Olympic24: Cyclists set for Worlds, boxers head to Cuba

18 February 2015 / 07:55

Great Britain cyclists target a strong start to the 2015 World Track Cycling Championships in Paris, while British Lionhearts name team for Cuba Domodores clash. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson lead charge for GB cyclists on day one with team sprint and women’s points titles contested, while team pursuit squads take part in qualification.
  • British Lionhearts name inexperienced side for Friday’s World Series of Boxing (WSB) match up with defending champions Cuba Domodores.
  • Retired diver Leon Taylor impressed with Tom Daley’s new ‘firework’ dive ahead of this weekend’s National Championships.
  • Mo Farah host of big names to compete at Saturday’s Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix.

Medals up for grabs on day one of Track Cycling World Champs

Wednesday sees the start of the 2015 Track Cycling World Championships in Paris with Great Britain bidding for silverware in the team sprints.

Becky James and Jess Varnish won bronze in the women’s event in Cali last year and the latter will be hoping to improve on that this time around alongside Victoria Williamson.

In the men’s race meanwhile Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes line up alongside Callum Skinner or Kian Emadi.

Both qualifying rounds and finals take place in the evening session along with the women’s points race.

The Championships however kick off in the morning with the qualifying rounds for the men and women’s team pursuit squads – Great Britain looking to defend their crown in the women’s event for the fifth year running.

Joyce and Essuman lead British Lionhearts charge in Cuba

Joe Joyce and Ekow Essuman get the chance to maintain their unbeaten record in this season’s World Series of Boxing (WSB) after being named in the British Lionhearts squad to take on the Cuba Domodores on Friday.

Super-heavyweight Joyce had been enjoying his time in the ring so far this year, stopping Viktor Vykhryst of the Ukraine Ottomans and Mohamed Grimes of Algeria on his two previous outings.

Welterweight Essuman is yet to taste defeat either, defeating Bogdan Shelestyuk on his debut in Ukraine, before outpointing Sofiane Tabi at home to the Algeria Desert Hawks.

Joining them for the trip to Havana to face the defending WSB champions is GB Boxing squad teammate John Newell, who is set for his debut in the competition after being awarded a walkover in his previous match, while overseas selections Kelvin De La Nieve of Spain and Frenchman Oualid Belaoura compete the line out.

Taylor positive ahead of Daley's new dive debut

Tom Daley’s new dive has already got the thumbs up from one man, with former mentor Leon Taylor insisting the signs are promising for the Olympic bronze medallist.

In what is the first change to his six diving routines since 2011, Daley has opted to replace his ‘demon’ dive – a piked 2.5 somersault, 2.5 twist routine – with the ‘firework’ 3.5 somersault with one twist routine as he bids for gold at Rio 2016.

The so called ‘firework’ dive is one actually invented by Taylor, himself an Olympic silver medallist in 2004.

And after spending time with Daley in the build up to this weekend’s National Championships, Taylor is interested to see how the new dive is received by the judges when the diver debuts it in Plymouth.

“It's impressive and he already looks to have the consistency, which is what he'll need to win medals,” Taylor told BBC Sport.

"The interesting thing will be how the judges take to it. The judges initially gave me low scores [for the 'demon' dive], as they didn't know what to make of it and were a little confused because it was different.

"This year is another chance for people to shine and get the [Olympic] qualifiers we want.”

Farah gears up for Birmingham Grand Prix

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah will compete on home soil this weekend after confirming his place at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix.

Farah is one of 14 Olympic medallists competing in the event on Saturday, which will also see Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford in action as well as new British high jump record holder Katarina Johnson-Thompson, this time in the long jump.

And after tasting success at the event four times previously, Farah admits he can’t wait to get out and contest the 2 mile race in the final event of the afternoon.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to competing at the Indoor Grand Prix. It is without doubt one of the best indoor events in the world and I’ve got great memories of setting three British records here over the years.”

On this day ... Sochi 2014

David Murdoch pulled off a shot of a lifetime to secure a date with Sweden in the Olympic curling semi-finals.

Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud had been in front since the first end of the tie-breaker match to decide who would advance to the final four and earn a guaranteed match for a medal.

But rather than settle for a single in the final end - that would have forced an extra end in which Norway had the final stone advantage - Team GB skip Murdoch put it all on the line.

"It will certainly go up there as one of my best shots ever," said Murdoch.

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