Olympic24: World Athletics Champs kick off while GB showjumpers are Rio bound

Olympic24: World Athletics Champs kick off while GB showjumpers are Rio bound

22 August 2015 / 09:00

The World Athletics Championships got underway at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing while Great Britian's showjumpers are Rio-bound. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson lead the way in the heptathlon
  • Great Britain’s showjumpers secure a Rio 2016 berth
  • Andy Murray is through to the Cincinnati Open semi-finals
  • Medals up for grabs at the Rio sailing test event
  • England men open their EuroHockey Championships in style
  • Four British women through to Modern Pentathlon European final

Ennis-Hill and Johnson-Thompson lead the way

Katarina Johnson-Thompson 

Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson Thompson occupy the top two spots in the heptathlon as Great Britain enjoyed a strong start to the World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

Ennis-Hill’s total of 2162 points came after running 12.91 seconds in the 100m hurdles before recording a season’s best of 1.86m in the high jump.

Just 30 points back in second place is Johnson-Thompson, who herself started strongly with a personal best of 13.37 in the hurdles before topping the standings in the high jump with a clearance of 1.89m.

Elsewhere, Nick Miller needed just one throw to secure automatic qualification for the men’s hammer final.

The 22-year-old, who broke the 31-year-old British record last month, threw 77.42m and was understandably delighted to start his campaign in such strong fashion.

Miller said: “Today went well, it was exactly what I needed to do, just the same as I have been doing in training all week.

“I’m very happy, I try not to think about too much, and now everything matters tomorrow. I don’t really look around too much in this kind of thing. I’m like in training and I look at the floor, so it feels the same to me.”

In the second qualifying pool, Mark Dry was unable to follow Miller, with the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist bowing out of the competition with a best throw of 73.87m.

Laura Muir and Laura Weightman successively navigated their way through to tomorrow’s 1500m semi-final, while in the men’s equivalent Michael Rimmer narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-final finishing a tenth of a second off automatic qualification.

And teammate Kyle Langford was left disappointed after seeing his campaign come to an end crossing the line in seventh in the second heat. 

GB showjumpers book their place in Rio


A medal may have just proved out of their reach but Great Britain’s showjumpers were still smiling after helping secure qualification for next year’s Olympics with a fourth-place finish at the European Championships.

In a nail-biting climax to the jumping final in Germany, Great Britain were unable to defend their title from two years ago but still put in an encouraging performance.

First to go was Ben Maher on Diva II and the duo produced a superb clear first round in a time of 86.68 seconds to the get the team off on a strong footing.

Jessica Mendoza then picked up the baton for the team, coming home inside the time, albeit with four faults.

Joe Clee and Utamaro D’Ecaussines had a single pole down – putting them eighth in the individual standings – while Michael Whitaker and Widdowson’s Cassionato finished on nine faults after two fences down and a time fault.

That meant GB were 0.76 penalties behind bronze medallists Switzerland while gold went to the Netherlands with hosts Germany taking silver.

And while missing out on the podium, the result ensures Great Britain will try and defend thei London 2012 title in the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodoro in Rio next year – a fact Clee was keen to point out.

“We were less than one fault away from the bronze medal, so it’s really disappointing actually,” he said.

“The main thing was to qualify and we did that but a medal would have been a real bonus.

“I’m very happy [to help get the team to Rio.] I want to stick with this team next year, all these guys have worked really hard and they deserve a chance.”

Murray through to Cincinnati final four

Andy Murray 

Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open after fighting back to beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

The third seed, who saved a match point before beating Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday, overcame fatigue and the heat to win 4-6 6-1 6-4 on Friday.

Murray has now won more matches in 2015 than any other male player, 56, and with the US Open beginning on 31 August, he will be looking for a third Grand Slam title.

Murray said: "I fought and gave everything I had, but thankfully it's just been enough in the last two days."

