UK Sport Talk

Published 4 April 2016

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Friday 8 April

Cycling - BMX: Liam Phillips is determined to give the 'performance of his life' as he goes in search of a record-breaking fourth straight victory at the home round of the 2016 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.

Phillips has won the Great Britain leg of the tour on the past three occasions and the home favourite is welcoming the challenge of becoming the first man to win the same stage four times at the event in Manchester on Saturday and Sunday.

“There’s massive pressure on me winning as I’ve won for the past three years,” Phillips said.

“This has been such a great experience of which I am so proud of and it’s been fantastic becoming a figurehead for the event. 

“However, it’s unfortunately gotten to the point where either I win the race as expected, or I don’t and it be considered a failure. But this is also giving me the motivation to put on the best performance of my life.”

Read the full preview here

Cycling – Road: Luke Rowe has his sights set on the Paris-Roubaix stage race coming off the tail of a career-best performance at the Tour de Flanders.

Rowe finished fifth last week in Belgium and the 26-year-old feels the next race in the Monument series plays to his strengths.

“I'm on a bit of a high at the moment. Everything seems to be going well,” Rowe told Cyclingnews.

“Roubaix's the preferred race, it's where my heart lies – I prefer it as a race and I think it suits me better as a rider.”

For more: British Cycling

Hockey: Danny Kerry will lead the England and Great Britain women’s teams to Tokyo 2020 after being named as the head coach through the next Olympic cycle.

Kerry oversaw the bronze-medal winning women’s team at London 2012 who reached the Olympic podium for the first time in 20 years, before being named as performance director of GB Hockey.

He returned to the bench in 2014 to coach the women’s team to EuroHockey glory and cites his passion for coaching as his motivation for committing his future.

“My passion is coaching and that is the fundamental basis for me making this decision,” he said.

“We were successful in the Euros last year, we have the Champions Trophy and Rio this summer, a home World Cup in 2018 and then Tokyo in 2020, so I think the combination of factors across the board makes my decision the right one.”

For more: GB Hockey

Taekwondo: The inaugural President’s Cup is up and running in Bonn, Germany, and Great Britain have some early victories on the board as athletes search to put their names in their four quota places for Rio 2016.

World Champion Bianca Walkden has advanced into round three with a 2-0 triumph over Turkey’s Ayse Asma. Levi Goodridge recorded an 8-4 victory over Spain’s Cruz Nada, and Ryan Marlow sealed a win by the same score on his first Great Britain outing in the -80kg against Bulgaria’s Yordan Kolev.

Follow GB Taekwondo on Twitter for updates

For more: GB Taekwondo

Ski and Snowboard: Katie Ormerod clinched her second gold medal of the week, adding the snowboard halfpipe title to her snowboard slopestyle victory, at the BRITS 2016 in Laax, Switzerland.

Great Britain's top snow sport athletes are currently going head-to-head in the national championships, which culminates on Sunday. Matthew Ray and Emma Peters took gold in the skiercross championships while Max Thildling and Stephanie Gehrig retained their titles in the snowboardcross championships.

Katie Summerhayes and Harris Booth were crowned ski slopestyle champions. Ben Kilner and Ormerod rode to glory in snowboard halfpipe, with Ormerod and Rowan Coultas winning gold in snowboard slopestyle.

For more: British Ski and Snowboard

Gymnastics: The British Gymnastics Championships get under way in Liverpool today as athletes make their bids for selection at the European Championships in Switzerland in May.

Competitors will also be proving their point for Rio 2016 selection in the event at the Echo Arena which runs through Sunday. The Sunday afternoon session can be seen on BBC Two at 2.50pm.

For more: British Gymnastics

Curling: Scotland wrapped up their World Curling Championships with a 6-4 victory over Sweden.

Skip Tom Brewster recorded three stones on final end to snatch the win and leave Scotland on a 5-6 record and seventh place in the final standings. Canada, Denmark, Japan and USA advanced to the play-offs in Basel, Switzerland.

For more: British Curling

Thursday 7 April

Badminton: Rajiv Ouseph has advanced to the last eight of the Malaysia Open where he lies one victory away from a first ever Superseries semi-final.

Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie is the man who stands in his way, a player Ouseph defeated in last year’s Sudirman Cup. World number 21 Ouseph progressed after being handed a wildcard following the withdrawl of Kento Momoto, the number three seed from Japan. Ouspeh had downed China's world number 11 Wang Zhengming in the first round 21-19, 21-18. 

