Sport-in-brief - your weekly update from the high performance sports communitySubscribe
Grace Cullen 25 October 2012
Athletics: UKA has announced the appointment of renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters to the UKA Performance team.
Peters, who has spent the last decade working as an integral member of the successful British Cycling team, is the first significant hire under the leadership of UKA’s Performance Director Neil Black.
Dr Peters will work closely with Black on driving forward the winning culture of the sport, as well as focusing on selected athletes. He will also lead a team of handpicked sports psychologists who will work with all athletes on the World Class Performance Programme.
World and Olympic Champions Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton have both credited Dr Peters with having played a significant role in their success. Dr Peters, who will continue to work with British Cycling in a consultancy role, met the British athletics team for the first time on Friday.
Commenting on his appointment Dr Peters said: “I’m very excited to be joining the British athletics team and I am looking forward to working with the coaches and athletes on the road to Rio.
“It’s a fantastic time to be involved in athletics and Neil Black is a great appointment as Performance Director. I will work hard to support him as he strives to maximise the team’s performance over the next four years.”
Neil Black, UKA Performance Director said: “We are delighted to welcome Steve to the team, he is undoubtedly one of the world’s best sports psychiatrists. He will add significant value and we must harness his expertise as we move forward and build towards greater success in the coming Olympic cycle.”
Also joining Dr Peters on the UKA sports psychology team are Sarah Broadhead and Dr Neville Warnke.
Handball: A 15-man Great Britain handball squad will travel to Greece next Monday (29 Oct) to prepare for the opening clash of the Men’s Euro 2016 qualification campaign.
The team is a good mix of new talent and experienced players from the London 2012 Olympics, and will take on Greece on Wednesday, October 31, in the opening clash of a three-team group.
National champions Salford provide eight of the squad which will head to Loutraki, while others are plying their trade across Europe in Switzerland, France, and Denmark.
The team will train three times in Greece prior to the clash at the Stadium Georgios Galanopoulos (1730 CET), and following their return to the UK will begin their preparations for two home matches in April against Italy and Greece (venues and exact dates TBC).
Squad for Greece:
Rob Avery (GK) Salford, 20
Bob White (GK) No Club, 29
Nick Satchwell (GK) Basel, 21
Mark Hawkins (LW) No Club, 28
Jake Williams (LW) Salford, 22
Sebastien Edgar (RW) Valence, 21
Aden Woodall (RW) Salford, 22
Chris McDermott, (PV) Salford, 24
Simon Wittlin, (PV) Salford, 26
Rafik Tahraoui (PV) Salford, 25
Jack Hennessy (LB) Salford, 22
Gawain Vincent (RB) Bordeaux, 22
Ciaran Williams (PM) No Club, 24
Matt Lee (DEF) Salford, 22
Ryan Goodwin (PM) Aarhus GF, 18
Sailing: Paralympic SKUD stars Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, and quadruple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie claimed top honours at the Skandia Team GBR Annual Prize Giving Dinner.
Rickham and Birrell picked up the inaugural RYA Paralympic Classes Athlete of the Year trophy, and the overall Skandia Team GBR Athlete of the Year title following their Paralympic bronze medal-winning performance, a fourth consecutive World Championship title, and one gold and two silver medals on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit during 2012.
Meanwhile Ainslie, who this summer became the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, claimed the British Olympic Association’s Athlete of the Year Trophy for Sailing, for the third time and the second consecutive year. In addition to his fourth Olympic gold, Ainslie also claimed the Finn Gold Cup for a record sixth time on his home waters in Falmouth this year as well as a gold and a silver on the World Cup circuit.
Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Manager, commented: “This year’s Skandia Team GBR annual awards dinner was a little bigger than usual, as we’re celebrating not only our achievements in 2012 but also across this Olympic cycle and so many people have played a part in those successes.
“2012 was a fantastic year for British sport which will live long in the memory, so it’s important for us as a team to take the time to celebrate together, to look back on what was achieved while also hopefully inspiring and motivating some of our younger sailors towards Rio and beyond, and to them achieving their dreams as well.”