British crews in medal hunt for final day of Rio racing

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark

British 470 Women’s duo Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are assured of a podium finish heading in to the last day of racing at the Rio Olympic Test Event.

The London 2012 silver medallists carry the yellow leader’s jerseys into the medal race, extending their lead to five points over the second-placed American pair on the penultimate day of the Aquece Rio International Regatta.

“It’s great that we can go into the medal race relatively clear of third and we’ve got a few points off second,” Clark explained.

“The Sugarloaf course is so tricky that any points advantage you can go in with is a godsend.  It’s really hard to defend on it.  We’ve got to start clean, defend the Americans and hopefully that will go to plan.”

Meanwhile, Giles Scott managed to reel in the Pieter-Jan Postma on the penultimate day of his regatta, with just one point now separating the two at the top of the Finn standings with just the medal race left to run.

However, a medal is not assured and Scott will have to watch his back with Finland’s Tapio Nirkko currently seven points behind in third and France’s Jonathan Lobert also within reach of the podium spots in fourth.

“In the first race I didn’t really feel that quick upwind, I was on the back foot with the shifts and found myself towards the back of the fleet,” Scott explained.

“Fortunately I had a really good last run that pulled me through to fifth.  I just got round the main group of the fleet which was needed.   In the second race I won the starboard end and held and went round the top in first and managed to hold from there.

“I think after day two or three if you’d have told me that I was going to be a point off the lead going into the medal race than I’d have probably have taken that.  I think I’ve got to take some positives from that.”

Luke Patience and Elliot Willis are also in the hunt for the podium spots in the 470 Men’s event.  They’re poised in fourth, on equal points with the third and fifth placed boats, four points from silver and 11 points behind Croatia in gold medal position.

World Champion Nick Thompson had been hoping to move up the overall standings in the Laser class with a solid medal race performance, but he was disappointed to end his regatta in tenth.

Alison Young finished ninth in the Laser Radial medal race to end her regatta in eighth place, while John Pink and Stuart Bithell moved up one spot to finish seventh after a confusion finish to the 49er medal race.

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth were satisfied with their performance in the 49erFX event – their first regatta in three months after an injury lay off for Ainsworth.  They finished fifth in the medal race to their regatta in seventh overall.

Condon sparks England to simple EuroHockey triumph

David Condon

Hat-trick hero David Condon admits England are riding the crest of a wave after they got their EuroHockey Championships off to a perfect start by sweeping aside Russia 10-1 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday night.

Condon had notched his treble before the break while seven of his team-mates also got on the scoresheet – with Pavel Plesetskii’s 30th-minute strike the only positive for Russia.

“We didn’t have much information on the Russians going into the game so we tried to concentrate on ourselves,” said Condon.

“We weren’t sure what they would do so we set our stall out and made sure we were aggressive and relentless.

“With Russia being fairly unknown we weren’t sure how important this game could end up being in our group, so we wanted to set a marker down and make sure we win all our games.

“We play Holland next, but we’re confident. As a squad we’ve sometimes struggled to create clear chances so to score ten goals will give us plenty of confidence for the next games.”

Murray recovers to reach European final

Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray insists she is determined to step things up a notch after she recovered from a difficult start to remain on course for a first individual European modern pentathlon title.

The 25-year-old, who has already secured Rio Olympic qualification, was down in 21st after the fencing round.

Strong swimming and run-shoot combined events helped her climb to ninth and reach Sunday's final in Bath.

She is joined by Great Britain team-mates Kate French, Freyja Prentice and Francesca Summers.

Britain will claim the maximum of two Olympic berths for the women's event if any of the GB athletes - other than Murray - can finish in the top eight in Sunday's final at the University of Bath.

"I sometimes struggle to find that spark and have the same adrenalin that I do in the final during qualification," said Murray, who was fourth in the women's team event alongside Mhairi Spence on Wednesday.

"Hopefully I can step things up at the weekend.

“My family and friends are coming down from the north west so it will be great to have them here supporting.”

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