Olympic24: Yarnold to take a break as Woods impresses at Worlds
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Olympic24: Yarnold to take a break as Woods impresses at Worlds

18 September 2015 / 06:50
Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold is set to take a year out from the sport while Kimberley Woods headlined a slew of British qualifications at the Canoe Slalom World Championships. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • With Olympic, World, European and overall World Cup gold medals to her name, Lizzy Yarnold opts to take a 12-month break from skeleton.
  • Great Britain continue their 100 per cent qualification at the Canoe Slalom World Champs as six members of the team reach the next stage.
  • Dan Evans will play the second single's match in Great Britain's Davis Cup semi-final with Australia
  • Damon Sansum is full confidence ahead of the second event in the Taekwondo World Grand Prix Series

Yarnold to take break from skeleton

Lizzy Yarnold

Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold insists that while it is a hard decision to take a 12-month break from skeleton, it is the right one.

Yarnold has been almost unbeatable over the past two years as she has racked up Olympic, World, European and overall World Cup gold medals.

However, these have come at a cost with the 26-year-old admitting that she has been left exhausted both mentally and physically.

This means she will miss the 2015-16 World Cup season but Yarnold – who will marry in May – is determined to secure more history upon her return as she eyes up becoming the first athlete in history to successfully defend an Olympic skeleton title at Pyeongchang 2018.

“Coming off the back of my win in Sochi it was hard to re-motivate myself, but I had the Grand Slam in my sights and wanted so desperately to be World Champion that it saw me through,” said Yarnold.

“It wasn't until I returned home that I realised I was emotionally fatigued - more than the usual end-of-season exhaustion.

“It will be hard to watch others compete without me but I really feel like this is the right time for me to refresh, take stock and come back even more motivated for the future.”

Woods shines at Canoe Slalom World Champs

Kimberley Woods

Kimberley Woods claims she is full of confidence after topping the C1 leaderboard on day two of the Canoe Slalom World Championships at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

For the second day in a row all six British boats in action advanced to the semi-finals in front of a raucous home crowd.

 But there was no denying who the star of the show was with European champion Woods – fresh from success in the K1 24 hours earlier – posting the fastest time of the day.

Despite touching gate eight she came home in 101.45 seconds and Woods admits she is champing at the bit to get back out on the water.

 ”After paddling in kayak yesterday I have a really good feel for the course now,” she said.

 ”But on the start it was a clean slate. It was a difficult course for C1 and even some of the men were struggling with it at the start.

 ”It was because of where the upstreams were placed quite close to the flow, so you have got to have a lot of turn before the gate and be quite strong at the end of the course because it is quite physical out there.

“I was hoping to get through on first run because it's not a nice place to be on second runs, so I am glad I managed to put a really solid run down.

“There was a lot of pressure yesterday in kayak going into second run and to do such am amazing run has given me a lot of confidence. I knew with my skills on the water in C1 with a solid run I could easily get through.”

Woods was closely followed by 2014 London World Cup medallist Eilidh Gibson in fourth place while Mallory Franklin qualified for the semi-final in ninth.

Elsewhere, both David Florence and Adam Burgess gave solid performances finishing 16th and 19th respectively which was enough to see them straight through to Sunday’s semi-final.

However, Ryan Westley had two costly touches to finish 26th and had to go again in the afternoon session. He took on the second run challenge with confidence and kept a clean sheet to top the standings and keep Great Britain's 100 per cent heats to finals ratio intact.

Evans gets Davis Cup nod

Dan Evans

Dan Evans will be looking to help Great Britain get off to a strong start after being selected or one of Friday’s two singles matches in the Davis cup semi-final against Australia in Glasgow.

Andy Murray will play Thanasi Kokkinakis in the opening singles tie before British number eight, and world number 300, Evans takes on Bernard Tomic.

Evans was selected ahead of both James Ward and Kyle Edmund while Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot are provisionally down for Saturday’s doubles as Britain try to reach their first Davis Cup final since 1978.

And while the decision was seen as a surprise in some quarters, captain Leon Smith believes that Evans’ form make him a worthy choice.

“It wasn't an easy one,” said Smith.

“Having thought about it a lot, the fact that Dan has played an awful lot of tennis this summer, he's won a lot of matches - albeit mostly at Futures level.

“Winning really helps and he comes in with a lot of confidence.”

Sansum confident ahead of World Grand Prix Series

World Championship silver medallist Damon Sansum is adamant he is not unconcerned about an early exit last time out as he bids to leave his mark in the second event of this year's Taekwondo World Grand Prix Series.

In the opening round of the Grand Prix Series in Moscow, Sansum failed to advance beyond the first round as he was beaten by Malian Ismael Coulibaly.

But as he bids to improve on that this time around, the omens look good as Sansum travels to the Black Sea port of Samsun.

Sansum is seeded fifth in the -80kg weight division – with London 2012 bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad ranked eighth – and the Elgin-born fighter is raring to go.

“I remember years ago looking on a map, saw Samsun and thought 'I'd like to go there,'” he said. “But I never really thought I would get here so hopefully it is meant to be.

“I didn't feel as best prepared for Moscow as I might have been. But I fought a guy who medalled at the Worlds so there was no disgrace in losing.

“I just ran into a couple of head shots. He got nine points in about ten seconds and it threw the fight around.

“It was the first time I had not medalled at a tournament this year but these things happen. But it only drives you harder. Or at least it does me.

“Some people come back and think about having to change training. But if things are going well why change? I prefer for it to happen then rather than the end of the year.”

Sansum is part of a ten-strong GB squad in Turkey, including Olympic champion Jade Jones and world champion Bianca Walkden.

© Sportsbeat 2015