Ainslie added: “The awards evening’s a great way to bring the whole team together. I think what people don’t see is all the hard work that goes on in the background making it happen – all the support staff, coaches and administrative staff.
“It’s a huge team and this evening’s a great way to really celebrate that and say thank you to everyone for all the support.”
Speed Skating: Elise Christie opened her 2012-2013 campaign with a dominating performance at the ISU World Cup opening event in Calgary. Christie won a silver medal in the 1000m (1), and narrowly missed out on a second medal in the 1000m (2) after a fall in the final stages of the race.
This weekend’s ISU World Cup gave Elise the unique chance to race her best distance twice, as this stage offered two 1000m events, one on each day. Christie, being the only skater at the event to compete in both the 1000m finals, is now ranked number one in the world in the 1000m.
Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director of GB Short Track, commented: “The standard of racing this weekend has been very high, and Elise has shown great self-belief in her racing. She has been very dominant and has actually been skating away from people, which is very difficult in the 1000m.
“She has committed to each race, and whilst she was disappointed after her second final, she will be able to take a lot of confidence away from this weekend, in both her race strategies and her ability to cope with the high workloads of competition weekends.”
Taekwondo: Bianca Walkden enjoyed a winning return to international action after a six month absence.
The former world number two from Liverpool defeated fellow GB Academy star, Stephanie Allen, en route to victory at the Serbia Open.
Walkden, who hadn't fought since missing a medal at the European Championships in Manchester back in May, defeated home favourite Ana Bajic 8-3 to strike gold in the +73 kg weight division.
Victory over the Junior World Championship silver medallist brought Walkden her first title since winning the British Open in Manchester last September.
It included a 13-1 semi-final success over Londoner Allen, who collected bronze, in the penultimate round.
And there were medals also for team mates, Ruebyn Richards and Georgia Barnes, as the squad step up preparations for the prestigious French Open in Paris in December.
Richards, from Nottingham, dropped only three points in reaching the final of the -80kg weight category. His hat-trick of wins contained an impressive semi-final stoppage of Norway's Tor Lovseth in the second round.
However, the 19-year-old, a Croatian Open silver medallist last season, had to settle for second again, beaten by local favourite, Stojan Tabijac, who successfully retained his crown.
National junior champion Barnes, 16, is one of GB Taekwondo's rising stars. And the BTS Taekwondo youngster showed her class by winning gold in the -49kg division to complete a productive weekend for the squad and coach Joseph Salim.
Triathlon: Jonathan Brownlee won the ITU world title in Auckland, New Zealand, succeeding his brother, Alistair as champion. He was narrowly beaten into second place in a sprint finish at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final race by Javier Gomez, but only needed to finish in the top three to win the title.
Brownlee’s record this season has included three World Triathlon Series victories, two second places and third at the Olympic Games. This gave him a gap of almost 90 points over Javier Gomez in the Series and secured his first senior world title.
He said: “It’s good to keep the title in the family, it’s pretty special. At the start of the year if someone had said year that Alistair would be Olympic champion, I’d be Olympic bronze medallist and I’d be world champion too I’d definitely take that.
“I’ve definitely been in my brother’s shadow up to now. It’s nice not to have him here and take the race to other people but it’s been a tough weekend; not having Alistair here there’s more pressure on me.”
There was further British success in the women’s U23 race, with Non Stanford claiming the world title. She beat Holland's Sarissa De Vries in an exciting head to head race to the finish.
London 2012 Olympian, Lucy Hall, led out the swim and Stanford worked hard after the exiting the water to ride up to the lead group and she took control of the race from there. She was frequently in the lead on the bike and immediately took up the lead with De Vries on the run.
The pair ran together for 9km before Stanford pushed the pace and claimed the world title.
Stanford said: "It was a quality field out there with really strong runners. I struggled on the first few laps of the bike but I managed to ride up to the lead group.
"I got on the run and kept my head down and eventually broke free.
"It was the dream scenario, but never has one of my race plans gone to plan! For it to actually go right for once is absolutely unbelievable. It happened on the right day!"