Olympic24: Ennis-Hill sets return while Evangulov's excited
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Olympic24: Ennis-Hill sets return while Evangulov's excited

24 March 2015 / 08:07

Jessica-Ennis Hill announced her return to competitive action for the first time in nearly two years, while national performance director Alexei Evangulov looks back on a dream Dubai outing for his divers. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Jessica Ennis-Hill will compete at May’s Great CityGames
  • Alexei Evangulov is delighted with his British divers following the Dubai World Series leg
  • Yvette Yun Luo leaves her post as head coach of Badminton Scotland
  • Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford selected by England for World Championships

Ennis-Hill announces competitive return

Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill has announced her return to competitive action will be at the Great CityGames.

Ennis-Hill has not competed since July 2013, having given birth to her first son Reggie during her time away from athletics.

But the 29-year-old will return to the limelight when she takes to the track for the 100m hurdles at the Great CityGames on May 9.

"I'm really looking forward to making my competitive return,” she said. “The atmosphere in Manchester is always amazing there.

"Street athletics is a lot of fun because you are really close to the fans."

Evangulov’s Dubai delight

National performance director Alexei Evangulov declared himself delighted as his British divers left the Dubai leg of the World Series with three medals to show for their efforts.

Jack Laugher kicked things off as he set history as the only British male to ever win a World Series 3m Springboard event and was the only athlete that stopped China from winning every gold medal at the competition.

But Evangulov's athletes were far from done there; Tonia Couch finishing just three points off a silver medal as she took home bronze in the women’s 10m Platform.

And Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley rounded things off in the men's 10m Platform as he scored straight 10s on two of his dives, ending up 578.25 to take the silver medal behind China's Qiu Bo.

"Our divers performed consistently and confidently throughout the competition and really showed some top quality diving," Evangulov said.

"The world's best divers turned out to be in a very strong technical and physical shape, which is very unusual for this time of the season, but our team didn't let this distract them from their own performance.

"Jack's gold medal is a well-formed product of the thorough technical work which has been done by both Jack and his coach Ady [Hinchliffe]. They have both worked really hard and this is now showing.

"The exciting thing is that Jack still has more to come. There are still many things to do in both technique and physicality which Jack is doing with great enthusiasm.

"For Tom to show the consistency to get two dives scored at straight 10s in the prelim and the final is a testament to the hard work that both he and Jane have been putting in. The way that Tom dived in the final was an example of the strong partnership that he and Jane have built. His silver medal with such a high score is a really good place to be at this point in the season.

"Tonia's bronze medal is a special one. She really scared her non-Chinese rivals with her consistency having yielded only to two Chinese Olympic champions. Well done to both Andy and Tonia."

Luo leaves Scottish badminton post

Yvette Yun Luo says she leaves with her head held high after deciding to step down from her position as head coach at badminton Scotland.

The former Chinese international has been in Scotland since 2009 and steered the host nation to success at the Commonwealth Games as Kirsty Gilmour claimed a silver medal in women's singles and there was a bronze for Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair in mixed doubles.

Since Yun Luo's arrival, nine separate Scotland players have won international titles while in 2011 Bankier, in partnership with England's Chris Adcock, won a mixed doubles silver medal at the World Championships in Wembley.

Bankier also earned bronze medals at the European Championships in 2012, with Adcock and in 2014 in women's doubles with Bulgaria's Petya Nedelcheva, in between times helping Scotland form half the British badminton team at the Olympics in London, along with singles representative Susan Egelstaff.

"Looking back over the last five years, I am proud of the two positive influences I have had," she said.

"One is the increased work ethic of the squad members as reflected by the healthy training atmosphere in training at Scotstoun and the other is the way my badminton knowledge has influenced the support we receive from the Scottish Institute of Sport.

"All in all, I have enjoyed working with the players in a challenging way over the last five years."

Drinkhall and Pitchford ready for world tilt

Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford will represent England at the table tennis World Championships in China next month.

The duo, who fought out a titanic struggle in the National Championships singles final earlier this month, which Pitchford won 4-3 after coming from 3-0 down, will travel to Suzhou for the competition which runs from April 26 to May 3.

Both men were key members of the England team which gained promotion to the top tier of world table tennis at last year’s World Team Championships and, with both around the top 50 in the world rankings, now get the chance to compete at the individual championships as well as teaming up for the men’s doubles.

© Sportsbeat 2015