Sport-in-brief - your weekly update from the high performance sports communitySubscribe
Grace Cullen 29 November 2012
Athletics: A 36-strong Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team will head to this year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday 9 December looking to reinforce its status as Europe’s top cross country nation by defending the four team titles won 12 months ago when the entire squad returned with medals.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year: The 12-strong shortlist for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year includes 11 Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists.
Full list: Nicola Adams (boxing), Ben Ainslie (sailing), Jessica Ennis (athletics), Mo Farah (athletics), Katherine Grainger (rowing), Sir Chris Hoy (cycling), Rory McIlroy (golf), Andy Murray (tennis), Ellie Simmonds (disability swimming), Sarah Storey (para-cycling), David Weir (disability athletics), Bradley Wiggins (cycling)
Bobsleigh: Competing in the third round of the FIBT World Cup in Whistler, GB’s four-man team of John James Jackson, Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon finished fifth, meaning they now sit fourth in the overall rankings.
Paula Walker and Gillian Cooke achieved a sixth place finish in the two-woman event.
John James Jackson and John Baines finished 15th in the two-man event.
Boxing: Fred Evans capped a triumphant homecoming for Wales’ Olympic boxers tonight as the British Lionhearts defeated reigning champions Dolce & Gabanna, 4-1, in the World Series of Boxing at Celtic Manor, in Newport.
Olympic silver medalist Evans defeated Michel Tavares with a split decision in the middleweight category whilst his countrymen and fellow Olympian, Andrew Selby, eased past Italy’s Daniele Limone at bantamweight.
Victories for Joe Ward at light heavyweight and Joe Joyce at heavyweight made it two wins from two for the Lionhearts. The only disappointment of the evening came at lightweight where Ireland’s Olympic silver medallist lost a split decision to 21-year-old Branimir Stankovic from Serbia.
Fred Evans said: “It was great to be back in front of my home crowd and I was just delighted to secure the win as I have not been back in training for too long. I enjoyed the new format and I will only get stronger in the World Series of Boxing once I get back to top-level fitness.”
The next fixture for the British Lionhearts is away to the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on 7 December 2012.
The next home fixture is against Germany Eagles at Earl’s Court in London on Friday 14 December 2012. Tickets are available at www.britishlionhearts.com/tickets.
Gymnastics: Olympic bronze medallist Daniel Purvis has been added to the line-up for the forthcoming artistic gymnastics Glasgow World Cup held on December 8 at the Emirates Arena.
Purvis who hails from Southport and competes for Scotland through his parents, has been called up as replacement for Brazilian gymnast Sergio Sasaki Junior. Dan won the event in 2011 and is looking forward to returning to action on home soil after a 2012 to remember.
He said: “I’m really excited to be competing in Glasgow again - it’s the prefect end to an amazing year. The Olympics was the most incredible experience of my life and a huge part of that was down to the support of the home fans and I know it will be the same at the World Cup especially with it being in the brand new Emirates Arena. Last year I was fortunate enough to win the competition and I’ll be doing my best to be right up there again this time but looking at the amazing line-up I know it will be a big test.”
Rowing: The Council of British Rowing has elected a new Chairman to succeed Di Ellis, CBE.
Annamarie Phelps is now named as British Rowing’s Chairman designate and will take up the role when Di Ellis steps down at the end of February 2013.
Previously an international stroke Di Ellis took the helm as Chairman, later Executive Chairman, in 1989, agreeing to continue for a further term of office in 2009 to see the sport through the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Di Ellis said: "‘We were extremely fortunate to have had two first class candidates who have served the sport as Deputy Chairmen over a number of years and have been fully committed to the work of British Rowing, both at home and abroad, besides providing me with unfailing support.
"I have every confidence that by electing Annamarie as my successor she will work tirelessly to ensure British Rowing will continue to strengthen its position, and like me recognise that volunteers are the backbone of rowing supported by staff, partners and stakeholders to reach this objective."
Annamarie Phelps said: "It is a great honour to be elected Chairman of British Rowing. Whilst it will be a challenge to follow Di’s achievements over the last 25 years, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the rowing community across the country and build on the success and momentum of 2012."
Sailing: Four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie has announced his retirement from Olympic sailing. Ainslie will instead focus on the America’s Cup.
He said: “The America’s Cup has always been a goal for me. With the new format of the America’s Cup World Series and the increased commericalistaion of the event, I feel confident that we can continue to build towards creating a commercially viable team, with the ultimate goal of challenging for the 35th America’s Cup.”
