Olympic24: Couch equals World best, Rutherford wins in Stockholm
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Olympic24: Couch equals World best, Rutherford wins in Stockholm

31 July 2015 / 06:27

Tonia Couch records her joint-equal best individual finish at a World Championships when she placed eighth in Kazan, while Greg Rutherford returns to winning ways in Diamond League. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Couch finishes eighth in 10m platform final at World Championships, while Jack Laugher secures Rio quota place after reaching 3m springboard final
  • Greg Rutherford jumps 8.34m in Stockholm to extend lead in Diamond League standings
  • Neil Black backs Jessica Ennis-Hill to set a great example in Beijing
  • Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson and Olympic rower Bill Lucas to compete in Clipper Race
  • Boxer Josh Buatsi reflects on start to life in the ring
  • Ashley Jackson hat-trick earns England draw with Belgium
  • Laura Halford takes third rhythmic gymnastics British title 
  • More Team GB medals at EYOF including all-around gold for gymnast Joe Fraser

Couch equals Worlds best in Kazan


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Tonia Couch had plenty of reasons to smile after equaling her best individual finish at a World Championships and finishing as the top European in the 10m platform final.

The 26-year old, who secured a British quota place for Rio 2016 by reaching the 10m platform final in Russia, improved on her prelim and semi-final marks to score 340.30 in the final for eighth place.

Kim Kuk Hyang of North Korea took gold on 397.05 ahead of China’s Ren Qian and Malaysia’s Olympic bronze medalist Pandelela Rinong Pamg.

"To get in to the final was the important thing here so I could just go out and enjoy the final," Couch, who finished sixth with Sarah Barrow in the 10m Synchro earlier in the Championships, told British Swimming.

"To finish as the top European is great and I'm really pleased - it was close between me and the French girl but I was just able to stay ahead.

"I've had three steady performances here. I was steady to get through the prelims and the semis and then again in the final. I just need to sharpen it up a bit more in the final next time.”

Elsewhere Jack Laugher secured his second Team GB Rio quota place after successfully progressing through to Friday’s 3m springboard final as the fifth best qualifier. Read more here.

Rutherford back to winning ways ahead of Worlds

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Olympic champion Greg Rutherford was back to winning ways on Thursday as he jumped 8.34m for first place at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting.

Rutherford was beaten at last weekend’s Anniversary Games but showed he was back to top form ahead of next month’s World Championships by extending his lead in the Diamond League rankings.

“The Diamond League competitions have been very important for me this year and I’m pleased with my third win,” said Rutherford, who next month bids to complete a clean sweep of major outdoor titles at the World Championships in Beijing.

“It’s fantastic to jump back to back 8.30s in far from ideal conditions.”

Black backs Ennis-Hill to perform in Beijing

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Jessica Ennis-Hill isn’t heading to Beijing to make up the numbers, according to British Athletics performance director Neil Black who believes the heptathlete can earn a spot on the World Championship podium. 

The trip to China will be the first major championships for Ennis-Hill since becoming a mother but she has made a steady return to competition with solid outings at this year’s British Championships and, more recently, the Anniversary Games.

"What's really clear is Jess wouldn't be going unless she felt she was competitive for medals," Black said.

"It's a different ball game when you get to that fine balance [between gold and the other medals], but we're not going to bet against her. There are a good few weeks to go.

"We know she's going to set a great example, we know she's going to kill herself to do well. If a medal comes that's fantastic, if a gold medal comes that's almost unbelievable.”

Robertson and Lucas to compete in Clipper Race

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Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson is swapping his racquet for life on the ocean wave.

Robertson, 38, and Olympic rower Bill Lucas will sail the final leg of the Clipper Round the World Race, which will take them across the Atlantic from New York to London.

“The Clipper Race is an experience I just couldn’t pass up,” said Robertson, who will joined the crew of GREAT Britain, in the 12 boat race.

"It’s really special to be doing the race and I’ve really enjoyed reading all the stories about the people who have taken part and watching the videos online.” Read more here.

Buatsi determined to fulfill Olympic dream

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There’s nothing like being beaten up by your best friend to spark an Olympic dream.

For Joshua Buatsi that dream was ignited on a Croydon estate seven years ago with a pair of boxing gloves and a group mates.

The Olympics are the main ambition for Buatsi and, since representing Team GB at this year’s European Games in Baku, he feels that the dream is closer than ever.

“I maybe started a little bit late in boxing but my best friend had these gloves on the estate so we would all try and them on and have a go,” he said.

“But none of us could get near him really and he used to beat us all up so I thought ‘OK I am going to go and train and learn how to box and then I would be able to beat him.” Read more here.

Jackson treble earns England draw with Belgium

Ashley Jackson's hat-trick ensured England took a share of the spoils in their opening game of the Ergo Hamburg Masters against Belgium.

Earlier this month Great Britain secured a place at Rio 2016 after finishing third in the Hockey World League Semi Final and the majority of English players were back in action against Belgium on Thursday.

Jackson twice put his side ahead but Belgium hit back through Tom Boon’s double and Sebastien Docker’s strike before the England man earned a draw for his side with a late goal.

"We looked rusty at the start as this is our first match play since the World League in Antwerp," said England head coach Bobby Crutchley.

"Once we got going, we acquitted ourselves well and I'm fairly happy with the performance.”

Halford climbs top spot of podium again at British Champs

Laura Halford was all smiles after successfully retaining her rhythmic gymnastics all-around British title in Liverpool.

She scored 58.200 after her hoop, ball, club and ribbon routines to take gold ahead of Stephanie Sherlock and 2012 Olympian Lynne Hutchison.

Laura’s performances complete a hat-trick of senior titles to add to the three Team Wales Commonwealth Games medals from Glasgow.

“I’m really, really happy to have won the title again," she said.

“My first routines didn’t go to plan so I had to really fight back and perform at my best to take the gold so I’m really pleased to have done that. I definitely felt more pressure and expectation coming in to this and to win again is just as good if not better than the first time.”

Fraser adds to his Tbilisi medal collection

Joe Fraser is a man on a mission after the 16-year-old added gymnastics all-around gold to Tuesday’s team triumph as Team GB’s medal haul ticked into double figures on day four at the European Youth Olympic Festival.

Fraser’s second gold of the Games came in just his second event and, with four individual apparatus finals to come, the Birmingham gymnast is already targeting more trips to the podium in Georgia.

“I’m really happy. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet and doesn’t feel real,” he said.

Elsewhere Fred Wright battled with the Georgian heat to clinch an impressive third in boys’ road race while Katie Robertson looked accomplished beyond her years as the 13-year-old took bronze in the girls’ 100m breaststroke. Read more here.

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