OLYMPIC24: Christie looks to Worlds, Murray set for return

17 February 2015 / 07:37

Elise Christie turns attention towards World Short Track Speed Skating Championships as Samantha Murray named among team for season-opening modern pentathlon World Cup. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Elise Christie straight back to training this week after following World Cup gold and bronze in preparation for next month’s World Championships.
  • World champion pentathlete Murray to compete internationally for first time since September at this weekend’s World Cup in Florida.
  • Cyclist Mark Cavendish eyes more success after fifth victory of 2015 in Almeria Classic.
  • Heather Watson struggles on return to WTA tour, losing in first round of Dubai Tennis Tournament.

Christie not resting on laurels after World Cup gold

Great Britain short track national coach Nicky Gooch insists Elise Christie’s success at the season ending World Cup in Turkey will not go to her head, with this week seeing her start preparations for next month's World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

Sochi 2014 Olympian Christie took victory in the 1000m by nearly a second in Erzurum on Saturday before following that up with a bronze in the 500m the following day.

A year on from her Sochi heartbreak, which saw her disqualified in all three events, the 24-year-old appears to be timing her current run to form to perfection.

Next month sees the World Championships take place in Moscow from March 13-15 and Gooch believes Christie – winner of world 1000m bronze in 2013 and 500m silver last year – is capable of mixing it with the best.

“Elise skated fantastically well in Turkey,” he said. “Her results across the World Cup Series have improved consistently and she can now head into the World Championships encouraged by the fact that she is very capable of winning medals on the world stage.

“Elise raced and won against some of her toughest competition at the weekend, but we won’t allow the victory to let us become complacent. Elise is back in training this week and we will be putting in a lot of hours in the lead up to the World Championships to make sure she is prepared.”

Murray set for competition return at Florida World Cup

World champion pentathlete Samantha Murray will make her return to competition at this weekend’s season-opening World Cup in Florida – her first event since September.

The 25-year-old has not competed since claiming her world title and the Olympic silver medallist will be joined by fellow world medallists Joe Evans and Katie French.

And GB performance director Jan Bartu says the best athletes were selected for the World Cup, which gets underway on Wednesday.

"It is essentially a long time since anyone has stepped into that bubble of the big event," said Bartu.

"We went with the top-ranked athletes based on our recent [selection] events."

In-form Cavendish enjoying the winning feeling

Mark Cavendish is determined to keep his current momentum going after sprinting to his fifth win of the season in the Almeria Classic.

The 29-year-old finished in 4:36:19 on Sunday to take the win over home rider Juan Jose Lobato and Australian Mark Renshaw.

It added to his overall victory at the Tour of Dubai earlier in the month, with Cavendish quick to praise his teammates for their efforts.

"By the time I went it was just a matter of finishing off the race for the win. It was perfect. I am super happy and proud about the way the team controlled the race the entire day,” he said.

"Now we just need to keep up this team atmosphere and keep trying to win races."

Watson downed in Dubai

Heather Watson’s return to action ended in a whimper in Dubai after she went down 6-4 7-5 to Kateryna Kozlova.

Watson has not played since her Australian Open exit and, despite offering plenty of resistance, the Brit was broken four times in the match, eventually losing in an hour and 37 minutes.

On this day ... Sochi 2014

Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland finished their second Winter Olympic campaign in the top ten – bang on target.

The ice dancers scored 91.78 from their Michael Jackson-inspired free dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace and combined with their short dance where they scored 59.33, that gave them a total of 151.11 to finish tenth.

“We have got to show ourselves as top contenders and we have got to mature and take our skating to a new level,” said Coomes. “I feel we are competitive now and that is just going to carry on for the next four years.”

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