Olympic24: Cooke cruises into final, Starling brings curtain down on diving career

Olympic24: Cooke cruises into final, Starling brings curtain down on diving career

21 August 2015 / 06:56
Jamie Cooke leads the way for the Brits in qualifying for final of modern pentathlon European Championships, while diver Hannah Starling brings curtain down on her career. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Jamie Cooke impresses in qualification at modern pentathlon European Championships
  • London 2012 Olympian Hannah Starling announces retirement from diving
  • Andy Murray beats Gregor Dimitrov 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 to reach last eight of Cincinnati Masters
  • Jessica Ennis-Hill aims to do son proud at World Championships
  • Bryony Shaw ends her Rio Test Event on a high with victory in final race
  • GB showjumpers lie fourth at European Championships
  • Bianca Walkden determined to be the very best

Cooke on track to secure Olympic berth


Jamie Cooke eased into the modern pentathlon European Championships final at the University of Bath to stay on course to book a spot at next year’s Olympic Games.

Cooke finished second in group B, and third overall, in qualification to cruise through to Saturday’s final where a top-eight finish would seal a place in Brazil.

Fellow Brits Tom Toolis and Joe Choong also qualified for the final by finishing tenth and 22nd respectively meaning they will also bid for GB’s maximum allocation of two Olympic spots.

“I had a great swim which was nice and then backed it up with a good strong fence,” said the 24-year-old.

“Finishing in the top eight would be amazing and I think it will come down to my fencing, if I can put myself in the top eight going into the combined anything can happen.”

“It would be amazing to get that [Olympic] place, but it wouldn't take the pressure off.

“We have such a strong squad that anything could happen next year, so I'll have to keep fighting all of next year as well.”

Starling thanks fans for support


Hannah Starling admits she will enter her diving retirement full of happy memories, most notably that of London 2012.

Starling finished 13th in the 3m springboard at the Olympics three years ago before winning a bronze medal at last year’s Commonwealth Games in the same event.

“I would like to thank you all [the fans] for supporting me throughout my career,” explained Starling. ”You guys are one of the reasons I loved it so much.” Read more here.

Murray battles back in Dimitrov thriller

Andy Murray was pushed all the way by Grigor Dimitrov at the Cincinnati Masters before eventually prevailing in almost three hours to reach the last eight.

Second seed Murray trailed 5-2 in the final set but stormed back to win 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 to set up a clash with Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

"There were many, many important points in that match," he said. "I'm not quite sure how I managed to get through it."

Ennis-Hill determined to do son proud

Jessica Ennis-Hill will be spurred on by her son back home when she competes in the upcoming World Championships in Beijing.

Action gets underway on Saturday for Olympic heptathlon champion Ennis-Hill, who admitted she has extra motivation now since giving birth to her first child in July last year.

“I want to make it really worthwhile and make him proud as well," she said.

"That morning when I left him was one of the hardest things I have ever, ever done. I was overcome with emotion, it is really, really difficult."

Shaw ends week on a high


Bryony Shaw ended a frustrating week at the Aquece Rio International Regatta on a positive note as she won the windsurfing RS:X medal race.

Shaw ably negotiated the strong winds to lead by a minute and a half at the halfway point and maintained that advantage to cross the line in first, boosting her overall standing to sixth.

And the Beijing 2008 bronze medallist believes she is on track with Rio just a year away.

“It was glamorous conditions out there, building all the time,” Shaw told British Sailing. 

“It was nice to finish on a high. It is all learning and there are some key points in my game that I can iron out.”

The British 470 teams also had a solid day as London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark claimed the yellow jerseys with two days remaining while Luke Patience and Elliot Willis moved up to third overall.

Meanwhile, Nick Thompson, Alison Young and the pairs of John Pink-Stuart Bithell and Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth all qualified for Friday’s medal races in their respective categories.

Equestrian riders stay in medal hunt


The British quartet produced a succession of strong runs on day two of the team competition to remain on track for a medal, and Olympic qualification, at the Equestrian European Championships in Aachen, Germany.

Joe Clee and Michael Whitaker produced clear rounds, Ben Maher’s only fault came at the final fence and although Jessica Mendoza had 12 faults the GB team find themselves in fourth place, within striking distance of Germany in third.

“I said when I came out; I’ve never felt pressure like it,” said Whitaker.

“There’s extra pressure to qualify for the Olympics.

“If I’d gone in and not had a good round that would have been it – now we’re still fighting for tomorrow, even for a medal.

“You couldn’t get it [the course] wrong, you had to ride every fence and think about all the lines and even the last fence.”

Walkden targeting further success

Bianca Walkden may have already become world champion in 2015 but now she has her sights set on World Taekwondo Grand Prix success to secure a spot at next year’s Olympic Games.

Walkden beat France’s Gwladys Epangue 4-2 in a memorable final to lift the +73kg title at the World Championships in Chelyabinsk back in May.

A bronze medal in the Grand Prix event in Russia earlier this month then pushed her up to fifth spot in the +67kg category, with the top six qualifying for Rio next year.

“As is stands, it is good enough for Olympic qualification,” Walkden told GB Taekwondo.

“But anything can happen in this sport and I know that better than most.

“So, I want to push on and get up higher if I can. I’d like to get to number one.”

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