland, Ben Gordon, Kyle Johnson, Mike Lenzly, Andrew Lawrence, Alex Marcotullio, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Byron Mullens, Sullivan Phillips, Nate Reinking, Ryan Richards, Ovie Soko, Andrew Sullivan, Devon Van Oostrum.
Boxing: GB Boxing has selected a team of seven men to compete in the second Olympic qualifying event in Trabzon, Turkey, 14-22 April 2012. The team covers all of the five weight categories where places are still available.
The boxers that have been selected are: Charlie Edwards (49kg), Josh Taylor (60kg), Sam Maxwell (60kg), Joe Cordina (60kg), Anthony Ogogo (75kg), Callum Smith (81kg), Warren Baister (91kg)
GB Boxing's Performance Director, Rob McCracken, said: 'There were some very tough calls to make in reaching a final decision at a couple of weights but in the end we have settled on those boxers whom we feel have the best chance of meeting the qualifying standard in what will be a very tough assignment.'
Canoeing: This weekend (13-15 April) sees both the GB Canoeing Sprint and Slalom squads take to the water in order to claim a place on the Olympic team at this summer’s Games. At the purpose built state of the art Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire, 50 of Britain’s best Canoe Slalom athletes will be battling it out over a three day race series with their eyes firmly focused on claiming an Olympic place.
The selection event consists of three races, with the best two race results to count towards selection. With only one boat per class able to qualify for 2012, the action is guaranteed to be tight as the athletes go all out on one of the world’s toughest courses, in order to beat their rivals, and win GB Canoeing’s nomination to Team GB.
Cycling (BMX): The second BMX Supercross World Cup takes place in Randaberg, Norway this weekend (13-14 April), following March’s opening round in Chula Vista, USA.
Cycling: The final three days of the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne brought further medal success for the GB squad. Victoria Pendleton regained her sprint title in dramatic fashion, following a fall in her semi-final against Australian Anna Meares, Pendleton faced Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite in the final. With Pendleton taking the first race, and Krupeckaite winning the second, the Lithuanian was disqualified, having been adjudged to have moved out of her sprinters line, handing Pendleton her sixth world sprint title.
In the men’s sprint, GB’s top two riders, Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, met in the semi-finals, with Kenny coming out on top and progressing to the final, setting up a match with France’s Gregory Bauge. Hoy went on to beat Australia’s Shane Perkins in the bronze medal race, but Kenny lost out to Bauge, claiming the silver medal.
Having already helped GB to the women’s team pursuit title, 19-year-old Laura Trott claimed her second gold medal of the championships, winning the omnium from Australia’s Annette Edmonson. Ben Swift won his second medal of the week, gaining silver in the non-Olympic points race.
On the final day of competition, Sir Chris Hoy took GB’s gold medal tally to six, winning the keirin in spectacular style, having been boxed until the final bend, when he found a gap and surged through to steal the title in a photo finish. Team mate Jason Kenny finished fourth but was promoted to the bronze medal position after Van Velthooven of New Zealand was relegated for entering the sprinter's lane when the opponent was already there.
Medals were also won in non-Olympic disciplines by Jess Varnish (bronze – 500m TT), Wendy Houvenaghel (silver – individual pursuit), Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas (silver – men’s madison), seeing GB finish second on the overall medal table behind Australia.
Gymnastics: Despite recently suffering a fractured finger, Olympic bronze medallist, Louis Smith, won silver on the pommel horse at the World Cup event in China. Smith scored 15.600 points but was beaten by Hungary's Krisztian Berki, with 15.750 points.
Gymnastics (trampoline): The 23rd trampoline, tumbling and double mini trampoline European Championships are due to take place in St Petersburg, Russia from the 10-14 April. The event will include 27 countries with a total of 569 gymnasts taking part in the Championships.
The last major competition for these disciplines was the World Championships in Birmingham in November 2011. Great Britain successfully secured a female individual trampoline place in the 2012 Olympic Games at the Championships after British Champion and World number one Katherine Driscoll claimed a finals spot finishing in seventh place.
Handball: Great Britain men saved their best performance until last in the Pinsent Masons’ London Handball Cup at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, narrowly losing out to Korea 25-29. After two defeats to world-class Argentina and Tunisia in the first couple of days, 32-15 and 41-15 respectively, the GB men turned on the style against the Koreans – none more so than Steven Larsson who used his height and skill in equal measure to score 14 goals for GB.
Tunisia won the event overall with two wins and a draw, while Korea finished second.
