Baku Bulletin: Day Four in Review

Baku Bulletin: Day Four in Review

16 June 2015 / 16:36

Baku Bulletin: Day four comes to a close with a further three medals for Team GB as Charlie Maddock takes taekwondo gold while Lani Belcher and Ed McKeever take silver and bronze respectively in the canoe sprint finals. Here’s our review of the action and latest news from Baku.

Live Reports

  • Charlie Maddock makes history as first ever European Games taekwondo champion
  • Lani Belcher battles heat to take K1 5000m silver
  • Ed McKeever wins Great Britain's second medal of the Games with bronze in the K1 200m
  • Muhammad Ali gets Team GB boxers off to a winning start
  • Naomi Folkard admits archers have work to do after ranking round
  • Ed Ling buoyed by promising opening to his Baku adventure
  • Synchronised swimmers finish team event in tenth
  • Water polo team suffer defeat against Hungary
  • Kelly Sibley can’t turn fast start into victory

Around the Village

  • Driscoll aiming to soak up multi-sport atmosphere in preparation for Rio

Maddock claims historic gold

After claiming Team GB’s second gold of the Baku 2015 European Games, teenage taekwondo sensation Charlie Maddock admitted she was struggling to take it all in.

Maddock secured a spot in the -49kg final with a 4-1 victory in her semi-final, the 19-year-old breaking down in tears.

However, she composed herself to face off against reigning European and world junior champion Tijana Bogdanovic from Serbia, going on to claim gold thanks to a golden point after the pair were locked at 9-9 after the six minutes of regulation time.

“I just feel overwhelmed,” said Maddock, who earlier saw compatriot Max Cater exit the men’s -58kg competition at the quarter-final stage.

“I put so much hard work into getting into the semis but to win the final is just the icing on the cake.” Read more here.

Belcher all smiles after silver

Lani Belcher is feeling upbeat on the road to Rio after claiming canoe sprint European Games silver in Baku.

Belcher missed out on selection for Team GB at London 2012 and admits she briefly considered her future in the sport.

But the 26-year old took Great Britain’s third medal of the Games, crossing the line in the marathon K1 5000m just ahead of Hungary's Renata Csay. Long-time race leader Maryna Litvinchuk, of Belarus, took gold.

“It was a tough race because of the heat and on the first lap there was a bit of a tussle with boats and paddles crashing and I got caught up in it," said Belcher.  

"I was just really pleased to then fight back and come away with a silver."  Read more here. 

McKeever looks at positives after bronze medal

Ed McKeever insists he is on track for this summer's canoe sprint World Championships after collecting European Games bronze in Baku.

The Olympic K1 200m champion was looking to add to his collection of world and European titles in Mingachevir.

He was the most impressive qualifier in Monday's heats but Hungary's Miklos Dudas, sixth at London 2012, won the final by a clear distance with Sweden's Petter Menning and McKeever completing the podium.

"It’s always good to come away with a medal but’s a pity it’s not a gold one," he said.

"It was a tough race and it was a few seconds longer than normal and maybe that played into the bigger guys’ hands, just having that little bit more momentum." Read more here.

Boxer Ali thrives off team support

Flyweight boxer Muhammad Ali made sure to blow the cobwebs away in style in Baku, feeding off the energy of the crowd to progress into the last 16 at the European Games.

Ali, a bronze medallist at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, was the first of the British boxing contingent to take to the ring in Azerbaijan, where he faced Moldovan opponent Alexandr Riscan.

And he made sure to get Team GB off to a winning start, racking up a 3-0.

“It was important to get off to a winning start. My first fight was just about getting in there, getting rid of any rust because we have been here for a week now," he said.

“I could hear the crowd cheering from me. I thought it would only be the GB team, but the rest were as well. I think my style helps as well. I'm all action and throw a lot of shots, so I think people enjoy it.

“I knew he would start fast. I have watched his videos and it was about getting through the first round. I wanted to assert myself and make sure he didn't get everything his own way, and I thought I did that.” Read more here.

Folkard gathers her thoughts ahead of individual competition

Three-time Olympian Naomi Folkard admitted there was work to do after a mixed performance in the archery ranking round.

Folkard and British team-mate Nicky Hunt will now face each other in the first round of the individual event on Thursday and combine with team-mate Amy Oliver in Wednesday's team competition, where Team GB will be seeded 12th.

