Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

14 July 2014 / 09:40

Olympic canoe sprint champion Ed McKeever rebounded from his recent illness to claim silver at the European Championships.

McKeever has missed this season's World Cups but showed he was back near his best after taking second in the K1 200m in Bradenburg, just fractions behind Serbia's Marco Dragosaljevic. 

“I had a little while off with illness but I made sure I watched the World Cup races on the TV back home as a little motivator to get me back in the swing of things,” said McKeever.

“I’ve had some good training since then and my confidence levels were very high going into it, so I'm happy with the outcome.

“I feel like there are still a lot of things I can improve on over the next four weeks building up to the Worlds, and that's what I’m going to go away and do now.

“This is a good little confidence booster going into the next block of training.  I'm going to go away, work hard and hopefully improve on this result."

In the women’s K2 200m final Jess Walker and Angela Hannah recovered from a poor start to get back into contention, underling their worlds potential with a bronze.

“We didn't have the best start, didn't quite nail it the way we know we can but we caught up which was good,” said Walker. 

“It was a really close race and we are happy with the bronze. We are now hungry for the worlds.”

However, London 2012 bronze medallists Liam Heath and Jon Schofield missed out on the medals and a chance to win their fourth K2 200m European title, finishing fourth.

After a difficult week on the Tour de France, which saw defending champion Chris Froome and green jersey hope Mark Cavendish retire, Peter Kennaugh claimed a morale boosting win for British cycling.

Kennaugh was disappointed to be left out of Team Sky's Tour de France roster, especially after winning the national road race title in Wales.

But the 25-year old continued his impressive season with a victory in the Tour of Austria, his third major win of the season that included success in the highly-respected Coppi Bartali.

"Heading into this year I really wanted to win a pro bike race as I was going into my fifth year as a pro without a victory," said Kennaugh, who will represent the Isle of Man in track and road cycling at next week's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"I think I got a bit more confidence from those results and I had some good form after the Tour de Suisse. It was just nice to use it here and I'm happy I could finish it off."

Dylan Fletcher says he’ll take confidence from a gritty performance at the 49er European Championships in Helsinki.

Fletcher and Alain Sign were looking to defend their title but settled for silver - an achievement considering their wrote off their boat in the first race of the regatta and sat out three races.

“If you’d told us on Tuesday that we were going to be sat in this position I wouldn’t have believed you," said Fletcher.  

"After we hit that rock in the first race of the first day and smashed our race boat up – and it was a brand new boat we brought here – we were feeling pretty down.  

"We are still a bit frustrated to have not come out a bit better, but to come away with another medal, and beating the Olympic gold medallists, is always good."

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray was the highest placed British finisher at modern pentathlon's European Championships in Budapest.

Murray finished eighth, just one place ahead of team-mate Freyja Prentice while Katy French and former world champion Mhairi Spence were 13th and 20th respectively - ranking Britain fourth in the team event.

Joe Evans was the highest placed British men's finisher in Székesfehérvár in 13th place. Double Olympian Nick Woodbridge, competing for the first time in almost a year following a hip injury, won both the swim and the ride, but his challenge faded at the end of the run/shoot and he came home in 29th.

And 19-year-old Joe Choong, competing at his first senior international, finished 36th.

“Overall I’m not too disappointed,” said British team performance director Jan Bartu.  "We are still a work in progress and we have a few weeks to prepare for the World Championships.

“This was one of the most intense European Championships finals I have ever experienced. There were no weak athletes and from the first fencing match everyone had to battle for every single point."

Great Britain claimed four golds at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne - and also banked two silvers and four bronze medals from 14 final appearances.

Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert saw off the rest of the field in the men's quadruple sculls and Kat Copeland and Imogen Walsh were fastest in the lightweight double sculls.

Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were too strong in the women's pair while Britain's in-form men's four - Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge  - continued their impressive run of results.

Britain also won silver in the men's pair and the men's coxed pair and bronze in the lightweight men's four in the Olympic classes and the lightweight men's pair in the international classes.

In addition both their women's and men's eights secured third-placed finishes.

"It has been a very positive day today with our 11 Olympic class finalists and eight medals from those as well as our two medals from the international classes," British team performance director Sir David Tanner told www.britishrowing.org.

"Most exciting to me are our four golds just as we won in the second round of the world cup. We have laid a very good base for our World Championships campaign in Amsterdam."

Ashley Jackson and Alex Danson were the stand out stars as England's hockey teams prepared for next week's Commonwealth Games with morale boosting wins at the London Cup.

However, Bobby Crutchley's men's team had to do it the hard way after a 2-2 draw with Ireland in their final.

Ireland twice came from behind to cancel out strikes from Alastair Brogdon and David Condon but England keeper George Pinner performed heroics in the resulting shootout.

Sam Quek scored late on as England's women bounced back from their disappointing World Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over South Africa.

 

Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee claimed gold at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Hamburg - his first series win of the year. 

And younger brother Jonathan Brownlee took third behind France's Vincent Luis to also underline his form ahead of the Commonwealth Games triathlon in Glasgow - this season's target event.

Alistair Brownlee has been training at altitude in St Moritz since winning the European title last month and showed his strength, kicking away from his rivals with 500m to go.

Meanwhile, American Gwen Jorgensen strengthened her lead in the women’s series with her fourth win of the season, as Great Britain's Jodie Stimpson and Vicky Holland were fifth and seventh respectively.

“I think everyone is in a good position following big blocks of training coming into this race. We’re in a good position with under two weeks to go until the Commonwealth Games triathlon," said British Triathlon performance director Brendan Purcell.

Britain's James Dasaolu equalled his season's best in the men's 100m Diamond League in Glasgow to boost his chances of European Championships selection.

Dasaolu, 25, clocked 10.03 seconds in Hampden Park while heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson warmed up with next week's Commonwealth Games with a 6.92 metre personal best in the long jump.

Elsewhere, in-form Will Sharman equalled his personal best in the men's 110m hurdles, beating a world-class line-up to win in 13.21sec and Eilidh Child won the 400m hurdles in a season's best 54.39 secs.

Elsewhere, Great Britain's under-20 men's basketball team claimed a massive win over Greece to reach the second round of the European Championships for the first time ever.

"We're well aware of what it means for basketball in the UK, for us to reach the second round," said coach Douglas Leichner.

"But this is exciting and we're competing – and occasionally winning - against the basketball powerhouses of Europe."

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