Olympic24: England 7s' Tokyo triumph as Murray is runner-up

06 April 2015 / 09:57

England Sevens reign in Tokyo to boost Rio Olympic hopes, while Andy Murray is forced to settle for second best at the Miami Open. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • England Sevens beat South Africa to claim Tokyo World Series triumph
  • Andy Murray loses Miami Open final to Novak Djokovic
  • Lauren Smith and Heather Olver win Finnish Open
  • David Florence wins twice at British canoe slalom trials
  • Great Britain’s women win Ice Hockey World Championships silver
  • Geraint Thomas finished 14th in the Tour of Flanders

England Sevens triumph in Tokyo

Great Britain’s hopes of sealing rugby sevens qualification for Rio 2016 were dealt a huge boost as England clinched a 21-14 victory over South Africa in the Tokyo Sevens final.

Tries from Charlie Hayter, Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess were enough to take victory and there are now just two legs remaining – in Glasgow and Twickenham.

And coach Simon Amor admitted that he was delighted with his team’s efforts.

“I’m incredibly proud of the players, the boys have worked so hard these last few weeks and we are measuring ourselves on effort and attitude,” he said.

“It wasn’t pretty rugby this week from a lot of teams but we carried on grafting and I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Murray runner-up in Miami

Andy Murray thinks he is edging ever-closer to catching Novak Djokovic after taking the Serbian deep during their Miami Open final.
In the end the world number one was too strong as he ran out as winner 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-0.

But there were glimpses of brilliance from Murray in the opening two sets where he produced some scintillating tennis.

“It’s been a good start to the season for me and big progress from where I was last year and I’m not quite there with Novak yet but I feel like I’m getting a little closer,” said Murray.

“I just need to keep working hard and it will come.”

Smith and Olver win Finnish Open

Lauren Smith says she was relieved to end a tough block of tournaments with doubles victory at the Finnish Open alongside partner Heather Olver.

The triumph is a crucial win for the new duo, who will turn their attentions to Olympic qualifying which is set to get under way in May.

The pair failed to make it into the main draw at last month's All England Championships but showed their class this time with a 21-13 21-13 triumph over France's Delhine Lansac and Emilie Lefel in the final.

"We were top seeds so it was always our expectation to win," said Smith. "It's been a long tournament block so we're glad we finished with a win."

There was also success in the men's doubles as Andrew Ellis and Peter Mills upset the odds to defeat Danish duo Mathias Christiansen and David Daugaard.

The English duo were unseeded for the tournament but produced a strong showing to come through the last final of the day 21-19 21-12 in 38 minutes.

Florence doubles up at British canoe slalom trials

David Florence believes he will have to keep his wits about him to stay on top after taking double victory at the British canoe slalom trials.

Florence picked up solo victory in the men’s C1 and held off the challenge of Etienne Stott and new partner Mark Proctor for the win in C2 with Richard Hounslow.

The double Olympic silver medallist finished three seconds ahead of Adam Burgess in the C1 before making up almost five seconds on Stott and Proctor on the second run of their C2.

However, despite the positive results, Florence is refusing to get carried away.

"I'm just glad I have got my couple of wins out of the way by day two and it makes it a very interesting selection for them now,” he said.

"All four (C2) crews can push us and when they get a good run they are capable of beating us, so it was great to get two wins."

GB Women claim Ice Hockey World Championship silver

Great Britain’s women missed out on promotion as they were beaten 2-0 by Kazakhstan in Sunday's gold-medal match at the World Championship in Dumfries.

Goals from Madina Tursynova and Olga Konysheva gave Kazakhstan the victory that secured them an immediate return from Division 2A to Division 1B, which is two tiers below the top flight.

Great Britain co-coach Michelle Smith said: "We gave everything and we're very proud."

Korea claimed the bronze medal with a 13-0 victory over Croatia.

Thomas and Wiggins endure tough Tour of Flanders

Geraint Thomas’ Tour of Flanders’ assault waned in the final 15km as the Welshman had to settle for 14th while Alexander Kristoff claimed victory.

Kristoff outsprinted Niki Terpstra for the win, with Greg van Avermart finishing third after setting off in pursuit of the front two alongside Peter Sagan, who settled for fourth.

Thomas faded to finish 14th while Sir Bradley Wiggins suffered a major scare earlier in the day when he crashed innocuously and briefly appeared to be suffering pain in his wrist.

© Sportsbeat 2015