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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

March 31, 2014 12:03 pm

England rugby sevens coach Simon Amor paid tribute to his youthful team after they reached the final of the Hong Kong Sevens - only to be beaten by reigning World Series champions New Zealand.

England had overcome South Africa and two-time champions Fiji to reach the prestigious final for the first time since 2006, when Amor was captaining the team.

“I’m incredibly proud, to play all three of the big teams on one day, with seven of the players making their Hong Kong debut, is a big achievement," said Amor.

“We have made so much progress in recent weeks and months but unfortunately we weren’t quite good enough in that final game.  We didn’t get some of our decision making quite get right but that’s just a reflection of where we are in terms of our learning curve. 

“You get so few opportunities to play in front of 40,000 with an atmosphere as incredible as it is here and I thought the courage and the way the guys played for the shirt and their country, and really fought together throughout the weekend was just outstanding."

Elsewhere, Scotland beat France 31-5 to win the bowl final while Wales were edged out 19-14 by South Africa in the final of the plate.

Max Whitlock and Rebecca Tunney claimed the all-around titles at the British Gymnastics Championships - and then added more medals in the individual apparatus finals.

Tunney produced a faultless performance on the bars to claim gold while Kelly Simm, Rebecca Downie and Lizzie Beddoe won the vault, beam and floor titles respectively.

As expected Whitlock took gold on the floor while a highly-competitive pommel horse final saw European champion Daniel Keatings take the honours ahead of Whitlock and three-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith, in only his second competition since London 2012.

Keatings also took top spot on the parallel bars while Sam Oldham won the vault and Kristian Thomas proved the master of the high bar. However, Whitlock completed his weekend with a third gold medal on the rings.

Olympic finalist Julia Bleasdale moved to third on the all-time 5,000m UK list - behind only Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan - as she won the Carlsbad 5000 in the USA in an impressive 15:04.

Olympic road race silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead retains her World Cup leader's jersey after finishing second to Sweden's Emma Johansson in a sprint finish at the Trofeo Binda but Ian Stannard endured a tough day in the Gent-Wevelgem classic, ending up in hospital after flying off his bike and into a ditch.

Joe Clarke impressed at the British canoe slalom trials winning the men's K1 title while Adam Burgess and Greg Pitt took the C2 title in the absence of all four of Britain's Olympic medallists.

Mallory Franklin and Ryan Westley were the best of the women's and men's C1 paddlers while Lizzie Neave beat Fiona Pennie to take the women's K1 class.

Double world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist David Florence was not in action after pre-qualifying while Olympic champion Etienne Scott is still injured and searching for a new C2 partner following the retirement of Tim Baillie.

Elsewhere, Sally Conway and Natalie Powell won silver at judo's Turkish Grand Prix, with GB team-mate Colin Oates taking bronze while Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos won the $500,000 Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.

© Sportsbeat 2014