Chris and Gabby Adcock will also be lining up in quarter-final action following a 26-24, 21-7 triumph over Ronald Alexander and Melati Oktaviani. They face second seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natair for a place in the last four in Shah Alam.

In the women’s doubles, Heather Olver and Lauren Smith's run ended against Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee as Korea Republic's eighth seeds won 21-16, 21-18.

For more: Badminton England

Judo: Natalie Powell has vowed to use her strong 2016 form to convert the anguish of last year’s European Championships into a medal as British Judo named their team for this year’s event.   

Thirteen athletes will travel to Kazan in Russia searching for valuable qualification points in their final major competition ahead of Rio 2016.

Colin Oates and Ashley McKenzie already hold European medals, while Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Powell is determined to improve on her previous European best of fifth.

“My year so far has gone relatively well,” Powell said. “Winning my first Grand Slam medal has to be the high. However Europeans has been my main focus from the start and training has all been about peaking for the Europeans.”

For more: British Judo

Cycling – Road: Mark Cavendish had to settle for silver at the Scheldeprijs race after being narrowly beaten by Marcel Kittel in a sprint finish.

Cavendish, who won the race three times between 2007 and 2011, was gaining on the leader Kittel in the final straight but missed out in a photo finish in 4 hours 54 minutes and five seconds.

For more: British Cycling

Curling: Scotland’s 7-6 extra-end defeat against Denmark means they cannot progress to the elimination stages of the World Curling Championship in Basle, Switzerland.

Skip Tom Brewster and his team had recorded two wins on Wednesday to keep their slender hopes of progressing alive. Finland fell 7-3 in the morning session to put an end to a run of five losses, before Brewster held his nerve in a 7-6 extra-end triumph against Germany on Wednesday evening.

The Denmark loss leaves Scotland's record at 5-6 as they wrap up the competition against Sweden this afternoon.

For more: British Curling

Wednesday 6 April

Rowing: Helen Glover revealed she is ready to ramp up her Rio preparations on the international stage as British Rowing announced the boats which will compete at the European Championships in Germany.

“It's always fantastic to be selected to represent Great Britain, and never more so than in Olympic year. The European Championships are our first opportunity to test our early season speed against international competition,” said Olympic, World and European champion Glover, who was named as expected in the women's pair with Heather Stanning.

Double Olympic men's four champions Pete Reed and Andrew T Hodge are among those selected in the men's eight, while London 2012 gold medallist Alex Gregory returns to the four in a boat full of current World Champions from the eight.

Four-time Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger will race alongside Vicky Thornley in the open women's double scull for the event takign place in in Brandenburg from May 6 to 8.

For more: British Rowing 

Boxing: Performance Director Rob McCracken is confident his boxers can start securing Rio 2016 spots when they compete at the European Olympics Qualifier in Turkey this week.

The event is the first of four Olympic qualification events this year and has 36 places at Rio 2016 up for grabs. Three places are available at each of the 10 men’s weights and two slots are on offer in each of three women’s weight categories.

GB is yet to secure any athlete spots for Rio, but McCracken has faith in his squad. 

He said: “For some of the boxers that have missed out on selection for the first qualifier there is a big incentive to maintain their form and performance and try to get themselves picked for the other qualification events later this year.
“The Olympic qualification process for boxing is tough. There is no doubt that this will be a difficult tournament, as the competition is stiff and there are not too many qualification places available, however this is a talented group of boxers and I am confident that if they can maintain the standards of performance they have shown recently then they will give themselves every chance of securing a place at Rio.” 

For more: GB Boxing

Badminton: The penultimate Superseries event before Rio 2016 qualification concludes – the Malaysia Open – takes place this week, with England represented across four disciplines in Shah Alam.

Fresh from their dominating women’s doubles win at the Orleans International, Heather Olver and Lauren Smith will participate in the Malaysian main draw. A solid run would pick up yet more Race to Rio points, as Great Britain looks to field athletes across all five disciplines at this summer's Olympics.

Meanwhile Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, the YONEX All England quarter-finalists, have been dealt a tough opening draw in the men’s doubles.

They will take on Indonesia’s Gideon Markus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who won the India Open doubles title on Sunday.

Superseries champions Chris and Gabby Adcock, surprise first round casualties at the India Open last week, will be itching to get back on court when they take on a qualifying pair.

England’s Rajiv Ouseph flies the singles flag and takes on China’s world number 11 Wang Zhengming in his men’s singles first round.

For more: Badminton England

Tuesday 5 April

Curling: Scotland are facing a mountain to climb in order to progress in the World Curling Championships after an extra-end defeat against Switzerland.