“Stepping away from the Olympics was not an easy decision to make and I wanted to take some time after London to think about the future and what the next challenge would be. I’ve had an amazing Olympic sailing career and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless number of people who have been involved in my sailing career to date. Their support enabled me to achieve my dreams and I could not have done it without them.”
John Derbyshire, Royal Yachting Association Performance Director, commented:
“Ben has always made it clear that his two career goals have been to win Olympic gold, and to win the America’s Cup. With four Olympic golds and a silver across five Games, and now the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, he has nothing left to prove in Olympic terms and there can be no question that he’s more than achieved his first goal. It’s therefore entirely understandable that he should now want to turn his attentions to the second, and hopefully lead a British team to win the oldest trophy in sport for the very first time."
In other sailing news, Skandia, the long term sponsor of the British Sailing Team, has announced it is to end its successful partnership when the current contract comes to an end in March 2013.
The Royal Yachting Association’s Olympic Manager, Stephen Park, said: “Skandia has been a superb partner for the RYA for the past seven years and we are hugely grateful for their support, which not only has made a medal-winning performance difference, but has also helped elevate sailing and its personalities in the public consciousness during a unique period for British sport.
“We’re equally pleased that we have been able to provide a unique marketing platform for Skandia during our partnership, and hope to be able to provide another brand who shares our high performance values with the same success as we look forward to the new cycle.”
The investment into the British Sailing Team from commercial sponsors comes in addition to the UK Sport National Lottery funding that sailing receives, and allows core areas of the programme to be developed. Increased contact time for coaches and support staff, improved infrastructure and facilities, and technical and sports science research and developments are all support by the commercial programme.
Skeleton: Lizzy Yarnold took bronze in the third FIBT World Cup race of the season in Whistler, Canada with Shelley Rudman ninth and Donna Creighton 17th.
Despite a foot of snow falling overnight in Whistler, the race got under way on time with Rudman the first athlete to compete. She put down a solid 56 second run which saw her just outside the top 10 after the first run.
Yarnold was the next of our team to go and slid a 55.70 which was good enough for seventh. Creighton, the last of the trio put down a time 56.57 for 18th place.
But it was Yarnold who produced the best second run of all the athletes to climb up into the medal positions and finish with a bronze.
A solid set of performances from the team who now fly back to the UK for a weeks’ rest before the season resumes with the fourth race of the season in Winterberg, Germany.
Swimming: Hannah Miley completed her hat-trick of medals with 400m Individual Medley gold on the final day of the European Short Course Championships in Chartres.
Having also won silvers in the 200m Individual Medley and 800m Freestyle in France, Miley became the first British swimmer to win three individual medals at a European Short Course Championships since Susan Rolph in 1999.
And having competed in every session over the four days in France, the Scot admitted she was surprised to still be swimming so fast.
She said: "I'm shocked that I was that fast. Last year I went 4:26 and I was hoping to clock the same time again this week or maybe go a little quicker.
"To post that time for a new European Record is amazing. This week has been good for me even though tonight was very tough. I thought Katinka (Hosszu) was going to come past me at the end but I dug deep to hold on."
Miley will now turn her attention to the World Short Course Championships taking place in Istanbul from 12 – 16 December.
In other swimming news, Olympic bronze medallist and former 400m Freestyle world record holder Joanne Jackson has retired from competitive swimming.
Jackson, who won the bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, broke the world record en route to the qualifying for the 2009 World Championships where she won the silver medal.
She also picked up the silver in the 800m Freestyle and the bronze in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.
She commented: “I feel so lucky to have been able to compete to an international for so many years and to have been to three Olympic Games. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way.”
“I have been fortunate to have some great sponsors who stuck with me through all the ups and downs. And British Swimming, coaches and the support team have been awesome. I’m now looking at new opportunities to start a Swim Academy and begin a brand new career in events.”
Taekwondo: GB Taekwondo will be sending a 13-strong squad to the French Open this weekend (1-2 Dec), which includes Olympian Martin Stamper and Bianca Walkden, who has been triumphant at the past two Opens, in Serbia and Switzerland.
Full squad for the French Open: Amin Badr (-58kg), Jamie Abley, Jordan Gayle, Michael Harvey, George Lee, Martin Stamper (-68kg), Craig Brown, Andrew Deer, Ben Haines, Ruebyn Richards (-80kg), Damon Sansum (+80kg), Stephanie Allen, Bianca Walkden (+67kg)