Olympic24: Brits march on at badminton's All England

06 March 2015 / 06:56
Chris and Gabby Adcock and Rajiv Ouseph both progress to the last eight at the All England Championships in Birmingham, plus skeleton, athletics and swap of sports for Victoria Pendleton. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.
  • Defending champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir next up for Adcocks at All England Championships
  • Rajiv Ouseph pride at second round win...he holds a winning record over last eight rival
  • Dominic Parsons sits eighth after two runs at skeleton World Championships
  • Lawrence Clarke wants captain's performance at European Indoor Championship
  • Victoria Pendleton wants to ride at next year's Cheltenham Festival

Adcocks march on at All England

Chris Adcock insists a straight-sets second round victory was perfect preparation for Friday night’s quarter-final showdown at the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham.

Playing alongside wife Gabby, Adcock saw off Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Greysia Polii 21-12, 21-18 in the mixed doubles.

Victory over the Indonesian pair means the Brits are in the last eight for the second year running – they lost to number one seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in 2014.

And while Chris admits it wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline suggested, especially against the unorthodox Sukamuljo, he was delighted with a job well done.  

“It was quite strange playing against Kevin because you never really get the shot you expect which is difficult,” he said.

“But sometimes it works in your favour because he will come out with something that doesn’t quite work.

“With some of his shots you just have to admit that was amazing and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

“Before the game we would have taken any win but the fashion in which we did it was very important, not only to conserve energy but to get confidence and feel good.

“We certainly did that but I think they showed that if you play them the wrong way or they get confident, then they can really cause problems.”

The Adcocks’ quarter-final opponents this evening will be another Indonesian duo – the fourth-seeded Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.

Having won the All England mixed doubles title for each of the past three years, they will be heavy favourites but Chris believes the stage is set an upset.

“We’ve played them a few times – I think we lost to them three or four times and beaten them maybe once, so they are definitely the favourites going into this tie,” he added.

“They’ve won this the last three years but there’s definitely a belief that if we play our best, then we can turn them over.

“Friday nights at the All Englands, there are so many shocks and anything can happen, so hopefully we can cause one of those upsets.”

And Proud Ouseph progresses in Birmingham

Rajiv Ouseph said his first round win over the world number four would mean nothing unless he backed it up - and he delivered on his word.

The British number one took 72 minutes to progress to the All England quarter-finals, with a comeback 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 victory over India's HS Prannoy.

Four weeks ago, Ouseph was looking doubtful for the prestigious event due to a leg injury - missing world tour events and some of the European Team Championships.

But he now faces world number 17 Sho Sasaki, a player ranked six slots above him, in the last eight but he edges their personal head-to-head 3-2.

"It has been a quick turnaround for me and perhaps not using as many tournaments as I would have liked," said Ouseph.

"But I am playing as well as I have ever done and long may that continue. It was a tough mental battle and I am just happy to get through."

Parsons joint eighth at halfway stage of skeleton worlds

Dominic Parsons kicked off British Skeleton’s World Championships campaign in solid fashion as he finished the first day of racing in Winterberg joint eighth after two runs.

Parsons, 27, was consistent in both of his runs as he produced start times of 5.10 and 5.09 seconds and an overall time of 1:53.51 minutes to put himself inside the top ten target. Latvia's Martins Dukurs leads the way.

David Swift’s first run put him inside the top 20 but a skid at the top of his second run meant he lost some time and finished the day in 25th.

Ed Smith had a tough first run before shaving 0.25 second off his time in his second to finish the first day in 29th place.

Friday sees the men’s competition finish with the third and fourth runs, while the women will get underway with Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold, Laura Deas and Rose McGrandle all in action.

Captain Clarke relishing added pressure

Lawrence Clarke believes pressure will be his greatest ally as he looks to lead Great Britain to success in Prague at this weekend’s European Indoor Championships.

The 24-year-old will be Britain's team captain in the Czech Republic and is ready to get the competition off to a flying start with victory in the 60m hurdles on Friday. 

“You are your own worst enemy in these environments. In theory every single athlete knows what to do but we don't always do it,” he said. 

“If I can be as consistent as I have been I am putting myself in the best possible environment to slip in on the outside.

“From your last training session to the moment the gun goes that is where the race is won and lost and certainly for me my best ally is the most intense period of pressure for those athletes.

“I know when I go into that environment I tend to flourish and hopefully they will know that. I think being able to not let the pressure overcook you is what I will talk about in my captain's speech.”

Pendleton makes sporting comeback … as a jump jockey

Double Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton is swapping her bike for a horse.

Pendleton quit competitive cycling after her keirin gold at London 2012 but is currently working with top racehorse trainer Paul Nicholls and Great Britain's equestrian team manager Yogi Breisner in a bid to earn her category A racing licence.

Her dream is to compete in the presigtious Foxhunters Chase at next year's Cheltenham Festival - the Gold Cup for amateur jockeys.

"My team and I have identified the ambitious target of riding competitively in the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham Festival next year," she said.

"But the initial focus will be on getting me to a level whereby I am granted an amateur jockey licence, which is a significant challenge in itself given that I had never even sat on a horse until a week ago."

© Sportsbeat 2015