Olympic24: French & Evans fifth at Europeans as Rio sailing test event hits halfway

Olympic24: French & Evans fifth at Europeans as Rio sailing test event hits halfway

19 August 2015 / 06:39

Kate French and Joe Evans are fifth at the Modern Pentathlon European Championships while the Rio sailing test event hits the halfway mark. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours. 

  • Kate French and Joe Evans finish fifth at the Europeans
  • Wind plays havoc as the Rio sailing test event reaches halfway stage
  • Mark Cavendish to continue track return in Germany
  • Holly Bradshaw looks ahead to World Athletics Championships
  • Di Lampard targets Olympic qualification in Germany

Solid fifth for French and Evans

Kate French admits a poor performance in the fencing cost her and partner Joe Evans a shot at a medal as they finished a creditable fifth in the team event on the first day of the modern pentathlon European Championships in Bath.

The duo enjoyed a dream start, finishing first in the pool securing a two-second lead over second-placed Russia in the process.

However a poor fence left a lot of work to do in the final three events as they dropped down to fifth place.

Both individuals then had a fence down apiece on a tricky riding course, although they still pushed themselves up to fourth place ahead of the combined event after picking up just a further four time faults between them.

Starting the final race 51 seconds down, French kept them in the hunt for a medal going into the handover but Evans, who was making his first Great Britain appearance in two months following injury, was unable to maintain the pressure and was overtaken by Germany's Alexander Nobis before Belarussian Ilya Palazkov came back to reclaim third place.

"It wasn't the result we wanted but we had a really solid day," said French.

"We had a great swim which was a nice way to start the competition, but our fencing let us down and we just didn't have enough to pull back with.

"We worked really well as a team and I really enjoy partnering Joe. It was great competing here on home ground and the home crowd really made it special for us."

French will return on Friday as she attempts to qualify for Sunday's women's final while the men's and women's relays take place on Wednesday with Samantha Murray partnering Mhairi Spence and current British champion James Myatt teaming up with Sam Curry.

Rio sailing test event hits halfway mark

Stephen Park 

British Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park described the Rio Olympic Test Event so far as a ‘week of learning’ as the regatta hit the halfway stage amid a second day of weather disruptions on Tuesday.

Light wind conditions once again dogged the 2016 sailing venue, with just a handful of races possible across five of the eight classes originally scheduled to compete on the fourth day of the Aquece Rio International Regatta.

There was insufficient wind to race on any of the outside courses once again on Tuesday, but all three courses inside the bay managed to host racing in the mid to late afternoon sea breeze.

The 49erFX class managed their two planned races, with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth posting a ten and 14 to sit in overall tenth place. 

Nick Dempsey’s RS:X men’s windsurfing fleet also managed two races, which yielded 14 and nine for the double Olympic medallist, who is poised 11th overall. 

Just one race was possible for the women’s RS:X fleet, with Bryony Shaw picking up a seventh to see her into ninth place overall.

Alison Young has advanced to third overall in the Laser Radial fleet following a sixth place in the sole planned race for the women’s single-handers, while Nick Thompson is fifth in the tightly contested Laser event.  He posted a 15th the class’s only race of the day.

“There’s been a lot of learning going on from a lot of sailors and it’s been a very challenging week for sailors from all nations in all classes so far,” explained Park of the testing conditions teams have been experiencing at the 2016 Games venue.

“The wind has been patchy across the courses and also we’ve been on the turn of the tide a lot of the time in the early afternoon, which means that the course has paid on different parts of the course at different stages of the race.  It’s very difficult for sailors to keep track of all of that and execute their best performance.”

Cavendish track bid to continue in Germany


Mark Cavendish will have a chance to stake a claim for a track place at next year's Olympic Games after being chosen in the Great Britain team for the Dudenhofen GP in Germany later this month.

The 30-year-old is looking to gain as many Olympic qualification points as he can before the approaching deadline in order to compete in the omnium for Great Britain in Rio.

Last weekend he returned to the track in Derby, winning the Madison event alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins and finishing second in the omnium behind Ed Clancy.

He is joined in the squad for the Dudenhofen GP, which takes place from August 28-29, by Laura Trott and Katie Archibald.

Sprinters Becky James, Katy Marchant, Callum Skinner and Matt Crampton will also travel, with James and Marchant then going to further events in Anadia and Roubaix.

"We're now less than a month away from the World Cup Eligibility Ranking closing and with that in mind we've selected a strong team to travel to Germany," said coach co-ordinator Iain Dyer.

"Mark Cavendish made a very promising start back on the track in Derby and he'll be looking to continue building on that form and gain more points for his ranking.

"Becky James needs to get some more racing under her belt while she continues her recovery from injury, and we're sending Katy Marchant to further boost her racing experience also.

"I am also looking forward to the younger Academy riders showing us what they're capable of."

Bradshaw ready to lay 2011 demons to rest

Pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw suffered perhaps the biggest disappointment of her career at the 2011 World Championships but claims that won’t affect her when this year’s Championships begin in Beijing later this week.

Despite setting a British record of 4.70m just a month before, Bradshaw, then competing as Bleasdale, failed with all three attempts at 4.25m in the 2011 Worlds in Daegu.

Since then she has finished sixth at London 2012, as well as improving her PB to 4.87m, and the 23-year-old claims that not only is she a completely different athlete to four years ago but she is now in the form of her life.

“I’ve been writing a journal of how I’m feeling each day and every entry is just how I can’t believe how fresh I feel,” explained Bradshaw.

“I’ve never been to an outdoor major champs and felt this amazing and fresh. Usually I’m on the way down, dipping and feeling as though my legs are tired and I can’t really turn them over quickly.

“It happened in Daegu and a little bit in London, so it’s really nice to finally feel what every other athlete feels like, fresh for the major champs.

“I was a totally different athlete back in 2011. I’ve been with a new coach [Scott Simpson] and we know how to strategically plan a season a lot better, so I’m peaking for major competitions.”

Lampard targeting Olympic qualification spot at European Champs

The three-day event gets underway at the Equestrian European Championships in Aachen, Germany on Wednesday and Great Britain team boss Di Lampard is targeting Olympic qualification.

The British quartet of Ben Maher, Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Chalres won team gold in the London Olympics Games three years ago but a spot at Rio 2016 has not yet been secured.

GB’s underwhelming performance at last September’s World Equestrian Games means the European Championships represent something of a last chance as they compete with Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain for three remaining Olympic spots.

But Lampard is confident that the team of Maher, Michael Whitaker, Joe Clee and 19-year-old Jessica Mendoza can get the job done in Germany.

"The Olympics qualification is no compromise and we have looked for the best pathway for the horses ahead of the Europeans," said Lampard.

"We have managed to introduce some youth into an experienced squad and we have had some great partnerships to choose from. Selection has been very competitive, making my job a little bit more difficult.

"We are all entirely focused on the job we have ahead of us. Qualifying for Rio is at the forefront of our minds and we are absolutely committed to giving Great Britain the chance to defend the team gold won at London 2012.

“We move forward to Aachen as a strong united team."

© Sportsbeat 2015