Baku Bulletin: Day Two in Review

Day two is in the bag and Team GB are up and running in the medal table thanks to Gordon Benson in the triathlon. There was also action across gymnastics, canoe sprint, water polo and synchronised swimming. Here’s our review of the action and the latest news from Baku.

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Gordon Benson was full of praise for his teammates after he wrote his name into the history books as he became the first ever male European Games triathlon champion.

Benson grabbed Team GB’s first medal of Baku 2015, taking gold in 1:48.31 hours. Silva was 11 seconds behind in second place while third went to home favourite Rostyslav Pevtsov, with Tom Bishop coming home 16th and Philip Graves coming home 46th.

"It feels brilliant. I couldn't have done it without the lads Phil and Tom as they really helped me and it feels great to come here and deliver,” said Benson, who secured Team GB a quota place for the Rio Olympics with this success.

“The boys delivered and we got the breakaway and thankfully we left all the betters runners behind and I had enough left in my legs to finish the job.

“The guys did a great job and they put me in front to finish the job. It was a real team effort. It's a shame we couldn't get three medals, but getting gold is great.”

Great Britain's gymnasts are well placed half through their apparatus qualifying at the European Games in Baku.

Qualifying is stretched over two days rather than one and the men's team provisionally rank second, behind Russia, posting 85.232 points after three rotations.

Team GB's women scored 54.832 points to rank third half way through their rotations behind the always dominant Russians and Hungary.

"The format of the event means we have to stay focussed over two days," said Brinn Bevan, the highest ranked Brit in the men's all-around standings in fourth.

"This is only half the job done. We've put in some solid routines that we can build on and see where that places us.

Charlie Fellows is the highest ranked British woman in the all-around standings after solid displays on the vault and uneven bars ranked her a provisional fifth.

Jon Boyton arrived in Baku representing Team GB for the first time and quickly made a good impression, finishing his K1 1000m heat third in 3:38.877 minutes to qualify for the semi-final.

But the 27-year-old wasn’t done there, returning hours later to cross the line in 3:27.898 to take his place in Monday’s showpiece.

“I have felt on the edge of breaking through into the A final at the last two World Cup events, so I am pleased that it has come together today in the European Games,” he said.

“This is my first A final at a major competition, so I am really pleased with that and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Boyton wasn’t the only one celebrating on Sunday as Rachel Cawthorn won her K1 500m semi-final to heat into her medal race as one to watch.

“I felt really good today in both races and managed to do what I intended to do in my race plan,” she said.

Elsewhere, the women’s K4 came second in their 500m heat to go straight through to the final, although Lani Belcher and Angela Hannah missed out on their K2 500m showpiece by just 0.16 seconds as they crossed their semi-final in fourth.

Timothy Pendle and Andrew Danels also failed to reach the K2 500m final as they finished their semi-final in eighth, while James Styan went one better in his C1 1000m.

Team GB synchronised swimming team leader Karen Thorpe insists the best is yet to come ahead of the battle for medals at Baku 2015.

Sunday saw the figures portion of the event take place, with Jorja Brown the top placing Brit in 54th with a score of 71.3455.

Next up was Genevieve Randall 16 places further back, her score of 70.0727 leaving her 13th overall following Saturday’s free routine, meaning she is first reserve for Tuesday’s solo final.

Elsewhere, however, Team GB, have qualified for the three other medal showdowns and Thorpe believes her youngsters will continue to give everything they have got in order to move up the rankings.

“Genevieve did well to come in 13th place out of 21,” Thorpe said. “She did a good job, it was going to be very close so we will go back and inspect the results, but in all the other events we are through to the final.

“We need to go back and analyse how we did in the prelims and then focus on the most obvious thing that we can improve on for the final for the judges so that we can try and up our scores a bit.

“That is going to be our main focus, just trying to improve our scores.”

Water polo team leader Nick Buller was keen to take away the positives despite his Team GB youngsters falling to defeat at the hands of the Netherlands.

After opening defeats to Greece and Germany, Team GB were keen to get points on the board as they went up against the Dutch but it wasn’t to be as the Netherlands ran out 19-6 winners.

“We have played Holland before and we were expecting that physical pressing, so we encouraged the girls to attack that rather than stay static with movement,” Buller said. “And there were periods in the game where we had success.

“For us it is about improvement from one game to another. We are not going to magically become a super team overnight, but the challenge for us is to improve from one game to the next and I think we did that. I was impressed with many aspects of the way we approached it.”

Ed Ling is anticipating a high-scoring men’s trap event at Baku 2015, and he is determined not to miss out on the party.

Ling currently sits ninth in the world rankings but knows anything can happen with Baku 2015 introducing a semi-final stage between qualification and the final.

Points earned in qualifying will not be carried forward either, but this isn’t stopping Ling from aiming high when he gets his European Games adventure underway on Tuesday.

"It's all about making the final now," said Ling, who is joined in Team GB’s shooting contingent by his wife Abbey.

"If you go into the final in sixth place, you've got everything to gain and nothing to lose, but if you qualify in first, you still have to shoot well again.

"There are potential wind problems, but the background and visibility are good. I think it's going to be a very high-scoring event.”

© Sportsbeat 2015