OLYMPIC24: GB women seal series, badminton stars march on

13 February 2015 / 22:52

Great Britain’s women wrap up a series win over Spain while England edge closer to Badminton European Mixed Team Championships success. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • First Great Britain goals for Lily Owsley and Sophie Bray seal a 2-0 victory in third and final game of the series against Spain.
  • England set up semi-final clash with Russia after beating Netherlands 3-1 at European Mixed Team Championships
  • Top seed Andy Murray suffers shock 6-4, 6-2 defeat to Gilles Simon in Rotterdam quarter-finals
  • Wiggins ‘where he needs’ to be despite 78th place finish at Tour of Qatar
  • Better success for Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe who secure top-ten finishes, while Chris Froome set for season debut in Spain next week
  • One win and one defeat for England and Wales at rugby sevens World Series in Las Vegas
  • Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold gears up for return to Sochi 2014 track

Owsley and Bray on target as Great Britain women complete Spain series win

Head coach Danny Kerry admitted strength in depth was the main positive after Great Britain women wrapped up a series win over Spain with a 2-0 victory in their final game in Valencia.

First-ever Great Britain Goals for Lily Owsley and Sophie Bray in the third and fourth quarters respectively sealed the win as Great Britain made it two wins and a draw from their three-match series.

The series was part of the team's preparation for June's Hockey World League semi-final, where Olympic qualification is on offer, and Kerry admitted his side had been given a good work out this week.

"It wasn't a pretty game, it was very feisty and physical and I was impressed with our resolve. Lily [Owsley] scored a well taken individual goal and Sophie [Bray] finished off a good team move at the back post," he said.

"It's great to only concede one goal across 180 minutes of hockey. Spain had very few chances against us and we generated good opportunities.

"I believe their world ranking of 15 doesn't reflect their current status and think they will be a big threat in the summer when they are on home turf.

"Given the wide number of players we've used across these three matches I'm happy with the strength in depth we are creating and it's been a really valuable trip for the whole squad."

England sweep aside Dutch to set up European Mixed Team Champs semi-final

England are just one win away from their first European Mixed Team Championships final since 2009 after beating the Netherlands in Friday’s quarter-finals in Leuven, Belgium.

After convincing 5-0 group stage wins over Ireland and Belgium, England defeated a tough Dutch outfit 3-1 in the last eight on Friday to guarantee themselves at least a bronze.

Chris and Gabby Adcock defeated Jacco Arends and Selena Piek 21-15, 21-18 in the mixed doubles, Rajiv Ouseph beat Eric Pang in the men’s singles before Fontaine Chapman then narrowly lost out to Soraya de Visch Eiberger 15-21, 21-16, 21-11.

But English national champions Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge came through in the men’s doubles to set up a clash with Russia.

“We were really happy with a solid team performance," said Gabby. "We felt really comfortable on court and played the right tactics throughout the match.

"We kept our discipline and were focused with each point. The team were really behind each other and we were the dominant team. I'm really proud of the team. It will be tough against Russia but I have strong faith in the team."

Murray's timing is off as he crashes out in Rotterdam

Top seed Andy Murray suffered a surprise defeat at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam after he was knocked out by Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals.

The British number one and world number four lost 6-4 6-2 to the Frenchman, 15 places below him in the world rankings.

The Scot, who beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the second round, had won 12 of the previous 13 meetings against the Frenchman but he struggled with his own serve, making too many mistakes.

"I struggled with most of the shots, to be honest," said Murray.

"At the beginning of the match my backhand, at the end of the match my forehand. It was tough. I felt I was hitting the ball too early. I felt my timing was a bit off."

Wiggins down the field as Stannard and Rowe clock top-ten finishes in Tour of Qatar

Team Sky sporting director Servais Knaven insists Sir Bradley Wiggins is on track for April’s Paris-Roubaix race despite finished 78th in the Tour of Qatar.

