UK Sport Talk

Published 29 February 2016

2016 Getty Images

Thursday 3 March

Cycling: A sensational Laura Trott won Great Britain Cycling Team’s first gold medal at the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships with victory in the scratch race in London.

The double Olympic champion’s medal was followed by a keirin bronze for #DiscoverYourPower ambassador Becky James before Great Britain’s men won team pursuit silver in a pulsating battle with Australia.

Trott put the disappointment of a fifth-place finish in team pursuit qualifying behind her with a stunning late surge to take the scratch race world title, her sixth rainbow jersey.

"I'm so happy. I wasn't feeling that good but it just worked out perfectly," said Trott.

James (pictured below) marked her long-awaited Worlds comeback with a wonderful display in the keirin to take bronze. The 2013 double world champion surged through on the inside in the final lap of the final to finish behind winner Kristina Vogel and Australia’s Anna Meares. 

"It just doesn't feel real, I'm just over the moon to be back," said James.

In the men’s team pursuit gold medal race, Australia took the early advantage before the Great Britain quartet of Sir Bradley Wiggins (pictured below), Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Ed Clancy fought back and took a slender lead into the final 1000m. 

But in one final dramatic twist, Australia turned the tie to win in 3:53.856, over a second quicker than Britain.

"It's really disappointing. But at the same time, where we look where we come from, we're close,” said Wiggins.

For more info: British Cycling

Boxing (Amateur): The British Lionhearts maintained the team’s unbeaten start to the season with a comprehensive 4-1 win over the USA Knockouts in front of a sold-out York Hall tonight in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

Stoppages by Londoners, Joshua Buatsi (pictured below) and Joe Joyce, were the highlights of the night as the British team sealed the victory to maintain its position at the top of Group B and guarantee a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

The Lionhearts were given the best possible start to the evening in the flyweight bout where Muhammad Ali overwhelmed Gaurav Bidhuri from India, who was boxing for the USA team. 

WSB debutant Cyrus Pattinson was withdrawn in the third round after suffering a cut above the left eye, as Andreal Holmes picked up a win for the USA.

Joe Cordina showed dazzling speed and footwork to secure a unanimous victory against the USA’s Bruce Carrington in the lightweight contest and put the Lionhearts into a 2-1 lead on the night.

It fell to the local heroes Buatsi and Joyce (pictured below) to put the icing on the cake as the two Londoners delivered stunning victories and the loudest cheers of the night from a raucous home crowd.

For more info: GB Boxing

Wednesday 2 March

Cycling: Great Britain’s Jon Dibben, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Sir Bradley Wiggins set London’s Lee Valley VeloPark alight on the opening day of the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Wednesday, qualifying fastest in the men’s team pursuit.

In the first event of the day, the quartet posted a time of 3:55.664, setting up a first round ride against an impressive Italian outfit and chance to ride for gold later in the competition.

There was disappointment in the team sprint, with Britain’s male and female squads failing to qualify for the medal finals despite strong rides in both events.

Despite a world-beating 17.0 opening lap from Philip Hindes, Britain’s men were pushed into sixth place with a 43.507, as successive nations put together more complete three-lap performances.

New Zealand qualified fastest with a time 43.096, setting up a gold medal ride against the Netherlands, the kiwi squad going on to claim gold. Germany took bronze in their final against France.

It was double disappointment for Jess Varnish and Katy Marchant who, despite posting an impressive 32.903 ride, finished fifth, missing out on the medals and more crucially, Rio qualification.

For more info: British Cycling 

Tuesday 1 March 

Athletics: Reigning Olympic and World champion Greg Rutherford and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz have been announced in a 23-strong British Athletics team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA on 17-20 March.

Chris Baker, currently ranked world number two, makes his global championship debut alongside Grabarz in the high jump, with World Championship silver medallist Shara Proctor and double World Indoor Championships medallist Tiffany Porter also included in the team.  Porter, will be looking to complete the collection of World Indoor medals and add gold to her 2012 silver and 2014 bronze.

