Preview of the year part one: What to watch out for in 2015

09 January 2015 / 13:09

It may not be an Olympic year but 2015 is still packed full of sporting action for Team GB athletes both at home and abroad.

Whether it’s World or European Championships, Rio Olympic qualification or UK-based events, here’s a taste of what to watch out for over the next 12 months.

 

FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships, Kreischberg, Austria 15-25 January

This year marks the first time that the two disciplines have been combined in one championships – and it will also be the first chance of the year to see Team GB’s Sochi freestyle stars back in action on the big stage.

After Great Britain’s success in Slopestyle at Sochi 2014, all eyes will be on Snowboard Slopestyle athletes Aimee Fuller, Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan.

European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 23-25 January

The next big target for Great Britain’s short track speed skaters, who got their new season underway back in November with the first World Cup in the Salt Lake City.

Elise Christie may have experienced disappointment at Sochi 2014 but the 24-year-old will be a strong podium contender in the Netherlands having finished second overall in the last two Championships in Malmo and Dresden.

European Figure Skating Championships, Stockholm, Sweden, 26 January-01 February

The first figure skating ISU Championship held in Stockholm since 1947, the competition will feature men’s singles, ladies singles, pair skating and ice dancing.

Two-time Winter Olympic ice dance pair Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland will be Britain’s leading medal contenders following their bronze in Budapest last year, while they have also produced as a series of strong performances in this season’s Grand Prix.

European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, Vorarlberg, Austria and Liechtenstein, 25-30 January

Team GB will send a 15-strong  team to the 12th edition of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, which sees two countries host the event for the first time.

Eight sports will be contested in what for many, such as Sochi 2014 bronze medallist and skip of the 2009 gold-medal winning EYOWF curling rink Anna Sloan, is the first step on their Olympic journey.

World Alpine Skiing Championships, Vail/Beaver Creek, America, 2-15 February

The US plays host to the event for the first time since 1999 with the home nations expected to be a threat in almost every race.

While four-time Olympian Chemmy Alcott is now retired, Team GB will not be without their representatives with Dave Ryding, 17th in the slalom at Sochi 2014, in encouraging form so far this season.

UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, 18-22 February

A major milestone when it comes to securing qualification points for Rio 2016, the 2015 World Championships in Paris promises to be a keenly-contested affair.

Expect a strong showing from Britain’s cyclists with the likes of Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Jason Kenny and Ed Clancy looking to add to their World Championship medal collection.

All England Badminton Championships, NIA, Birmingham, 3-8 March

The first major international event of the year to be held in the United Kingdom, the All England Badminton Championships is sure to prove a hit with players and fans alike again this March.

Olympic qualification doesn’t start until May but be sure to keep an eye out in particular for current England number one mixed doubles pairing Chris and Gabby Adcock as the home nations bid for a first medal since 2005.

World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, Moscow, Russia, 13-15 March

The 40th World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, taking place in Moscow, will bring the curtain down on the 2014/2015 ISU short track speed skating season.

While the Korean and Chinese skaters will be sure to feature, don’t rule out the Brits, with Elise Christie aiming to complete her set of World medals following 1000m bronze in Debrecen and 500m silver last year.

World Figure Skating World Championships, Shanghai, China, 25-28 March

2015 sees the World Championships go to China for the very first time, although expect the title challengers to come from countries such as Russia, Japan and Canada.

Great Britain’s Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland will be looking to end their campaign on a high following a season which produced the first Grand Prix medal of their career with bronze at the 2014 Rostelecom Cup.

Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton World Championships, Winterberg, Germany, 26 February-March 8

Winterberg will place host to the FIBT World Championships for the fourth time as the best in the business when it comes to bobsleigh, luge and skeleton battle it out.

Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold will be the leading contender in the women’s skeleton as she looks to upgrade on her bronze from 2012 while in the bobsleigh, pilot and two-time Olympian John Jackson will be hoping to have recovered from his Achilles injury in time to lead the four-man team.

World Table Tennis Championships, Suzhou, China, 26 April-3 May

The Championships will be staged in China for the fifth time while it will be the 53rd edition of the individual competition.

England will decide on any representatives for the Championship based on the qualification period up to 1 March, with men’s singles players Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford just two of those expected to be pushing for a place.

Diving World Series, London Aquatics Centre, 1-3 May

Another event sure to attract plenty of home support, the fourth leg of the 2015 Diving World Series in London will no doubt evoke memories of London 2012 again.

While the focus will be on the summer’s World Championships in the race to qualify for Rio, there will still be plenty of hopes for British divers, with the likes of London 2012 Olympians Tom Daley, Jack Laugher, Chris Mears Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow just some of the names expected to challenge.

World Taekwondo Championships, Chelyabinsk, Russia, 12-18 May

Held every two years, the best of the best taekwondo fighters will gather together in May for the World Championships.

The Olympic qualification period will have just began so don’t bet against the likes of London 2012 gold medallist Jade Jones and bronze medal winner Lutalo Muhammed putting their best foot forward in Russia.

 

Sevens World Series, Twickenham, London, 16-17 May

The first nations to qualify for the first Olympic rugby tournaments since 1924 will be selected according to the top four male and female teams in the standings after the 2014-2015 Rugby Sevens World Series finale at Twickenham in May.

England has been chosen as the home nation’s representative for the qualification period for both men and women, and while the two teams are currently out of the reckoning, don’t bet against them turning up the heat come the final round at the home of English rugby.

World Triathlon Series, London, Hyde Park 30-31 May

Hyde Park hosted the memorable triathlon at the London Olympics, and this summer will host a stage – the fifth of nine – of the World triathlon series for the third year running.

Alistair Brownlee is the current Olympic, World, and Commonwealth champion in the sport, and along with his brother Jonny will certainly be among the ones to watch, as the pair look to secure their Rio 2016 spots.

© Sportsbeat 2015