Olympic24: Golden endings to Yarnold & Christie's World Cups

15 February 2015 / 10:07

Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold and fellow Sochi athlete Elise Christie claim golds in their final World Cup events of the season, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson sets a new British high jump record. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Lizzy Yarnold wins final World Cup of the season in Sochi but missed out on the overall title by 20 points
  • Elise Christie also signs off from the World Cup with gold as she gears up for next month’s World Short Track Speed Skating Championships
  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson sets new British record in the high jump on day one of the British Indoor Championships
  • England guaranteed at least silver at the European Mixed Team Championships after seeing off Russia
  • Olympic champion Jade Jones collects second title of 2015 after triumphing at the Turkish Open
  • England Sevens to face France in Plate semi-final in Las Vegas

Yarnold marks a year on from Olympic success with another Sochi gold

It proved to be a bitter sweet Valentine’s Day for Lizzy Yarnold as she took victory in the final World Cup skeleton race of the season in Sochi, but missed out on the overall title by just 20 points.

Exactly one year to the day since claiming Olympic gold at the Sanki Sliding Center, Yarnold was back in Russia looking to retain the World Cup title she won last year.

She came into the race in plenty of form having won three out of the last four races but trailed Austria’s Janine Flock by 53 points.

Yarnold got off to the perfect start, posting 57.94 seconds in her first run to top the leaderboard while Flock could only manage tenth fastest with fellow Brits Rose McGrandle and Laura Deas third and fifth respectively.

Flock put in a much improved second run to pull herself up the leaderboard and put the pressure on the remaining sliders.

Deas could not maintain her challenge, finishing in ninth and when McGrandle, third last to go, experienced an error-strewn second run which left her down in 11th, Flock knew she would have enough points regardless to take the title.

Yarnold continued to push for the Sochi win though and took it by the narrowest of margins, denying home favourite Maria Orlova by 0.04 seconds while Germany’s Anja Huber Selbach took bronze in her last World Cup race.

Flock would finish in fourth leaving her on 1531 points, while Yarnold, who missed the second race of the season on medical grounds, was second on 1511, although she refused to be downbeat.

“I knew it would be a close battle for the title. I’m sure I have given everyone a bit of a heart attack but what a great competition between us,” she said.

“A big congratulations for Janine on the title, she deserves it.

“I do love this track, I have done quite a lot of runs here as we did 40 odd runs down here before the Olympics. Even though I made a few mistakes, I just relaxed down the track.”

Christie clinches 1000m gold in final World Cup of the season

Great Britain’s Elise Christie will head into next month’s World Short Track Speed Skating Championships on top form after clinching 1000m World Cup gold in Erzurum, Turkey.

Christie has been building form steadily over the course of the World Cup season with two bronzes in Seoul before last week’s 500m silver in Dresden.

And the 24-year-old came good on that promise in the final World Cup 1000m of the season on Saturday, finishing nearly a full second ahead of Canadian Kasandra Bradette in a time of 1:31.513 minutes while Shim Suk Hee took bronze.

It means Christie finishes the World Cup season second in the 1000m rankings on 34637 points, while Shim takes the title with 43616 points with Christie's Great Britain teammate Charlotte Gilmartin placing 48th.

Gilmartin was also in action in the 1500m on Saturday and put in an impressive performance to win the B final with Italy's Arianna Fontana taking gold in the A final.

While in the men's competition, Brit Jon Eley made the quarter-finals of the 1000m with Jack Whelbourne faring slightly better in the 1500m, where he made the semis.

Johnson-Thompson rewrites record books at British Indoors

Katarina Johnson-Thompson insists she still has plenty more in the tank in the high jump, after setting a new British record at the British Indoor Championships on the way to the title.

It was a three-horse race for gold at Sheffield's EIS as Olympic heptathlete Johnson-Thompson went head-to-head with Isobel Pooley and rising star Morgan Lake.

Pooley was defending her British record of 1.96m but fell short of the pace set by Johnson-Thompson and Lake and had to settle for bronze with a jump of 1.88m.