The team contains a number of newly crowned British Indoor Champions, following last weekend’s Championships in Sheffield.  Included are 800m champion Adelle Tracey, who makes her senior team debut, as well as 1500m champion Charlie Grice and 3000m champion Steph Twell.

400m British champion Nigel Levine, 60m hurdles champion Andy Pozzi and 1500m champion Hannah England declined selection in favour of concentrating on the outdoor season.

Defending World Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty also withdrew himself from selection for performance reasons, choosing instead to focus early on the outdoor season as an individual and member of the 4x100m relay team.

British Athletics has also accepted the IAAF’s invite for Morgan Lake to compete in the Pentathlon.  At just 18 years old Lake is the youngest member of the team and will be looking forward to returning to competition in the USA, where she won two World Junior titles in 2014.

Performance Director for British Athletics, Neil Black said: “This is a team that has been selected on the basis that every athlete can realistically make their final, but also with an eye on their individual development looking towards the Olympics this year and the London 2017 World Championships.

“There have been some excellent performances during the indoor season and we are confident that many of those selected will be challenging for medals.

“It is important to remember that British Athletics’ focus, as well as that of the individual athletes, is geared towards Rio in this Olympic year and the World Indoors is one of many stepping stones our athletes will look to use.”

For more info: British Athletics

Sailing: Great Britain’s most experienced Paralympic sailors will once again represent ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016, the British Paralympic Association (BPA) announced today.

With just over six months to go until the Games get under way, London 2012 bronze medallists Alexandra Rickham (Epsom) and Niki Birrell (Bournemouth) have been selected to contest for medals in the SKUD 18 class, while the trio of Stephen Thomas (Bridgend), John Robertson (Sunderland) and Hannah Stodel (Colchester) take their places in the Sonar, looking to make up for the disappointment of narrowly missing a podium place in 2012.

Rickham and Birrell are already two-time Paralympians, having made their debut together in the SKUD 18 class at Beijing 2008 and celebrate their selection to Rio 2016 as five-time World Champions and current Paralympic bronze medallists.

Meanwhile Stephen Thomas, John Robertson and Hannah Stodel will be competing in their fourth Summer Paralympics together after making their debut in Athens. All five athletes are determined to bring all their experience to the water in the race for medals in Rio. 

The five athletes complete the line-up for the ParalympicsGB sailing team, and take up their places alongside London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas MBE, who was the first athlete to be selected to ParalympicsGB for Rio back in April 2015.

Alexandra Rickham, teaming up with Niki Birrell for their third consecutive Games, said:

“I couldn’t be happier to be selected to represent ParalympicsGB in Rio. We’ll face tough competition out in Rio, but these next few months of intensive preparations will make sure we’ll be ready to shine at the Paralympics, and having such incredible support back at home will really boost us.”

For more info: Royal Yachting Association

Monday 29 February 

Boxing (Amateur): The British Lionhearts has named a strong team for its second home match of the season in the World Series Boxing (WSB) against the USA Knockouts at York Hall on Thursday 3 March 2016 (doors at 6.30pm, boxing from 8.00pm).

The line-up includes 2015 World Championship bronze medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, Joe Joyce at super-heavyweight, 2015 European Champion, Joe Cordina at lightweight, 2015 European Championships silver medallist, Muhammad Ali at flyweight and 2015 European Championship bronze medallist, Joshua Buatsi at light-heavyweight.

They are joined by WSB debutant, Cyrus Pattinson, who will box at welterweight. All five boxers are part of GB Boxing’s World Class Performance Programme based at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield.

The Lionhearts will be looking to continue the good form that has seen the team win all three matches so far this season, including a 4-1 victory against the USA Knockouts in the away fixture in Miami.

The clash with the Mexico Guerrero will be the first WSB appearance of the season for Londoner Joyce who has a record of 12 wins from 14 bouts in WSB and was the number two ranked super-heavyweight in the competition last season.

