Countdown to Rio 2016: Summer sports week in review

25 August 2014 / 10:12

As was the case with the athletics team the week before, Great Britain were left celebrating another record-breaking occasion as they enjoyed their most successful European Swimming Championships in Berlin.

Adam Peaty, two individual and two relay golds, and Fran Halsall, two individual and one relay gold, were the stand-out performers as the swimmers topped the medal table with nine golds and 24 medals in total.

That surpassed their previous best performance of 18 medals and six golds won in Budapest in 2010.

The team also claimed two world records, both of which Peaty was involved with as he formed part of the mixed 4x100m metre relay team alongside Halsall, Chris Walker-Hebborn and Jemma Lowe.

While the 19-year-old, who was competing in only his second major international event following double gold and silver at the Commonwealth Games, swam 26.62 seconds in the 50m breaststroke semi-finals to beat the 26.67 mark set by Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa in July 2009.

And after following that up by adding the 50m breaststroke to his 100m breaststroke crown, he was already promising more for Rio in two years' time.

"I'm really happy with winning that one," said Peaty, who rounded off his meet with 4x100m gold. "It was a bit slower than my heats and the semis, but I was coming off a massive high from the night before. A high I've never experienced before.

"Hopefully come the Olympics I can fine-tune that and get stronger through the rounds.”

Also among the golds was Jazz Carlin, who won both the 400m and 800m freestyle, while Walker-Hebborn took the 100m backstroke title with Halsall adding 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke success to her relay gold.

Including diving and open-water events, Great Britain took 27 medals from the Championships, with two coming off the diving boards.

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley missed out on a hat-trick of European titles as he took silver in the men’s 10m platform but it was gold for Sarah Barrow in the women’s equivalent.

The 25-year-old sealed the title with five well-executed routines to give her a personal best 363.7 total.

"It's really good. I came here for a medal and I wanted a gold but I didn't expect it,” she said.

“Tonia Couch and I made history two years ago winning the 10m synchro gold and now I've got an extra one."

Back on home soil, Mo Farah continued his fine form following double gold at the European Championships when he broke the British two-mile record at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on Sunday.

In his first British track race of the year having missed the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow through illness, Farah crossed the line in 8:07.85 minutes to break Steve Ovett’s 1978 record and mark his twin girls’ second birthday in style.

“Early on I felt a bit tired and then as I got into it I felt better and better, so I kept looking at the clock and thought you can do it, you can do it," he said.

“Last week has given me good confidence, starting on the 10K then finishing on the 5K.

“This record hopefully will stay. It's my girls' birthday today, so that will mean a lot to me, they've just turned two so it's nice to think 'daddy broke the record that day'.”

Elsewhere in Birmingham there were also wins for 800m runner Lynsey Sharp as she beat world and Commonwealth champion Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya in a time of 1:59.14 minutes and Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m.

While Eilidh Child clocked 54.89 seconds for second the women’s 400m hurdles with Martyn Rooney third in the men’s 400m race.

Thursday night also saw the Diamond League visit Stockholm with Chijindu Ujah the stand-out Brit, finishing third in the men’s 100m, one place better than the fourth he managed in Birmingham.

Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee kept himself in contention heading into next week’s ITU World Championship Series finale as he edged out his brother Alistair in Stockholm.

The pair were clear heading into the run, with young brother Jonathon having the stronger sprint on the final climb.

He is second overall, 282 points behind Spain's Javier Gomez, who failed to finish the course.

“I wanted to win. I always want to win,” said Brownlee. “This season’s not gone as well as I could have hoped, but we built for the Commonwealth Games and got very fit for that and we’ve carried on going.

“Stockholm’s a great course. That was a great race. It was perfect team tactics really. At least it shows we’re on good form now as we get on a plane and fly to Canada for one more long journey.”

Meanwhile in the women’s race, Commonwealth champion Jodie Stimpson was unable to add to her medal haul as she finished back in 16th place, with teammate Lucy Hall the highest-placed Brit in ninth.

In cycling, Olympic silver Lizzie Armitstead secured the UCI Women's Road World Cup for the first time with one race remaining.

The 25-year-old Commonwealth champion finished eighth in the Open de Suede Vargarda in Sweden, two places ahead of nearest rival Emma Johnson.

"I am relieved and happy. I didn't expect to win the overall World Cup today already," she said.

While in the mountain biking, 21-year-old Manon Carpenter claimed the World Cup Series after a third-place finish in the final round in Meribel, France.

Carpenter ended the seven-race series on 1,360 points, ahead of Rachel Atherton, event winner in Meribel, and Emmeline Rogot of France.

While Englishman Joss Bryceland finished third in France to secure the overall men’s crown.

Sunday saw the start of the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam with Great Britain’s team enjoying six heat wins.

Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning showed they meant business, speeding away by the 100m mark to win their women’s pair heat while the men’s four of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge, also secured safe passage from their heats.

And Gregory insists he has plenty more left in the tank as he searches for a fourth World Championship gold medal.

"From my seat in the boat it felt great,” he said. “I feel the fittest I have ever been and more ready to race than ever. There is more juice in the legs to come.

“It was all about concentrating on making powerful strokes under the water and to put into race practice what we have been doing in training and then see where that got us.”

Elsewhere, London 2012 medallists James Foad and Matt Langridge triumphed in their men’s pair heat, while Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert beat Poland on the line in the men’s quadruple scull.

In the lightweight double scull, Kat Copeland and Imogen Walsh also fought off Poland to reach the semi-finals, and Vicky Thornley was second only to Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova in her single scull heat.

And in basketball, Great Britain will not be making a fourth consecutive at next year’s EuroBasket finals after they lost their final two qualifying matches against Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The team had to beat Iceland at the Copper Box on Wednesday to retain any hope of qualification but lost 71-69.

And Joe Prunty’s men were unable to end their campaign on a victory, losing 74-68 to Bosnia  on Sunday, Ben Mockford top-scoring with 19 points.

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