The GB men will now begin preparations for the qualification tournament for the 2014 European Championship in Italy from June 8-10, where they will face Switzerland and Greece as well as the host nation.
Modern Pentathlon: Athletes will be competing at the World Cup in Hungary this weekend (12-15 April) as they aim to impress ahead of squad selection for the British team for the World Championships in May.
ParalympicsGB: The British Paralympic Association has announced that 20 athletes from the three sports of Boccia, Judo and Powerlifting have been selected for ParalympicsGB for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, including the unusual selection of three sets of brothers; two in Judo and one in Boccia.
The athletes selected in Judo include the Ingram and Powell brothers. Sam Ingram won Paralympic bronze in Beijing which spurred on his brother Joe to return to the sport. Meanwhile Dan and Marc Powell are both selected for their first Games, but are no strangers to the Paralympics as their father Terry Powell competed in both Seoul and Atlanta. The squad is completed by Ben Quilter, current European and World Champion in the -60kg category.
The Boccia brothers of Peter and Stephen McGuire will compete in the BC4 event and are part of a nine strong squad that includes reigning Paralympic gold medallists in the BC1/BC2 Team event Nigel Murray, David Smith, Dan Bentley and Zoe Robinson.
In Powerlifting, the six strong squad includes world record holder Anthony Peddle, who is selected for his seventh Paralympic Games.
British Paralympic Association
Sailing: Olympic champion Ben Ainslie claimed Finn gold at the Princess Sofia World Cup Regatta in Palma with a day to spare. Ainslie’s day started in dramatic fashion, when a collision on the startline left him needing to find a replacement boat. However, the 35-year-old regained composure and finished third in the race, to amass an unassailable 35 point lead ahead of the final 10-boat double points-scoring medal race on the final day of competition.
Helena Lucas, the three-time World Championship bronze medallist, capped off a consistent week by claiming silver in the 2.4mR event – the only one of the three Paralympic classes to be contested at this first European World Cup regatta of the season – with gold going to Dutchman Thierry Schmitter.
The final day of competition saw GB win two silver medals to claim the top nation spot in Palma. Paul Goodison claimed the first medal of the day for Skandia Team GBR in the Laser. Trailing the German Simon Grotelueschen by seven points heading into the final 10-boat race, Goodison had to try and get three boats between himself and the series leader to have a chance of gold but Grotelueschen got ahead of him early on the first beat and managed to hold on for the remainder of the race.
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson missed out on Star class by the narrowest of margins to Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada. Just twelve points separated the top seven boats heading into the finale, leading to a tense battle for the medals and with Percy and Simpson poised just outside of the top three spots going into the final day. The British duo fought hard to finished the medal race in second, but overnight leaders Scheidt and Prada crossed in fourth and did just enough to keep hold of gold by one point.
“It’s pleasing to be top nation here at the first European World Cup of the season. Ben’s performance was clearly sensational, but it hasn’t been plain sailing for any of our sailors this week,” said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park of his charges’ performances.
“We’ve seen over the last few years that our international competition is getting tougher, and I’d say this is the first regatta where a few things have not gone our way – especially at the beginning of the week – for some of our selected Olympians.
“There are nine competing classes here, and nine different countries won the gold medals which reflects that increasing competition and serves as a reminder that no-one can rest on their laurels.”
Royal Yachting Association
Table Tennis: A six-strong GB team are competing at the European Olympic Qualification tournament in Luzembourg this week (11-15 April). While GB has six automatic spots for the Olympic Games, several players will be looking to qualify by right.
English Table Tennis Association - On behalf of British Table Tennis Federation
Triathlon: The ITU World Series begins in Sydney on Saturday (14 April). Britain’s Brownlee brothers will not compete but world champion Helen Jenkins hope to be in contention.
Weightlifting: Commonwealth bronze medallist Zoe Smith achieved the Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard at the European Championships in Turkey. The 17-year-old totalled 208kg, 4kg over her personal best, but just missed out on a podium finish. Smith, who has competed in the -63kg class for the past two years, was competing in the -58kg class after moving down.
Wheelchair Tennis: Peter Norfolk and Andy Lapthorne won the Florida Open quad doubles title as the second Super Series tournament on the 2012 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour drew to a close on Sunday in Boca Raton. The second seeds, whose first career doubles title as a partnership came at the 2009 ITF1 Florida Open before it gained Super Series status, beat American top seeds and defending champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner 6-3, 6-1. The win is their second Super Series crown after also claiming the 2011 British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships title last July.