Olympic24: Rowing squad named for European champs

Olympic24: Rowing squad named for European champs

07 April 2016 / 07:02

British Rowing select their team for the European Championships while the Brownlee brothers prepare for Gold Coast comeback. Here's our review of the last 24 hours:  

  • Glover and Stanning named in British Rowing squad
  • Laugher looking forward to London return
  • Brownlees prepare for Gold Coast event
  • Purvis ready for Olympic pressure
  • Scotland end losing run at Curling World Champs
  • British taekwondo stars target strong President’s Cup showing

Rowing team named for European champs

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

British Rowing have signalled their intention to aim high at the European Championships in Brandenburg in May with a number of familiar top-flight boats being announced.

One of those includes reigning Olympic, World and European champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the women’s pair while four-time Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger is named in the open women’s double scull with trials winner Vicky Thornley in a reprise of their 2015 partnership.

Glover said:  "It's always fantastic to be selected to represent Great Britain, and never more so than in an Olympic year.

“The European Championships are our first opportunity to test our early season speed against international competition.”

Double Olympic men’s four champions Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge have been selected in the men’s eight alongside Scott Durant, Matt Langridge, Paul Bennett, Matt Gotrel, Tom Ransley, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.

Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing team performance director, said: “We are clearly ambitious to do well in Rio and will race and then review the Europeans combinations announced today.

“We will also enter six crews for the Varese World Cup regatta in ten days’ time.”

Laugher relishing London return

Jack Laugher

British diver Jack Laugher admits he can't wait for his long-awaited return to the London Aquatics Centre at the European Championships next month, four years after making his Olympic debut at the arena.

The action kicks off on May 9 when many of Britain's stars in the water will be hoping to lay down a marker ahead of selection for the summer's Games in Rio.

The Championships are set to be the biggest event held at the London Aquatics Centre since London 2012, and 21-year-old Laugher insists that home advantage can once again prevail.

"The European Championships are a massive competition and it is really good to be competing at that level before the Olympics," he said.

"It is really good to get those competitions in for the experience.

"It makes you feel good when you are competing in front of a crowd so I am really looking forward to the European Championships.

"I love the London Aquatics Centre, it is one of my favourite pools and hopefully a really great atmosphere will make everyone on the British team dive well."

Brownlees set for Gold Coast event


The Brownlee brothers will make their first appearance together in nearly a year on Saturday as Australia's Gold Coast hosts the second round of the ITU World Triathlon Series, and younger sibling Jonny is aiming to make it two wins in a row at the event.

The 25-year-old London 2012 bronze medallist put in an impressive performance to win the race last year in a time of 01:46:53, and this year will be joined by Alistair in what will be the Olympic champion's first World Series outing of the season.

Supported by fellow British triathletes Gordon Benson and Tom Bishop, the Brownlees will be looking to continue their high standards with this year's Olympic Games on the horizon.

And Jonny admits he is raring to go as they hope to continue their unrivalled success in the triathlon world.

"The Gold Coast race was one of my best ever performances last year so it is brilliant to be back," he said.

"The first race of the season always has a few unknowns, but I can't wait to race."

Alistair, who underwent ankle surgery at the end of last season, added: "Jonny and I didn't actually get to race together much last year so it's great that we're both here this time.

"I'm happy with how things have gone recently and excited just to get out there."

Purvis enjoying Olympic build-up

All eyes will be on Britain's gymnasts this summer as the Olympic Games in Rio roll around, but Daniel Purvis insists the team will relish the added pressure it brings.

The men's and women's squad made history at the World Championships in Glasgow last November by becoming the first British teams to ever medal at the competition, with the men picking up silver and the women winning bronze.

The 25-year-old also won bronze four years ago at London 2012 alongside teammates Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham in the men's artistic final, once again breaking records as the first British team to do so in 100 years.

And after the success of the last Olympiad, Purvis insists he and his teammates can prosper under the scrutiny of the gymnastics world.

"It's still surreal the achievements for both the men and the women," Purvis told British Gymnastics.

"What we accomplished is hard to sink in, but maybe when I've retired I can look back and think about the history we made.

"For now though, the focus is very much on what's next, how I can improve and how the team can improve.

"Countries all over the world are looking at us and trying to replicate what we do and find our secrets to success.

"To be honest, I enjoy that, it's great to have that focus and know that all eyes are on the Brits when we compete.

"Since 2012 we have continued to push on, we haven't rested, we always look to better ourselves and make a mark and I think we've done that."

Scotland stop the rot with Finland curling success

Scotland recorded their third win of the World Curling Championships on Wednesday, bringing an end to five successive defeats.

The Scots beat Finland 7-3 in the 12th session of round-robin play, with skip Tom Brewster opening the scoring in the second end.

After Finland scored two to take the lead, Brewster played a double take-out for two points in the fourth, before getting a single steal to take the score to 4-2 at half-time.

After blanking in the sixth end, Finland pulled a point back in the seventh, before Brewster hit out an opposition stone to score three and seal a much-needed win.

"It wasn't the best game we've had all week, but we got our stones in the right places at the right times and we took our chances," Brewster said.

"I played a good double in four to get a two and that gave us a bit of momentum.

"We're just here to win as many games as we can and we'll do our best. The team spirit is high.

"We took the game to the opposition a bit more and were a bit more aggressive and we played more on the front-foot.

"We took a conscious decision to go out all guns blazing."

British taekwondo stars look to lay down a marker before Rio


Britain's taekwondo stars will be out to impress on Thursday as they compete at the inaugural President's Cup in Germany, with GB performance director Gary Hall insisting all eyes will be on those hoping to be selected for this summer's Olympic Games.

For the 13-strong Manchester-based squad, the tournament in Bonn will allow them to prove their worth to Hall ahead of next month's European Championships in Switzerland.

World Champion Bianca Walkden leads the line for the women's squad, which also includes Lauren Williams, Rachelle Booth and Charlie Maddock.

Two notable absentees however are Olympic champion Jade Jones and 2015 World Grand Prix series winner Lutalo Muhammad who are both recovering from minor injuries but are expected to be selected for the German Open in Hamburg later this month.

And for Hall, the tournament provides the perfect opportunity for Britain's taekwondo fighters to prove why they should be heading to Rio this summer, with four quota spots to be filled.

"All players are looking to keep active," he said. "They have got to keep active, especially the ones with designs on the Olympic Games.

"There are now automatic qualification spots for the senior Euros and the European Under 21s, so it has attracted a big field.

"For us, we always stated three events to select the team for the Europeans: the Dutch Open, the President's Cup, and the German Open in a few weeks’ time.

"They are key tournaments to look at performances to make selection for the European Championships."

Sportsbeat 2016