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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

October 7, 2013 12:05 pm

Kristian Thomas insisted he learned the lessons from his Olympic experience after clinching vault bronze at the gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp.

Thomas was expected to challenge for the medals on his signature apparatus at London 2012, after especially producing a massive 16.550 score to help Great Britain win a historic team bronze.

But he later admitted the occasion got to him after finishing eighth from eight in his final.

"A few weeks ago I didn’t even know if I’d make the team. It’s been a rollercoaster year and to get that medal, I couldn’t be any happier," said Thomas, who has never previously made the podium in individual competition and is Britain's first-ever world medallist in the vault.

"To make the final was the first aim then to get a medal I’m over the moon, really really happy and proud.

"Once again, the British gymnasts have proved how good we are and I’m delighted to have contributed to that success."

Great Britain finished the championship with two medals following Max Whitlock's silver on the pommel horse. In addition Whitlock finished fourth in the all-around final and Dan Purvis just missed the medal on the floor.

"For Great Britain to come away with two medals is an amazing performance," insisted Whitlock, a double bronze medallist at last year's Olympics.

"There's room for improvement but I really can't complain with a World Championships silver medal to cap a great year for me."

Kirsty Gilmour won singles silver and English mixed doubles champions Chris Langridge and Heather Olver also settled for second at badminton's London Grand Prix at the Copper Box.

Scot Gilmour, ranked 34th in the world, was beaten 21-19, 21-9 by Spain's Carolina Marin and admitted she needed more experience of big matches.

"This is my first major final. Maybe I wasn’t ready to win it but getting to this point is a big positive for me," she said.

“It was tricky. We’ve never played against each other before now so there was a little bit of figuring each other out at the start. I got ahead but she clawed it back but it was a really good game and I really enjoyed it.

“I just need to get a bit more solid in the longer rallies. I’m fit physically so it’s just about getting pushed that little bit extra.”

Meanwhile, Langridge and Olver - who beat top seeds Danny Bawa Chrisnata and Yu Yan Vanessa Neo on their path to the final - were beaten 21-19, 21-14 by Germany's Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels.

“It just didn’t happen," admitted Langrirdge. 

"Credit to the Germans, they played well. If we don’t play well enough and they play well, it’s going to be comfy for them. It really is gutting.”

Top British hope Rajiv Ouseph lost to China's Tian Houwei in the semi-finals of the men's singles.

"I was a bit disappointed," he said. "I just made a few more errors in the middle of both games."

Elsewhere, London 2012 Olympian Imogen Bankier and new partner Robert Blair won the mixed doubles title at the Bulgarian International - the perfect preparation to the forthcoming Dutch Open.

Liam Pitchford, Daniel Reed, Sam Walker and Andrew Baggaley suffered a painful 3-0 team defeat at the hands of Romania, meaning they missed promotion to the championship division at the table tennis European Championships.

Joanna Drinkhall, Kelly Sibley, Hannah Hicks and Tin-Tin Ho also missed out on promotion, after running into hot favourites Sweden in their semi-finals.

But they recovered to secure third place in the challenge division with a 3-1 win over Croatia.

Danielle Brown, Rikki Bingham and Andrea Gales narrowly missed out on a team compound medal at archery's World Championships - beaten 219-217 by France in the bronze medal match.

“Andrea, Danielle and Rikki have all shot very well in extremely difficult conditions over the past few days and all their hard work as a team so nearly paid off,” said ArcheryGB performance manager Barry Eley.

“I am very proud of them and they are a great example to our junior archers going off to the World Youth Championships next week."

British sailor Alison Young was struck down by an untimely illness to end her medal hopes at the laser radial World Championships in China.

Young, a bronze medallist at the recent European Championships, was sitting fifth heading into the final races but was forced to withdraw.

It means she dropped to 17th overall while team-mates Chloe Martin, Hannah Snellgrove and Georgina Povall were 24th, 28th and 45th respectively.

And finally, Susan Partridge concluded an impressive season with a victory in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow.

Partridge, tenth in the marathon at the World Championships in Moscow this summer, dominated to finish over a minute ahead of fellow Scot Freya Ross - completing the half marathon distance in one hour, ten minutes and 40 seconds.

Double Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie shows no signs of slowing down at 40, winning the men's race.

Chris Thompson was the first British finisher in fifth, one place ahead of Scotland's Andrew Lemencello.

"Running on your own is a lot easier when you're winning," said Partridge, of her front running tactics. 

"It's harder when you're getting dropped. Mentally it's hard to stay focused but I felt good."

© Sportsbeat 2013