“Results wise it was pretty average, but my main aim coming was not really the result," said Folkard, who scored 633 to rank 25th.

"I have been struggling with some mental things and a couple of technical things, so they were my main priority.

"I coped quite well with my technical issue, I stayed quite consistent throughout. Mentally I started off well but I wasn't able to maintain my goals right through to the end, which was a little bit disappointing.

"We need to calm down, chill out and chat about it and then we'll be ready for tomorrow.” Read more here.

No excuses from Ling

Ed Ling believes he's in contention to push up the rankings after a solid first day in the men's trap shooting qualifying at the European Games.

London Olympian Ling, a world silver medallist last year, has been struggling with windy conditions during practice but scored 73 points to rank tenth at the halfway stage, just two points behind Russian leader Alexey Alipvov. British team-mate Bradley Davis sits back in 26th.

“I felt I shot very well, but 73 doesn't really show how I felt I shot," said Ling.

"But any time 73 is a really good score, so you take what you're given. The wind wasn't too bad. When we first arrived here it was really bad but it is not effecting anything now, so no excuses."

Meanwhile, Charlotte Kerwood finishing 17th in the women’s trap qualification, while team-mate Abbey Ling was more upbeat with her 12th place.

Teenager Seonaid McIntosh also declared herself satisfied with an 11th place in qualifying for the women's 10m air rifle.

However, there was disappointment for older sister Jen McIntosh who missed qualification by just one place, finishing ninth in qualifying with 415 points. Read more here.

Valuable lessons for synchro swimmers

It's been a learning experience for Team GB's synchronised swimmers at the European Games - in more ways than one.

Half of the ten strong squad have divided their time between competition, revision and their A Level and GCSE exams, which were held at an English school in Baku.

Those results won't be known until August but there is reason for optimism about the results in the pool at the conclusion of the five day competition.

After their ninth place in the team combination event, Great Britain finished the team event - won by the all-conquering Russian - in tenth, with a points score of 75.900.

And Genenieve Randall, who competed in four events in Baku, insists the experience has been invaluable ahead of the World Championships in Kazan later this year.

"It felt like a really good swim and that we made all our technical improvements, so we're really happy," she said. 

"Our performances across both finals have been really strong. It's our first multi sport championships and we've learnt so much and will take this experience and use it to motivate us going forward." Read more here.

Dean confident ahead of water polo classification matches

Isabelle Dean insists Team GB will head into their classification matches full of confidence despite slipping up against Hungary in their final group game.

Hopes were high for ending their group strongly having secured their first victory against Israel on Monday.

However, it wasn’t to be as Hungary showed their expertise in the pool and eased to a 16-4 win.

"We were very positive as a team we knew Hungary are very strong side so we went for it and played a confident game,” Dean said.

“We're all feeling very upbeat and will take this into our next game feeling confident and calm.” Read more here.

Sibley knocked out in opening round

Kelly Sibley was left rueing the fact she couldn’t turn a fast start into a victory as she suffered a first round defeat.

The 27-year-old was going up against Lithuanian Ruta Paskauskiene in her first round table tennis clash in Azerbaijan.

And Sibley looked as they she had found her groove immediately, racing into a 2-0 lead.

However, that was as good as it got as Paskauskiene advanced 4-2, leaving Sibley to wonder what could have been.

“I felt like I came out the blocks quite quickly and caught her off guard,” she said. “I knew I had to do that, because I have played her a few times before.

“I have beaten her a couple of times and those times when I did I have come out quickly and caught her cold.

“I did the same again today, I was 2-0 up but then she upped her game and I struggled to keep with the pace.” Read more here.

Driscoll ready to leave her mark

The last time Kat Driscoll got the chance to compete at a multi-sport event was back in 2013 where she came away from the World Games in Cali with synchro gold.

That was a year after she narrowly missed out on a spot in the final at London 2012 but since then multi-sports events have been few and far between.

But on the eve of competing at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Driscoll faces the prospect of two multi-sport events in little more than a year.

And, while Rio 2016 is the ultimate aim for the 29-year-old, she believes the experience in Azerbaijan could prove invaluable.

“The great thing about Baku is that it is a multi sport event and it is not often that you get the chance to be a part of something like that,” she said. 

It’s really important to get used to that environment so for me it is perfect preparation for Rio.

“Baku is a good chance for me to get out there and perform and just do what I need to do.” Read more here.

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