It looked like 17-year-old Lake might take gold after she broke the British junior record with a jump of 1.94m to put her out in front, and heap the pressure on Johnson-Thompson.

But the experience of Johnson-Thompson showed as she cleared 1.97m on her first attempt and went in search of a spectacular two-metre leap.

It was just out of reach for her however and, despite her success, Johnson-Thompson says she is disappointed to have not reached the illusive landmark.

“It’s crazy because it’s a British record and a personal best, but without sounding too negative I really wanted that 2.00m,” she said.

“I cleared the 1.97 first attempt and with some space as well, so I just think I could have done a little bit better.

“Morgan just set the UK junior record and she’s matched what she did in the outdoors last year, so obviously she’s in a good place too.

“It’s great to have people jumping those heights with you otherwise I don’t think I could get up there.

“But it is my first high jump competition of the year and things are still improving so hopefully I should get it in the future.”

Meanwhile, Chijindu Ujah took gold in the men’s 60m while in the women's event Dina Asher-Smith triumphed.

In the women's pole vault Sally Peake jumped 4.25m to take gold ahead of Abigail Roberts and Katie James and Nathan Fox took the men’s triple-jump title.

And there was also success for London 2012 hurdler Lawrence Clarke who beat David Omoregie to gold in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.69 seconds.

England face Denmark in European Mixed Team Championships final

England will take on Denmark in the European Mixed Team Championships final after seeing off Russia in thrilling fashion in Leuven, Belgium.

England, the second seeds, secured their first final berth since 2009 of the biennial event with a nervy 3-2 rubber win over the Russians.
Gabby Adcock - returning to women's doubles - and partner Lauren Smith proved the heroes as they held off Ekaterina Bolotova and Evgeniya Kosetskaya 21-12 15-21 21-16 in the final women's doubles rubber.

Earlier, Kosetskaya and Ivan Sozonov upset the odds with a shock 21-17 27-21 21-13 over Chris and Gabby Adcock, the world number six pair, in the first match of the day.

That paved the way for a riveting clash between the two nations as England pegged back the advantage in the singles' rubbers.

Rajiv Ouseph, the world number 22 and 29 places above Vladimir Malkov, had an equally tough outing but managed to prevail 21-15 11-21 21-18 over 65 minutes.

Fontaine Chapman then beat Ksenia Polikarpova 21-17 21-15, having been 13-8 down in the opener.

The semi-final swung once again in the men's doubles as Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, unbeaten on their way to the semi-final, lost to Vladimir Ivanov and Sozonov in three tough games 20-22 21-15 13-21.

Olympic champion Jones tops the pile at Turkish Open

Olympic champion Jade Jones collected her second title of 2015 and her third in succession at the Turkish Open in Antalya.

Jones returned to competition four days after her victory in the European Clubs' Championship and having already won the World Grand Prix finals series in Mexico.

But the 21-year-old was in no mood to slow down as she beat home favourite Durdane Altunel in the -57kg final.

And teenager Christian McNeish continues to press for Rio Olympic qualification next year by securing a second gold medal for the GB Taekwondo squad.

The 17-year-old, a Youth Olympics bronze medallist last year, gained a major senior success by defeating Portsmouth's Ben Haines to win the title. 

Britain's other medals came in the form of bronzes for reigning European champion Bianca Walkden and teenager Max Cater.

England sevens face French test in Plate semi-final

England Sevens will face France in the Las Vegas Sevens Plate semi-final after bowing out of the Cup competition losing 21-14 to series leaders South Africa.

England had led the Blitzboks through tries from Warwick Lahmert and Tom Mitchell, but South Africa hit back and took the victory thanks to scores from Branco du Preez, Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith.

Meanwhile, Scotland will take on Argentina in their Bowl semi-final while Wales face Japan in their Shield equivalent.

On this day ... Sochi 2014

Elise Christie suffered her second Sochi 2014 heartache as she was penalised for the second time in the Games, this time as she went for 1500m gold.

Having already been penalised in the final of the 500m Christie was awarded a DNF for missing the finish line b about 1cm, despite appearing to win her heat.

© Sportsbeat 2015