Charlotte Dujardin wins the dressage grand prix at the London International Horse Show while Pete Reed is relentless in his pursuit of a third Olympic gold medal. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.
- Charlotte Dujardin delighted with the success of her new partnership at Olympia as Carl Hester makes it a British one-two
- Aged 34, Pete Reed not resting on his laurels despite an already storied career
- Laura Robson confident of a memorable 2016 as she tries to put injury woe behind her
- British Triathlon name their 2016 World Class Performance Programmes
- A trio of British hockey stars nominated for FIH awards
- We have two competitions where you can win fantastic prizes
Dujardin ecstatic with grand prix triumph
Charlotte Dujardin admits she relished the challenge of a new partnership after winning the dressage grand prix at the London International Horse Show on Tuesday.
With her top horse Valegro being readied for next year’s World Cup final and the Rio Olympics, double London 2012 gold medallist Dujardin rode the Carl Hester-owned stallion Uthopia to victory at Olympia.
Hester himself came second on Nip Tuck to ensure a British one-two and Dujardin couldn’t hide her delight at the result.
“I’m over the moon with that test,” she said. “Uthopia hasn’t competed for a long time and it’s a big atmosphere so I was thrilled with him.
“We haven’t done an awful lot of tests together, so it’s still a new partnership. Being a stallion, he is totally different to Valegro.
“On Valegro I think and it just happens, whereas Uthopia I really have to ride every second. Being a stallion, he’s a bit smarter and more switched on, but he’s great fun to ride.”
Dressage continues on Wednesday with the grand prix freestyle to music before the showjumping, which includes GB’s world No.1 Scott Brash, gets underway on Thursday.
Reed not letting up as he chases history
Double Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed could be forgiven for resting on his laurels after an illustrious career punctuated by gold medals.
Topping the podium at the Rio Games next year would seal his place among the greats of British sport – making him just the 14th Brit to claim three or more Olympic golds – yet the 34-year-old insists writing his name in the history books is the last thing on his mind.
With less than eight months to go until Rio, Reed ranks this Olympiad as the toughest yet and he knows he can’t afford to live off previous glories.
“I haven’t really thought about a third gold medal. That would put me right up there with the greats of Britain,” said Reed, who also has five World Championship titles in his medal collection.
“That seems staggering really because I am not a special guy I just row with good people, have a good coach and I work hard. That’s basically it.
“But this Olympiad has been the toughest of the three, it’s been rough, exceptionally tough.”
Read more from Reed as he gears up for Rio 2016 here
Robson battling on as new season looms
Laura Robson has had worse luck with injuries in the past two years than many athletes suffer in a career but the tennis star insists she will keep fighting to get back to her best in 2016.
The 21-year-old spent 17 months on the sidelines due to a wrist injury and only played ten matches following her return in June before suffering a relapse.
Robson was No.58 in the world before her injury and using that protected ranking, she can gain direct entry into one Grand Slam next year, although she has opted not to do so in January’s Australian Open.
The Olympic silver medallist – currently ranked at 553 in the world – will return to the WTA tour in the new year and is adamant she certainly has no intention of retiring from the sport despite her injury struggles.
“It's going to be a long way back. But if I didn't want to do it I would have quit a long time ago,” said Robson. “I'm very happy with the progress that's been made.
“I get two Slams with my protected ranking. One I used in New York (at the US Open). I figured I'd get as many matches behind me as possible and use the second one in Paris.
“I could have asked for a wildcard but, at this point, I think it's better for me to get in as many matches as I can and get my ranking up to where I can get into tournaments by myself.”
2016 World Class squads named by British Triathlon
British Triathlon performance director Brendan Purcell admits his is looking to Rio and beyond after confirming the triathletes who will be part of the 2016 World Class Performance Programmes.
In total, 21 athletes make up the triathlon team with Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonny – winner of bronze at London 2012 – heading up the men's podium squad alongside Adam Bowden.
There are four athletes on the women's podium squad – Vicky Holland, Helen Jenkins, Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson.
The elite triathlon season gets underway in March, with the first rounds of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Dubai, although the major focus for British triathletes will be on the Olympic Games in August.
“We have a major focus on Rio's Copacabana Beach next summer for the Olympic triathlon events, but this is also year zero of our Tokyo 2020 cycle,” explained Purcell.
“We have distinct groups of athletes now; those working towards Rio, and those looking further into the future.
“It's exciting to be able to add someone like 17 year-old Ben Dijkstra to the programme alongside our Olympic athletes, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Non Stanford and Vicky Holland.”
British trio up for FIH awards
Three of Great Britain’s hockey players have been nominated for awards at the prestigious FIH Hockey Stars 2015.
They are the awards run by hockey’s international governing body and Alex Danson is up for Player of the Year, Maddie Hinch for Goalkeeper of the Year and Lily Owsley for Rising Star of the Year.
Each of the trio have had fantastic seasons with Danson winning Player of the Tournament at EuroHockey 2015, Hinch consistently impressing between the sticks as England won gold and Owsley proving she has an incredibly bright future in the sport.
You can vote for the awards online at www.fih.ch/HockeyStars
And don’t forget...
Today is day four of our guess the athlete competition where you can win £2000 to spend at DFS if you’re able to guess correctly. Just click here to have a go.
That’s not the only competition on offer today as you can also win a top signed by Rebecca Adlington, as well as the secret prize in the envelope, if you correctly answer the question about Becky here.