Olympic24: Murray claims opening World Cup gold while Whelan

21 February 2015 / 10:05

Two-time Olympian Hannah Whelan announced her retirement from gymnastics on a day where modern pentathlon world champion Samantha Murray claimed another gold medal. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Samantha Murray and Kate French claim opening World Cup medals
  • Two-time Olympian Hannah Whelan calls it a day
  • Joanna Rowsell finishes fourth in the individual pursuit at the 2015 Track Cycling World Championships
  • Chris Mears and Jack Laugher claim maiden British Diving Championship medal
  • British Lionhearts suffer heavy defeat to Cuba Domadores

Dream World Cup start for Murray


Modern pentathlon world champion Samantha Murray opened her season with a bang as she claimed World Cup gold in Sarasota, America.

Murray held off a strong challenge from home favourite Margaux Isaksen in the final to win gold, and there was plenty more to celebrate as team-mate Kate French collected bronze.

French made up a significant deficit in the combined to post a time of 13:15.82 minutes and take the bronze ahead of Russian Donata Rimsaite.

Meanwhile, Joanna Muir finished 18th while Freyja Prentice was in 29th on her World Cup debut.

“These results far exceeded our expectations”, said performance director Jan Bartu.  “They show that the athletes and the coaching and support teams are on track in preparations for the Rio Games.

“Special recognition goes to Samantha Murray for continuing her winning streak and Kate French’s first world cup medal performance indicates her strong future potential”.

Tweddle praise for retiring Whelan

Two-time Olympian Hannah Whelan is set to retire from gymnastics – with her contribution to the sport praised by Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle.

Whelan, 22, is a double British all-around gold medallist and was part of the England squad that won team gold at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“Hannah was always a great team mate to have around," said Tweddle.

"On the days where things were hard she was always there to put a smile on my face. What she achieved throughout her career was fantastic and something she can be immensely proud of.  

"She played a vital role in the team successes for both City Of Liverpool and GBR and I wish her all the best in all of her future ambitions.”

Whelan, a former European silver medallist, will now look to finish her degree and hopes to join the British Gymnastics coaching programme.

“I know I’m now ready to stop competing," she said. "After London 2012 I took a bit of time to decide to carry on as I wanted to compete at a Commonwealth Games so I set that as my goal. To achieve what we did as a team last year definitely made that decision worthwhile. 

"Since the World Championships year I’ve grown used to the idea of not competing but I still think it will be strange at first when I see the other girls in action – of course I’ll be cheering them all on."

Rowsell falls just short of second World Championship medal

Joanna Rowsell failed to add to her team pursuit silver medal at the 2015 Track Cycling World Championships as she finished fourth in the individual competition.

Rowsell was denied a second trip to the podium by Amy Cure, the Australian stopping the clock at 3:32.907 minutes to win by just over three seconds.

Rowsell won gold in both events at last year’s edition in Cali but she insisted she could have no complaints this time around.

"You're never really going to be happy with fourth, but you can see that across the board everyone has stepped up,” she said.

“Everyone was down about yesterday (after the team pursuit defeat), but I came out today and I was determined to fight.

"Fourth in the world isn't bad. I can't complain really. It shows what a good achievement it was winning those two golds last year.

"Last year I was absolutely flying and it went perfectly. This year has been a real battle."

Jess Varnish took the scalp of Australian Olympic champion Anna Meares in the last 16 of the women’s sprint, however she couldn’t get passed Stephanie Morton in the quarter-finals as she finished eighth.

Callum Skinner and Kian Emadi finished seventh and 12th respectively in the kilo, while Mark Christian was 17th in the points race.

And Jonathan Dibben sits 11th after day one of the omnium after kicking things off with a superb second-place finish in the scratch race.

Mears and Laugher claim maiden British title

Chris Mears and Jack Laugher won their first British Diving Championships title as a pair after winning the 3m synchro on day one of action in Plymouth.

Mears and Laugher were the dominant pairing from the outset and maintained the gold medal position across all six rounds.

The duo, who claimed gold in this event at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, finished with 410.28 points while silver went to Ross Haslam and James Heatly with 355.08 and Jack Haslam and Sam Thornton finished with bronze with 345.36.

The women’s 10m synchro title was won by Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow after they also led the event throughout to win with a final score of 305.22.

Silver went to Robyn Birch and Shanice Lobb with 267.72 and bronze went to Lauren Grinstead and Sarah White with a total of 244.32.

Elsewhere, Jack Haslam won his first British title after taking the gold in the men’s 1m springboard having fought his way back from a stress fracture in his back. Silver went to Sam Thornton while bronze was won by James Denny.

Rhea Gayle returned to competition after a tough couple of seasons with gold in the 1m springboard, with Grace Reid finishing second and Clare Cryan in bronze.

And in the inaugural mixed 3m synchro event Grace Reid and James Heatly won with a score of 267.72, while Clare Cryan and Ross Haslam finished second with a total of 248.22. 

Lionhearts fall to Cuba in World Series

Joe Joyce was the only British Lionheart to taste victory as they suffered a 4-1 loss to Cuba Domadores in week six of the World Series of Boxing.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Joyce beat Lenier Eunice Pero Justiz in the super heavyweight category to become the first boxer to beat any member of the Cuban team this season.

But that was all the Lionhearts had to celebrate in Havana and they now sit fifth of eight teams in Group A, with Cuba leading the way having won all of their matches.


David Murdoch and his rink claimed a first men’s curling medal for Team GB in 90 years as they picked up silver in Sochi.

Murdoch and his rink of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow were outclassed from start to finish in the final against Canada as they lost 9-3, but there was little dampening the mood in Russia.

"It feels like a kick in the teeth but once we recovered I will look at what we've achieved. I've chased this medal for such a long time and I'm so proud of the guys for everything they've done," said Murdoch.

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