Skip Tom Brewster's team suffered a 5-4 defeat after pulling level in the final end, which came off the back of a 5-3 loss against Canada.

After winning their opening two contests, Scotland slipped to a 2-4 record ahead of must-win match-ups with the USA, Finland and Germany on Wednesday. 

Monday 4 April

Cycling - Road: Lizzie Armitstead is becoming rather attached to the rainbow jersey as she hailed 'the perfect day' at the Tour de Flanders.

The road race world champion continued her scintilating form to clinch yet another stage win following a dramatic sprint with Sweden's Emma Johansson which left Armitstead beaming with joy.

“It was a really strange race with just two in the front,” said Armitstead. “We had to commit. I didn’t leave anything for the sprint. Emma’s fast, and I didn’t underestimate her.

“It’s really special to win, and to win in the rainbow jersey is even more special. It was the perfect day.”

In the men's event, Luke Rowe was the best British finisher in fifth as Paris-Nice winner Geraint Thomas placed 12th.

For more: British Cycling

Sailing: Tom Squires secured his first international victory to prove his credentials on the world stage.

The 22-year-old windsurfer led from the outset to claim RS:X gold at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma.

Silver for Giles Scott and bronze medals for young 470 talents Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter and the Paralympic Champion Helena Lucas made it four medals for the British Sailing Team at the conclusion of the six-day event.

Squires, who trains alongside Rio-bound Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey, said: “Gold medallist sounds very good – I’m really happy!

“I think it’s the first time I’ve ever won anything since Youth – probably since I was on a longboard on Rutland reservoir!” 

For more: Royal Yachting Association

Curling: Scotland's World Championship campaign started with back-to-back victories before a late loss to Russia in Basle, Switzerland.

The Russians started strongly to dent Scotland's record in a 9-6 reverse, leaving skip Tom Brewster with a sour taste in his mouth, despite earlier wins over Norway and Korea Republic.

“I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, said Brewster, ahead of Monday's contests against Japan and Canada.

“Hopefully we can learn from that for later in the week, but it might come back to haunt us.”

For more: British Curling

Badminton: Heather Olver and Lauren Smith stepped up their claims for a place on the plane to Rio 2016 by winning the Orleans International women's doubles title.

The national doubles champions and number one seeds downed Delphine Delrue and Lea Palermo, of host nation France, 21-19, 21-8, and Smith is pleased to be building momentum heading into this week's Malaysia Open.

“We’re really happy to have won this week, it’s good to take confidence going forward,” Olver said.

“In terms of Rio we are just focusing on performing every game, one at a time.”

For more: Badminton England

Modern Pentathlon: Joe Choong recorded a career best World Cup result, finishing fourth in Rome and missing out on the podium by just five seconds.

Choong started the final combined event in seventh place and moved through the field to fourth, 12 seconds behind the overall winner, Frenchman Valentin Prades.

Teammates Jamie Cooke and Sam Curry finished 24th and 36th respectively, while Joe Evans missed out on the final. 

In the women’s event, Kate French, the only British athlete to make the final, was 11th overall.

The next World Cup of the year is in Kecskemet, Hungary and starts on April 14th with the Women’s qualification.

For more: Pentathlon GB

Boxing – Amateur: The British Lionhearts will square off against the Ukraine Otamans in the World Series of Boxing quarter final at York Hall on April 21 and 22.

The Ukrainian team progress after finishing second inGroup A behind the Cuba Domadores and ahead of the Turkey Conquerors and China Dragons.

For more: GB Boxing, for tickets: follow this link.

Equestrian: The crowds were out in force to welcome William Fox-Pitt on his return to competitive action after months out following a serious fall last autumn.

The four-time Olympian rode Parklane Hawk and Cool Mountain in the open intermediate (OI) at Burnham Market in Norfolk.

He enjoyed two clear rounds, saying afterwards: “It’s a great relief to finish in one piece and feeling good.”

For more: British Equestrian Federation

Gymnastics – Trampoline: It was double bronze delight for British Gymnastics as both Kat Driscoll and Nathan Bailey won individual medals at the European Championships.

Driscoll also joined her team mates, Amanda Parker, Pamela Clark and Bryony Page to retain the trampoline team title for Great Britain ahead of Russia and Spain.

The championships closed with Great Britain winning five gold, four silver and seven bronze medals across junior and senior events in trampoline and the non-Olympic disciplines of tumbling and Double Mini Trampoline.

For full results: British Gymnastics

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