Joyce said: “I have a good record in WSB and I always enjoy boxing in front of my home crowd at York Hall. The atmosphere is great and the team is in good form so we will be looking to build on this and maintain our excellent start to the season.”

For more info: GB Boxing

Athletics: Two British records and one world record gave the capacity crowd plenty to cheer about on the final day of competition (Sunday 28 February) at the Indoor British Championships in Sheffield.

Tom Bosworth smashed his own British record in the men’s 3,000m walk at the EIS venue, knocking 17 seconds off the mark he set just last month.

“The really serious stuff starts now,” said the 26-year-old, who clocked 10:58.21 to retain the title he won last year.

“I have got the 20km Olympic qualifying time and I want to get better and improve my PB. I want to go to the Olympics knowing that I can be up there with the best. I have been getting quicker and quicker over short distances and now I want to do it over 20km and show that I can do it internationally as well.”

There was a new British record too for Bethan Davies in the women’s 3,000m walk. The 25-year-old took an impressive 26 seconds off the previous mark as she crossed the line in 12:44.99.

IPC world champion Aled Davies broke his own para-athletics world record with a throw of 16.14m in the men’s shot put.

Davies, who won the IPC Athletics world title in Qatar last year to add to the Paralympic shot put bronze he clinched at London 2012, added an impressive 15 centimetres on to his own mark set in Cardiff last month.

The 2015 outdoor shot put champion Scott Lincoln saved his best until last to take the win with a personal best of 18.90m.

European champion Tiffany Porter outclassed the rest of the field to take gold in the women’s 60m hurdles and secure her place on the GB & NI team bound for the IAAF World Championships in Portland, USA in March.

For more info: British Athletics

Cycling: Mark Cavendish says he must deliver in the omnium at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships if he is to have a chance of winning the Olympic medal that has so far eluded his illustrious cycling career.

The Manxman, who has 26 stage wins in the Tour de France to his name, will make his first track worlds appearance since 2009 in London. 

"If I can’t get a result at the worlds I can’t at the Olympics so I have a lot to focus on," said Great Britain Cycling Team's Cavendish, who finished fourth in the event at January’s UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong.

The 30-year-old has two world championship gold medals in the Madison, but suffered Olympic disappointment on the track in Beijing and then on the road in London.

For more info: British Cycling

Athletics: James Dasaolu stormed home to secure his third British indoor sprint title on the first day of competition (Saturday 27 February) at the 2016 Indoor British Championships in Sheffield.

The 28-year-old European 100m champion had to work hard to catch early leader Andrew Robertson who enjoyed a sensational start out of the blocks in the men’s 60m.

Dasaolu secured himself a place on the GB & NI team set for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA, in March as he crossed the line in a season’s best 6.53 seconds, just one hundredth of a second ahead of Robertson.

“I am so pleased, honestly, it was so tight I didn’t know if I had got it. The win means so much to me after the season I had last year. I am happy to return to winning ways with a season’s best and cement my place in Portland,” said Dasaolu.

“I’m feeling confident and will go in (to the World Indoor Championships) looking to pick up a medal. We have a good bunch of 60m runners and the goal will always be to win a medal now.”

Sean Safo-Antwi followed up his formidable win at last week’s Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix with a bronze medal at the city’s EIS venue.

Asha Philip sped out of the blocks and held off the British 100m and 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie, Blackheath & Bromley) to take the win in the women’s 60m.

Philip clocked a season’s best 7.10 – just 0.02 seconds shy of the national record and well inside the qualification time required to line up at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Asher-Smith finished 0.05 seconds behind with Louise Bloor in third.

“I am happy to get the win. I didn’t do any indoors last year so I was a bit rusty but I am getting faster, so it is going well for the World Indoors. I am hoping for better than fourth (at the 2014 World Indoors),” said Philip.

A terrific run by Andrew Pozzi secured the 23-year-old victory in the men’s 60m hurdles – and a place on the Great Britain & NI World Indoor Championships team.

For more info: British Athletics

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