Baku Bulletin: Day Five in Review

17 June 2015 / 16:20

Team GB were able to celebrate two taekwondo gold medals in a matter of 24 hours as Jade Jones followed in Charlie Maddock’s footsteps by climbing the top step of the podium. But there was also plenty more to shout about on day five. Here’s our review of the action and latest news from Baku.

  • Jade Jones adds European Games title to her impressive CV
  • Plenty of finals for acrobatic gymnasts to look forward to
  • Kat Driscoll sits fifth head into trampoline showpiece
  • Boxer Qais Ashfaq breezes into last 16
  • Ed Ling falls just short of a men’s trap medal
  • Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford taste victory
  • Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf fail to get off to winning start in beach volleyball
  • Archers narrowly fall to Georgia
  • Water polo team show fight against Serbia

Jones at it again with another gold medal

Jade Jones might have completed her gold medal collection in Team GB colours with her Baku triumph, but she has bad news for her rivals – the Welsh wonder adamant she still has plenty more to give.

Heading into this inaugural European Games, Jones could already boast two titles while representing Team GB, having triumphed at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 before ruling the women’s -55kg roost at London 2012.

And the 22-year-old saw off Croatian Ana Zaninovic 12-9 to add another title to her impressive CV.

"I'm just buzzing after that to be honest,” Jones said. “To get the Youth Olympic Games gold, the Olympic gold and now the European Games gold at such a young age is amazing.

"All through the day I haven't felt my best and scraped through a couple of fights but I'm chuffed that I got through and I thought I fought a lot better in the final.

"This is the first ever Games so it's great to win gold here. There's still so much to work on. I didn't fight my best here so I need to go back to the gym and work hard in the build-up to Rio."

Baughn targets medal after sealing final spot

Acrobatic gymnast Hannah Baughn believes a medal is within her grasp as she and partner Ryan Bartlett booked their spot in Friday's all-around and Sunday's balance and dynamic finals – a feat matched by the women's team.

The duo posted 28.360 from their balance routine to qualify behind Russia and Belgium and went a shade better in the dynamic with 28.450 – Russia once again pipping Belgium to top spot.

"It felt amazing to compete for Team GB, we've never done a multi-sport event before and the crowd were incredible,” she said.

“Looking ahead we think we may even be able to go better and take silver in the all-around but any medals would be fantastic.”

In the women's team event Josie Russell, Jennifer Bailey and Cicely Irwin also impressed as they qualified fourth with their dynamic routine (28.040) and third in the balance (28.190).

Driscoll seals final spot

Kat Driscoll knows she will have to bring her best to the table if she is going to clinch a European Games medal after the London 2012 Olympian qualified fifth for the trampoline final.

Driscoll posted 46.74 in her set routine while an impressive 52.725 in her voluntary routine left her on 99.465 overall.

“I'm generally pretty happy. They weren't my best routines but they were clean and that's what's important in qualifying so happy overall,” she said.

“Looking ahead to the final I know the opposition is strong but also know I'm capable of improvement so we'll see.”

While there was success for Driscoll, teammate Laura Gallagher struggled to find her rhythm and couldn't make progress after finishing 23rd with 20.225, while Luke Strong's tidy set routine wasn't enough to secure his final berth as he ended qualifying in 27th with 52.050. 

Ashfaq delighted to take opening win

Qais Ashfaq might not have had the best preparation to the European Games but he showed no signs of rust as he saw off Giorgi Gogatishvili 3-0 to book a spot in the last 16.

The 22-year-old has only had three weeks sparring in the build up to Baku after cuts sustained while fighting for the British Lionhearts kept him on the sidelines.

But he didn't let that stop him as he took victory at the Crystal Hall in Baku to set up a bout with Turkey's Selcuk Eker.

He said: “That wasn't too bad, it was a nice warm up in the first fight. I haven't boxed for a while because I have only been sparring for three weeks so I'm getting sharper.

“I'm getting my mind working fast and getting back on it and against an awkward kid like that I just needed to punch and duck and bring his head in.”

Ling upbeat despite missing out on bronze

Ed Ling says he is happy with his effort in Baku despite missing out on a medal in the men's trap.

The 32-year-old Olympian qualified for Wednesday's bronze medal match after finishing fourth in the semi-final with a score of 12 – Erik Varga and Alexey Alipov taking the top-two spots with the latter eventually taking gold.

Ling was left to do battle with Giovanni Pellielo and it went to form with the Italian scoring 13 to edge out the Brit's 11 and take bronze.

“I’d have taken a spot in the final any day. To get there is a tough thing in itself,” said Ling.

“The standard of shooting in Baku has been very high. It shows I’m strong and can come back into contention and that’s something I always like to do.”

Brad Davis had also been in action earlier in the day but failed to progress to the final after finishing 27th in qualification.

Drinkhall ready for Tokic test

Paul Drinkhall knows he will have his work cut out for him after he secured a second-round victory to set up a clash with Bojan Tokic but is confident of making further progress in Baku.

The 25-year-old saw off tricky Bulgarian Adam Pattantyus 4-2 (5-11 11-5 9-11 11-9 11-6 11-8) but knows he faces a different prospect when he takes on Slovenian Tokic.

“It was quite a tough match and he has a strange style and haven't played him before. It took a few games to get used to,” said Drinkhall.

“I've never beaten Tokic before so it's going to be a tough match, we have had quite a few close battles in the past and but I'm confident I can beat him tomorrow.”

There was also success for Liam Pitchford who came from 2-0 down to take the match 4-2 against Bosnian Admir Duranspahic and set up a clash with Slovakia's Wang Yang in the third round. 

Sheaf and Gregory look to regroup after Austrian defeat

It was a disappointing start to the European Games for Team GB beach volleyball duo Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf as they went down 2-0 to Austria in their opening Group G match.

The pair lost the first set to Tobias Winter and Lorenz Peter Petutschnig 21-19 and couldn't muster up much resistance in the second as they lost out 21-12.

The result leaves the Austrians sitting atop the group with Team GB taking on Spain on Thursday and Estonia on Friday.

“We are looking forward to tomorrow and we have still got every chance and have confidence going in and will take lessons from that match and into the next games,” said Gregory.

Hunt switches attention after first-round team exit

Nicky Hunt knows it's all to play for on the road to Rio after she and fellow archers Naomi Folkard and Amy Oliver narrowly lost to Georgia in the first round of the team competition.

The trio went ahead early at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium but the Gerogians won the decisive final set by one point to see off the Brits.

Hunt will now face Folkard in the first round of the individual competition on Friday and, with the World Championships in Copenhagen also on the horizon later this month, she knows she needs to be at her best.

"The team isn't fixed yet," she said. "We've got a selection shot before the World Championships.

"Naomi and Amy are well ahead but there are four or five on us in this team and only three available slots, so we've got to work hard to push each other on. Anyone one of those five could be in the team for Rio." 

Buller proud despite defeat

Women's water polo team leader Nick Buller is confident that his squad can bounce back after suffering defeat in the 7-12 quarterfinal against Serbia.

Grace Rowland scored three times for Team GB but they were powerless to prevent defeat as the Serbians ran out 11-3 victors – Lara Luka helping herself to four goals.

The team now square off with Isreal in Thursday's 11-12 classification match.

“I am really disappointed for the girls, the effort they put in just can’t be faulted,” said Buller.

“I am sure they will recover in terms of focusing for the game tomorrow.”

© Sportsbeat 2015