Olympic24: Rutherford out of British Indoors; Cavendish ready for World Champs
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Olympic24: Rutherford out of British Indoors; Cavendish ready for World Champs

27 February 2016 / 09:55
Greg Rutherford will miss this weekend's British Indoor Championships while Mark Cavendish is desperate to secure an Olympic spot at next week's Track Cycling World Championships. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.
  • Greg Rutherford pulls out of British Indoors through illness
  • Mark Cavendish wants to prove he is worthy of a Rio 2016 place at the World Champs
  • Isobel Pooley is eyeing the World Indoor Championships in Portland next month
  • Modern pentathlete Francesca Summers finishes outside the top 20 at World Cup in Egypt
  • Mica McNeill and Aleasha Kiddle end their bobsleigh season in style
  • Ashleigh Pittaway competitive on skeleton World Cup debut

Illness forces Rutherford out of Indoor British Champs

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Long jumper Greg Rutherford still has sights set on the World Indoor Championships despite pulling out of this weekend’s British trials due to illness.

Reigning Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion Rutherford sat out last Saturday's Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix with a small muscle tear.

And the 29-year-old will now also miss this weekend's British Indoor Championships in Sheffield due to illness.

However, Rutherford is not giving up hope of competing at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA, next month.

"Sadly I won't be jumping in Sheffield this weekend," Rutherford said. "I've had a chest infection on top of the small injury so it's a no-go, but the aim is still the World Indoors.

"It took two jumps to break the British indoor record and I'm aiming for all six jumps in Portland."

Cavendish keen to prove Olympic worth at Track World Champs

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Mark Cavendish is hell-bent on delivering the goods in the omnium at the Track Cycling World Championships as he bids for the one thing missing from his illustrious CV – an Olympic medal.

Next week Cavendish will represent Great Britain at a Track Cycling World Championships for the first time since 2009.

Despite his absence, the 30-year-old is able to call on plenty of experience having won the madison world title back in 2005 and 2008.

However, despite that gold medal in 2008 Cavendish suffered disappointment on the track at the Beijing Olympics, and then on the road at London 2012.

And it is this determination to ensure lightning doesn’t strike for a third time in Rio that Cavendish insists will be spurring him on in London at the 2016 World Championships.

"If I can’t get a result at the Worlds, I can’t at the Olympics so I have a lot to focus on,” Cavendish, who has 26 stage wins in the Tour de France, told British Cycling.

“I just want to win an Olympic medal. If I had won one already I don’t know if I would be here, and I probably wouldn’t be putting so much into it. The medal is the only thing that is missing from me as a bike rider.

“I’ve been on the road since the Hong Kong World Cup in January so I know my endurance is better, but I wouldn’t be doing the Worlds if I didn’t think I could get a result there. 

“We had a conversation the other day about the worlds, and I was saying almost half of the Worlds I’ve been to I’ve won something, so I never just go and cruise around. I’m always motivated to win and I know what it means to be selected for your country.”

Pooley targeting World Indoors

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High-jumper Isobel Pooley is determined to gather as much experience she can on the road to Rio.

Last weekend the 23-year-old set a new indoor personal best of 1.93m to finish third at the Glasgow Grand Prix.

Next up are the Indoor British Championships this weekend in Sheffield, with a spot in the Team GB squad for next month’s Indoor Worlds in Portland up for grabs.

And ahead of the Rio Olympics, 23-year-old Pooley – who won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – is eager for all the practice she can get.

"Going back to Glasgow for the Indoor Grand Prix last weekend was fantastic and brought back all the memories of the Commonwealth Games in 2014," Pooley said in her latest BBC column. "The people in Scotland created a wonderful event for all of us.

"I finished third on the countback because of my first-attempt failure at 1.90, but I set a new indoor PB with 1.93.

"I have to win the British trials this weekend to get automatic selection for the Indoor World Championships in Portland next month, otherwise it will have to be a discretionary place. But I really hope to be on that team. It will be a fantastic trip.

"We have a year of opportunities here with the World Indoors and the European Championship leading in to the Olympics. I still have a lot to learn about major events so I am blessed. 

"I still have these two major opportunities to cut my teeth with the best in the world and learn the ins and outs ahead of the Olympic Games so that nothing will take me by surprise.”

Summers misses out on top 20 in Cairo

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Francesca Summers finished 22nd in the women’s final of the first modern pentathlon World Cup in Cairo, Egypt.

The 20-year-old battled difficult conditions in Cairo’s International Stadium but did pick up valuable qualification points on the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

World champion Lena Shoneborn won gold but Pentathlon GB’s performance director Jan Bartu believes there are positives for Summers – who is current Junior world champion – to take, especially from her display in the fencing and riding.

“Francesca performed extremely well in tough conditions; her fencing was good and she went clear in the ride which was fantastic,” said Bartu.

“She was two seconds down on her qualification swim time and when she came out of the pool she said she could still feel the aches and pains of the qualification round but any Rio qualification ranking points she has accrued will be extremely valuable.

“She should be very happy with her performance; this has definitely been the most demanding and difficult performance of her career to date and it has been a massive learning experience for her.

“It’s great to have a young athlete like Francesca coming through the ranks who is so ambitious and hard-working.”

Impressive end to the season for McNeill and Kiddle

Mica McNeill and Aleasha Kiddle finished their bobsleigh campaign on a high by recording a season’s-best finish in Koenigssee, Germany.

The duo clocked a time of 1:42.82 minutes to finish seventh, 1.02 seconds behind the winners Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones of the USA.

That was their best performance at a World Cup event this term meaning that former Youth Olympic silver medallist McNeill and former sprinter Kiddle can head into the off-season full of confidence.

Pittaway 15th on World Cup debut

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Youth Olympic champion Ashleigh Pittaway finished 15th on her skeleton World Cup debut in Koenigssee, Germany.

Pittaway won skeleton bob gold at the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer earlier this month and the 15-year-old was rewarded with a maiden World Cup outing.

She held her own to come 15th by clocking 1:46.52 minutes in the event won by home favourite Tina Hermann while fellow Brits Donna Creighton and Laura Deas came 19th and 20th respectively.

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