Olympic24: Drinkhall hopes for baby boost in Rio as Scots curlers struggle

Paul Drinkhall believes becoming a father will help him as he goes for table tennis success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Drinkhall and wife Joanna, who won mixed doubles gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, had their first son – Douglas – in May last year.

Joanna has since given up competing at the highest level but Paul has thrived in recent months, winning the men's singles and men's doubles titles at the English National Table Tennis Championships a fortnight ago.

He is convinced that having a child has given him more perspective and heads into the European qualifying tournament for Rio later this month full of confidence.

"I've proved in all the tournaments over the past two years that I can challenge anybody so it is just getting myself in the best shape, living in the moment and enjoying it," Drinkhall told BBC Sport. "I think if I do that then anything is possible

"It's obviously a massive change having your first child – things are a lot different at home.

"You struggle to eat for a while, I remember the first few weeks you would get to 4pm and think ‘I'm hungry' and then realise you haven't eaten all day.

"It has sort of helped my table tennis in a way though because there is more to life than there was before.”

Scotland fell to their third successive defeat at the World Curling Championship with a 5-3 loss to Canada in their fifth round-robin game on Monday.

The Scots had narrowly lost to Japan earlier in the day with a 6-5 defeat after missing on a tight take-out attempt with the last stone of the game, handing the win to their opposition in a match they should have won.

The afternoon's tie was all-square at the break after skip Tom Brewster hit out a Canadian stone to score one, but his opposite number scored two points with a hit on a Scottish stone to take the 5-3 win.

But despite the disappointment of defeat, Brewster insists his side cannot be ruled out with six games to go.

"We played a lot better in the game against Canada," he said. "We've been pretty solid in both games today but we've been unfortunate and come out with two losses when we could just as easily have had two wins.

"We were a bit unlucky, we had a pick-up in the ninth end and it might have been a slightly different end otherwise.

"We are not talking about the losses; we're talking about what we're doing well and what other teams are doing.”

Scotland return to action against the hosts Switzerland in their next game on Tuesday afternoon, before facing the USA later that night.

Johanna Konta rose to her highest ever WTA ranking as she reached 21 in this week’s list.

The Brit has enjoyed a stellar 12 months on the court, including a run the the semi-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year.

This time last year she was ranked 151 in the world but reached another milestone last week, becoming the first Brit to reach the last eight of the Miami Open, before being beaten by eventual winner, Belarussia’s Victoria Azarenka.

Elsewhere in the tennis world British number two, and world number 55, was knocked out of the Katowice Open in the first round.

Watson was beaten in three sets in Poland by Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, going down 6-2 3-6 6-4.

British number three, Naomi Broady, also went up in the rankings, moving two places to 78.

England Women's Sevens coach Simon Middleton is adamant his troops have bounced back from their disappointment in Sao Paulo after naming his squad for the next two legs of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.

A squad of 14 players have flown to Atlanta, USA for the latest leg of competition next weekend before heading on to Langford, Canada for the following event which takes place on 16-17 April.

Emily Scarratt returns to captain the side and coach Middleton is relishing the challenge that the latest leg will bring.

"Atlanta is a fantastic draw for us with Australia as our first game," said Middleton. "They're a side we don't play that often and if we want to improve, we need to be able to go out and beat those sides.

"We're only going to get confident at beating them by playing them and that's exactly the opportunity we've got in Atlanta.

"We're in a good place mentally and physically to go out and give a good account of ourselves.”

The 2016 British Weightlifting Championships are set to return to Coventry in June in what is anticipated to be the pivotal final selection event for the Olympic Games in Rio.

The Championships are taking place in Coventry for the third consecutive year with the Ricoh Arena set to play host on June 11-12.

Depending on results at the European Weightlifting Championships later this month, British lifters will be fighting it out at the Ricoh for a maximum of two places at the Olympic Games.

Commonwealth Games champion Zoe Smith is slated to compete in the women's 63kg category against the likes of 2015 European Junior champion Sarah Davies and 2016 English champion Emily Godley, while World Youth Championship silver medallist Rebekah Tiler will take to the stage in the 69kg category.

On the men's side London 2012 Olympians Jack Oliver and Gareth Evans will be looking to retain the British titles they won in the 77kg and 69kg categories respectively 12 months ago while the same applies for Sonny Webster at 94kgs.

Great preparation is fundamental to Olympic Games success and Team GB are well on their way following two agreements in Rio de Janeiro to secure private training facilities for the team this summer.

Both The British School and the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo (CRF)  will offer high-class training venues for our athletes during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, helping them to perform at their very best at the greatest sporting show on earth.

The British School, an English-speaking independent school based across Rio, will allow Team GB use of their Barra site, located just 8km from the Olympic Village.

As well as training facilities for a host of sports including a 25m swimming pool, 3G AstroTurf pitch and multi-use sports hall, the school will also provide key medical, physio and operational areas as well as housing media and the friends and family of our athletes.

The British School is part of Team GB’s partnership with UK Sport and the National Lottery to provide a preparation camp for Rio 2016, including the operations based in Belo Horizonte which will house the majority of sports as their pre-Games base before flying into Rio for the Games themselves.

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With its hellish cobbled sections, steep hills and over a century of history, the Tour of Flanders is one of cycling’s – if not sport’s – most iconic races.

The unforgiving course has left many a rider’s dreams in tatters down the years and the Belgian Monument proved to be something of a mixed bag for Team GB’s cyclists on Sunday.

Lizzie Armitstead continued her incredible form since becoming world champion late last year to win the women’s edition for the first time.

Meanwhile, in the men’s race, Geraint Thomas was considered a legitimate contender for victory but could only finish 12th – although his Team Sky teammate Luke Rowe crossed the line in a creditable fifth place.

Prior to the start of the season, Armitstead insisted the Tour of Flanders and Rio 2016 Olympic Games were her main goals and was understandably ecstatic to successfully tick off the first of those.

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Sportsbeat 2016