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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

August 12, 2013 07:50 am

Mo Farah wrote his name in distance running legend - on the same track, morphed in colour from red to blue, that Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Daley Thompson defined their careers 33 years ago.

Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

Farah's victory in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Moscow means 30-year old now holds the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic and world titles.

He also becomes the only British athlete to win four individual titles at outdoor global championships, the first Brit to win over 25 laps at the worlds since Liz McColgan in 1991 and the first European man since Alberto Cova 30 years ago.

“As an athlete I just enjoy what I do. I don’t see myself as the greatest or anything like that,” said Farah, who will now aim to defend his 5,000m title later this week. 

“I just to want to be able to collect as many medals as I can throughout my career and do well for my country and for my family.”

And Farah admits his recent successes have rivals running scared.

"I think they are a little bit intimidated by me now because they know I am capable of running fast at the end," he added. 

"In the middle I am strong as well. They think, 'We've got to do something different,' and sometimes at championships that is not easy.

"I was getting texts from people just saying go and do it.

"It's not as easy as that. If it was, it would be boring. If it was, everyone would be winning."

Farah's victory was Great Britain's first medal in Moscow but Shara Proctor - another podium hope - saw her dreams falter.

The British long jump champion qualified for her final in top slot and a repeat of that 6.85m leap would have been good enough for bronze when it mattered.

However, she blamed a calf injury for her performance, with a leap of 6.79m the best she could muster to secure a sixth place finish.

“I didn’t deliver, I was feeling good until the first jump but my calf started to cramp up," she said. 

"I didn’t come all this way to give up so I kept pushing. 

"As an athlete you have to have a short term memory, qualifying was in the past and I forgot about it and came here with a new mind-set to win a medal but it just didn’t happen.”

Olympic silver medalist Luke Patience and new crew Joe Glanfield failed in their unlikely medal bid at sailing's 470 World Championships in La Rochelle.

The duo were facing a tough task in the medal race and despite finishing second, settled for fifth place overall - the same position occupied by team-mates Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre in the women's fleet.

But Glanfield, himself a double Olympic silver medallist in 2004 and 2008, insists the partnership could not have enjoyed a better first season.

“Every event we’ve done we’ve gone into the medal race in contention for a medal, and at the majority events we’ve come away from a medal and that’s in a multitude of conditions," he said.

Britain’s men enjoyed a successful return to the Olympic Park as they defeated Puerto Rico 61-55 in their EuroBasket warm-up and Kieron Achara insists it’s onwards and upwards.

Achara led the scoring with 13 points, in addition to 11 rebounds and six blocks, in his 50th GB appearance as new head coach Joe Prunty began his tenure in perfect fashion.

“It was pleasing to get the win,” said Achara. “Right now, it’s all about getting the results and understanding each other on the court.

“The mood has been great and we look to continue the momentum as we head to EuroBasket."

Elsewhere, British players failed to progress beyond the third day of the badminton World Championships.

A succession of matches against higher ranked opponents went with form but doubles head coach Jakob Hoi insisted progress is being made.

"I hate losing," he said. "I will never get used to losing. We want to win medals and not just at European level. We want to win at world level. But we have to go one step at a time. That’s the key message."

Britain's most successful gymnast Beth Tweddle announced her retirement - exactly one year on from her bronze medal on the uneven bars at London 2012.

Tweddle, a three-time world and six-time European champion, admitted the demands of training meant it was time to call it quits.

"I know now deep down I can’t commit to the hours and training to remain at the very top," she said.

"I don’t think my achievements will ever really sink in but when I do look back I can be very  proud of what I’ve done and how I’ve done it."

Meanwhile, two-time Olympians Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici and five other members of the British synchronised swimming team have also announced their retirements from the sport.

Randall and Federici have competed together for seven years and made the decision after their career-best eighth place finish at the recent World Championships.

Asha Randall, Katie Clark, Vicki Lucass, Yvette Baker - who all competed at London 2012 when Britain made their debut in the team event - and Sam Wilson are also looking at new careers.

“After an extraordinary seven years of being a senior British synchro athlete it is time to hang up my nose clip," said Federici.

“The highlights of my career include standing on the podium with a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and competing at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games; the crowd in London was unforgettable."

Triathlete Richard Horton - who only took up the sport last year - won the under-23 title at the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa, following up on his junior success from 12 months ago.

Horton finished nearly a minute ahead of his nearest rival while team-mate Georgina Schwiening claimed the women's junior title and Calum Johnson took bronze in the men's junior event.

He said: “It was an awesome experience with the GB team in here in Ottawa. I wanted to make the race hard from the off and it became a real war of attrition played out at super fast speeds."

Promising judoka Peter Miles - a silver medallist at the recent European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht - won bronze at judo's cadet World Championships in Miami.

Miles, who also won bronze at this year's cadet European Championships, beat home favourite Adonis Diaz to claim the last podium spot in the -55kg category.

And coach Gary Edwards was delighted with his 17-year old charge.

“Pete had a hard fight for the bronze against Diaz but he loved fighting against the player and against the backdrop of the partisan crowd," he said. 

“He was up for this fight and was very happy to add a world medal to his European and youth Olympic medals.

Rower Jessica Leyden made history when she won Britain's first gold medal of all-time in the women's single scull at the World Junior Championships.

"It was a really fantastic gold for Jess," said British team manager John Layng.  

"She paced her race well and many others front-loaded their race plan. She showed great maturity to focus on what she had to do."

Danni Khan emulated Becky James winning two world titles at the junior track cycling World Championships in Glasgow.

James – who also won two junior world titles in 2009 and went on to win two senior titles in 2013 – celebrated with the youngster after she added the sprint to her win in the 500m time trial.

Elsewhere, Amy Hill, Emily Kay, Hayley Jones and Emily Nelson won the women's team pursuit as Britain finished the championship with three golds, one silver and two bronzes.

“I can’t really believe it, I think it will take a while to sink in," said Khan.

“I came to these championships knowing my form was good and that my training had gone well but I never expected to win one world title let alone two."

© Sportsbeat 2013