Baku Bulletin: Day Three in Review

15 June 2015 / 14:23

Baku Bulletin: Day three is done and dusted with Olympic champion Ed McKeever in determined mood en route to K1 200m finals while women’s water polo team off the mark with first win. Here’s our review of the action and latest news from Baku.

Live Reports

  • Ed McKeever qualifies direct for Tuesday’s K1 200m final, as does Rachel Cawthorn in the women’s equivalent with K2 200m duo  K2 200m duo Liam Heath and Jon Schofield also into medal race
  • Brinn Bevan and Kelly Simm both into two individual finals as men’s and women’s gymnasts finish team finals in eighth
  • Team GB women find their rhythm with 13-9 win over Israel in water polo
  • Jodie Cowie and Genevieve Randall 12th in synchronised swimming duets
  • Wrestler Jana Rattigan suffers first round defeat

Around the Village

  • Antony Fowler aiming to expand medal collection in Baku
  • Jade Jones determined to bounce back with bang
  • Beach volleyballer duo Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf on a mission 
  • Further reaction to Gordon Benson's gold medal

McKeever gets job done in heats

Olympic champion Ed McKeever admits he's got a target on his back at the European Games - but he's got no complaints.

McKeever narrowly beat Spain's Saul Craviotto Rivero to win the K1 200m title at London 2012 but was comfortably his match in Baku.

The British sprint specialist qualified straight to the final with a confident heats victory while the Olympic silver medallist crashed out in the semi-finals.

"Qualifying straight to the final is more of a psychological advantage over my opponents than a physical one," said McKeever.

"I had a good start and felt good. I just followed on from there, paddling fast. Read more here

Bevan and Simm lead British gymnastics charge

Gymnast Brinn Bevan insists he will go into the individual finals with no fear after making the all-around and pommel final in Baku.

Monday saw the culmination of the men’s and women’s team finals with the top two scores from the three-strong team deciding the overall total.

Bevan lead from the front for the men, top scoring with 86.264 as he and teammates Frank Baines and Nile Wilson placed eighth overall on 171.362 – Russia taking the gold on 178.963.

It was a similar story in the women’s standings too, with the Russia gymnasts on top while Great Britain came home eighth on 107.964.

Kelly Simm also impressed, qualifying for the all-around and vault final, while Georgina Hockenhull will go in the beam final. Read more here.

Team GB record first water polo win

Isabelle Dean admitted a calm approach was key as the women’s water polo team held on to record their first victory of the 2015 European Games.

Despite defeats to Greece, Germany and the Netherlands, Team GB went into Monday’s clash with Israel in confident mood of learning from their previous mistakes.

And it started off well as they led at half-time 7-3, Mhairi Louise Nurthen and Katherine Rogers with two goals each.

The pair completed their hat-tricks in the third quarter but Israel were not prepared to roll over and suddenly the pressure was on coach Nick Buller’s team with the scores at 11-9 to Team GB with four and a half minutes to play.

Thankfully two Grace Rowland efforts, the latter completing her own hat-trick, gave Team GB some breathing space as they ran out eventual 13-9 winners. Read more here.

Synchro swimmers step it up

Coach Karen Thorpe believes the hard work is starting to pay off after Genevieve Randall and Jodie Cowie moved themselves up the rankings.

Randall and Cowie finished the synchronised swimming duet competition in 12th after today's final, won convincingly by Russia's Valeriya Filenkova and Daria Kulagina.

They then returned for the team event, putting in an improved performance to place ninth overall, as Russia won again.

“I’m really happy with that performance from the girls,” said Thorpe. “We aimed to improve on our score from the preliminaries and we did that by a whole mark and, as a result, moved up the rankings so things are looking good.

“It makes the hard work worth it when they get the right score and that performance was a lot better. The girls would have felt that while in the water and today was a good swim.” Read more here.

Early exit for wrestler Rattigan

British wrestler Yana Rattigan insists she'll learn the lessons from her first round exit at the European Games in Baku.

Rattigan was hoping for a successful return to the Azerbaijan capital, where she became the first British woman to win a European Championship medal five years ago.

But her Games experience didn't last long, beaten 4-1 in the first round of the women's 48kg event by Ukrainian rival Oleksandra Kogut.

Rattigan, 28, will now reset her sights on the qualifying process for next year's Olympics in Rio, which starts at the World Championships in Las Vegas in September. Read more here.

Fowler on the hunt for gold

Antony Fowler insists his professional debut can wait as he seeks to add to his medal collection at the European Games in Baku.

After striking middleweight gold at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the former world bronze medallist was continually asked on social media when he'd be quitting the amateur game.

But the 24-year old remains totally committed to next year's Olympics and a medal in Baku would secure qualification for the October's World Championships, where all-important Olympic selection will be up for grabs.

"Professionalism was always there," he said, "But for now it's all about me getting an Olympic medal - hopefully a gold one. It's been my goal since day one, when I was a kid." Read more here.

Jones looking firmly forwards

Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones believes topping the podium in Baku will go some way to making amends for her recent World Championship disappointment.

Jones is still smarting over her quarter-final loss to Iran's Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin when a computer crash failed to register a potentially match-winning shot.

But with Olympic qualification points up for grabs in Azerbaijan, there is no time to dwell on the past on the road to Rio.

"I'm quite lucky that this competition was just around the corner. Normally you might dwell on a defeat like that for a while but I had to go straight to the gym and crack on," said Jones, who starts her -57kg competition on Wednesday.

"I am still not perfect at dealing with the pressures. Sometimes, they still get to me and I am trying to relax.” Read more here.

Gregory means business on the sand

As the sport of beach volleyball took Great Britain by storm at London 2012, Chris Gregory was one such member of the public whipped up in the frenzy of it all.

But as a beach volleyballer himself, having discovered the sport through the Talent Identification programme ‘Sporting Giants’ a few years before the Games begun, Gregory was somewhat envious as he watched the men’s final from the stands at Horse Guards Parade.

However, fast forward to the present day and Gregory is about to realise his Team GB dream as he and Jake Sheaf get ready to compete at the first ever European Games in Baku, action on the sand getting underway on Wednesday.

“Myself and Jake are both very ambitious and we want to be successful on the biggest stage, which for beach volleyball is the Olympics," he said.

“The European Games is a start to this and we head there looking to lay down a marker and showing everyone what we are all about.” Read more here.

Gold just the start of things to come for Benson

Gordon Benson laid down a marker for the future with his European Games triathlon gold, according to British team coach Brendan Purcell.

Benson, 21, won Team GB's first-ever medal at the inaugural event with a dominant victory on Sunday to prove that British triathlon isn't all about the all-conquering Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny.

"This is a great result for Gordon," he said. "He was in world under-23s last year so we see Gordon as an athlete of the future for us.

"One of his goals is to learn how to produce big performances in big races. We thought Gordon was best placed to do that here, but actually all the athletes did that. They all talked about giving a team performance and they did.” Read more here.

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