Olympic champion Wiggins placed third in the time-trial stage on Tuesday but he failed to figure among the leading riders in the overall classification with Dutchman Niki Terpstra retaining his title in the six-stage Qatar race while Irish rider Sam Bennett took the final stage win.

Britain’s highest finisher was Team Sky rider Ian Stannard in fourth while Luke Rowe just missed out on the youth rider’s white jersey in seventh overall.

Terpstra won last year's Paris-Roubaix one-day classic in northern France and Wiggins has earmarked the approximately 150-mile race as a major goal in 2015, with Knaven happy with his rider’s progress.

“This was a big step in his preparations for the Classics,” he said.

"Brad is where he needs to be. He's looking strong and has been doing a lot of extra work out here before and after the racing.

"It's been a good training block for him and he's grown in stature as the race has gone on."

Meanwhile Team Sky have announced Chris Froome will make his season debut in Spain next week by naming him in their seven-man squad for the mountainous Ruta del Sol.

Olympic time trial bronze medallist Froome is set to come up against arch-rival Alberto Contador at the five-day race, which takes place in Andalucia from February 18-22.

Yarnold aims to shine on return to golden track

Recently crowned European champion Lizzy Yarnold admits she is relishing being back at the scene of her 2014 Olympic triumph for this weekend’s final World Cup race.

Yarnold takes to the ice once again at Sochi’s Sanki Sliding Centre on Saturday looking to chase down current World Cup leader Janine Flock.

Despite a strong season which has seen her record four victories on the circuit, Yarnold trails the Austrian by 53 points after missing the second race on medical grounds.

Despite the difficult task on Saturday however, the Brit is determined to enjoy her return to Sochi.

“It was a special time in my life and being back here looking up towards the track at Sanki Sliding Centre where it all happened is quite surreal,” she said.

“It is my final race before the World Championships in March, the only title to allude me so far.

“I had secretly hoped to defend my overall World Cup title this year, however missing the Calgary race early in the season has set me back.

“I'm 53 points behind leader Janine Flock, which is probably too many to make up now - especially competing against such an opportunistic group of World Cup rookies!”

Ujah a man on a mission at Indoor British Champs

Sprinter Chijindu Ujah is in confident mood ahead of this weekend’s Indoor British Championships in Sheffield as he attempts to put down a marker for the rest of the year.

Britain’s best athletes will go head to head at Sheffield’s EIS on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February and Ujah, who became just the fifth British man to break 10 seconds for 100m last summer with a run of 9.96 in Hengelo, will line up in the 60m.

The 20-year-old was overlooked for last year’s Commonwealth Games and European Championships but is determine to bounce back this year, starting with improving on his fourth at last year’s British Indoors.

“My goals for the Sainsbury’s Indoor British Champs this weekend are to execute a good race. Actions speak louder than words,” he told British Athletics.

“I started back late after a hectic season last year and training has been going really well. I opened up two weeks ago with a PB, but obviously from training I knew what kind of shape I was in. I didn’t actually execute in that final but to run that time was a good.”

“This year there’s a fire in my belly as last year I didn’t get to run at European’s like I wanted to; there’s more determination to get the job done properly.”

England and Scotland have it all to play for at rugby sevens World Series

England's men's rugby sevens team won one and lost one at the World Series in Las Vegas.

After a surprise 15-12 defeat to Canada, last week's finalists in Wellington rebounded with a narrow 19-17 win over Argentina and must now beat Kenya on Saturday to make the quarter-finals.

Scotland lost 17-9 but France but were comfortable 38-14 winners over Brazil while Wales suffered a narrow loss to Fiji but were well beaten by world number side New Zealand

On this day...Sochi 2014

Yes, it's exactly one year since Lizzy Yarnold struck Olympic skeleton gold in Sochi.

It was Valentine's Day and exactly 30 years since Torvill and Dean also won gold at the Games, with their performance of Bolero in Sarajevo.

"I have worked so hard to get into this position and I am just so proud that my dreams have come true," she said.

© Sportsbeat 2015