Olympic24: Coomes and Buckland impress at Worlds while Konta takes positives in defeat

Olympic24: Coomes and Buckland impress at Worlds while Konta takes positives in defeat

01 April 2016 / 07:13

Nicholas Buckland and Penny Coomes finished a career-best seventh in the Figure Skating World Championships in Boston while Johanna Konta went out of the Miami Open at the quarter-final stage. Here's our review of the last 24 hours: 

  • Ice Dance duo of Coomes and Buckland claim personal best in Boston
  • Konta loses to World No.8 Azarenka but will take confidence into clay court season
  • Head coach Cheryl Smith insists Team GB are going for gold at Ice Hockey Worlds

Buckland and Coomes bounce back in style

Buckland and Coomes

Ice dancer duo Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland bounced back from an injury-ravaged 2015 to claim a career-best finish of seventh in the Figure Skating World Championships in Boston.

The pair – who have competed in the last two Winter Olympics for Team GB – opened on Tuesday with a personal best in the short dance.

And they backed that up in the free dance on Thursday – their routine scoring 104.94 for a season’s best and personal best score for the pair of 173.17.

And after missing last year's World and European championships through illness – Buckland was delighted with how the pair had performance on the big occasion.

"We really wanted to leave it all out on the ice tonight and we did that," he said.  “I’m really proud of how we handled the pressure.”

France’s Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis defended their World Championship title from last year, scoring a record 118.17 points on Thursday for a total of 194.46.

They were followed by two American teams on the podium, just the third time USA has had multiple ice dance medalists at the same world championships.
Maia and Alex Shibutani were second while Madison Chock and Evan Bates, last year's silver medalists, finished third.

And while the British duo – bronze medallists at the 2014 European Championships – were not quite in medal contention, Coomes was delighted with their showing in Boston.

"I was so in-the-moment, so involved in that performance," she said. "I lived every second and thoroughly enjoyed it."

There was less good news in the ladies short program where Britain’s Kirsten Spours scored only 42.64 to leave her 36th.

That was not enough to qualify Spours – who at 15 is the youngest lady in the field – for Friday’s final that will see home favourite Gracie Gold going for top spot.

Konta stays confident after Miami defeat

Johanna Konta Team GB Miami Open

British number one Johanna Konta admitted she will take plenty of positives into the clay court season despite exiting the Miami Open at the quarter-final stage to Victoria Azarenka.

Konta became the first British woman to reach the last eight of the tournament but couldn't reach the final four as she was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Azarenka in just over 90 minutes.

 Despite the straight sets loss, 24-year-old Konta did have chances but she failed to convert any of her five break points against the world number eight.

Azarenka made just 14 unforced errors in 119 points as she looks for back-to-back titles, having beaten Serena Williams at Indian Wells earlier this month.

Konta is currently ranked number 23 in the world and would have broken into the top 20 had she reached the Miami Open final, but the Brit conceded Azarenka was a worthy winner.

"I'm happy with the level I was able to bring to the court. Obviously I'm disappointed that I couldn't have done a little bit better but I'm taking the positives from it," she said.

"I do believe the few chances that I was able to create, she did an incredible job.

"I think maybe bar one, when I felt I could have maybe made a return - I think she really did win every single point.

"She definitely kept her claws in there and she took it way from me.”

Smith and Team GB going for ice hockey gold

Great Britain Women’s ice hockey coach Cheryl Smith has told her players they must produce their best form in every match if they are to win gold at the World Championships.

In ice hockey the World Championships have different tiers and are held in a number of locations, with the results helping to decide the seedings for the following year and the Winter Olympics in 2018.

Great Britain’s team have now arrived in Bled, Slovenia, ahead of their six-team Divison 2A tournament, hoping to surpass the two silvers they have won in the last couple of years.

They face hosts Slovenia, Korea, Poland, DPR Korea and Croatia, who they take on in their opening match on Saturday afternoon.

Smith said: "Everyone is looking forward to the tournament and everyone is in great spirits.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a tough group and we will have to be at our best every night.

"The squad has come so far in the last year and they are hungry for success.

"We have a great roster and they know what is expected of them here.

"Of course, we want to go one better than the last two years, but we have to take it one step at a time."

Great Britain beat Croatia 8-1 at last year's World Championship in Dumfries but Smith stressed: “We cannot take anyone lightly. If we do, that could be our downfall.

"We have to have the right mentality throughout the tournament, starting with game one."


Sportsbeat 2016