Healthista sports editor Adele Norris rounds up a big week in medals for women’s sport
Jade Etherington became the first British woman to win a Winter Paralympic medal on the snow with silver in the visually impaired downhill.
22-year-old and her guide Caroline Powell are making their Games debuts.
They finished in one minute 34.28 seconds, 2.73 seconds behind Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova.
It is Britain’s first Winter Paralympic medal since the wheelchair curlers won silver at the Turin in 2006, and a first skiing medal since 1994.
GB team-mate Kelly Gallagher was sixth.
In the aftermath of Sochi a squad of seven senior skaters have been put forward to represent Great Britain at the World Figure Skating Championships 2014.
Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, who won bronze at the 2014 European Championships and placed 10th in Sochi, will compete in the Ice Dance category at the event in Saitama, Japan.
Winter Olympian Jenna McCorkell will compete in the Ladies event at the Championships, which run 24-30 March 2014.
After their impressive performance at the European Championships in January, British Pairs champions Amani Fancy and Christopher Boyadji have been picked by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) for the Pairs event.
The event will be held at the Saitama Super Arena.
Hilary Selby, Performance Director for NISA, said: ‘To qualify, each skater has achieved a minimum technical elements score (TES) at an international event prior to the World Championships.’
Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold is on the hunt for future Skeleton stars:
‘Skeleton is a huge adrenalin rush – it’s scary, unique and fantastic and I’d recommend giving it a go,’ Yarnold said.
She has helped launch Power2Podium: Skeleton, a nationwide search for Winter Olympic champions of the future.
UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (Performance Pathway Team) and British Skeleton wants to discover athletes who have what it takes to compete at the 2022 Winter Games.
Yarnold, who won gold in Sochi, is a graduate of a similar campaign, Girls4Gold, and went from skeleton novice to Olympic champion just five years after trying the sport for the first time.
She said: ‘I was one of over 1000 athletes who signed up to Girls4Gold back in 2008 and had little idea where the journey would take me. Now, I’m an Olympic champion in a sport I hadn’t even heard of at the time.
‘I’d encourage anyone to take up this opportunity with Power2Podium, it could be the start of something very special. There are so many fantastic athletes out there who just might not have found the best sport for them yet.’
Power2Podium: Skeleton is aimed at talented males and females aged 17-25 who are currently competing in any sport at a regional standard and believe they can achieve Olympic success. No previous experience in skeleton is required, but athletes should have the raw talent and capacity to develop under the guidance of elite coaches in a world class environment.
Great Britain takes five medals at the Track Cycling Worlds 2014
Team GB finished the championships with two golds, one silver and two bronzes, placing them fourth on the medal table.
Here’s how they did it:
Olympic champion Laura Trott triumphed omnium silver.
Trott finished six points behind defending champion, the USA’s Sarah Hammer, in the six event discipline while Australia’s Annette Edmondson completed the podium – an exact repeat of the top three from 12 months ago.
‘I am actually happy with how this has turned out,’ Trott told britishcycling.org.uk
‘I always think – although I do always want to win every single race that I enter – this time before London where was I?
‘I was still a junior. And the next year was Apeldoorn and I finished 16th. And then went on to win the following year.
‘Although I would’ve absolutely love to have won, I’m really pleased with how I got on and how I am improving in each event.’
Jess Varnish reached the semi-finals of the women’s individual sprint with victory over defending champion and team-mate Becky James.
Varnish triumphed 2-0 despite a fall which prompted a restart in the second race.
But was beaten 2-0 in the last four by China’s Tianshi Zhong.
“It’s disappointing not to be on the podium,” Varnish said. “I thought it was going to be doable today but it just wasn’t there for me.”
No hard feelings for James who took bronze in the women’s keirin.
Germany’s in-form Kristina Vogel claimed her third win of the week while Becky James was just pipped on the line by Australia’s Anna Meares.
‘I’m really happy,’ she said.
‘It’s always disappointing not to win but Kristina Vogel has been flying all season. She deserved it.’
Great Britain’s women dominated the team pursuit with gold.
Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker won a sixth world title out of seven in the event for GB’s first gold of the competition.
The time of four minutes 23.407 seconds bettered Canada by just over a second.
‘It’s a tough track to ride but we are over the moon to get the win,’ Rowsell told BBC Sport.
But it wasn’t without drama – Barker’s legs gave up on the final lap while Canada were pushing to take advantage. It saw GB team a mess of their change.
Barker told BBC Sport: “I just could not hold those wheels. I completely parked it up. It was a split-second decision. I just had to get out of the way and let the girls carry on with it. It was that close that we just would’ve lost it if I’d stayed on the front.”
Just 24 hours later Rowsell claimed her second gold with victory in the individual pursuit.
The 25-year-old beat five-time champion Sarah Hammer of the United States by 1.2 seconds in a personal-best time of three minutes 30.318 seconds over 3km.
‘This has been a personal goal for me for a while, I just can’t believe I pulled it off and it means the world to me,’ Rowsell told britishcycling.org.uk.
‘I can’t believe I’ve done it, I can’t believe I went that quick.
‘The team pursuit is obviously still the priority that’s what we train for and I’ll live and die for those girls.
‘But it’s a really good chance for me to come here and do an individual event the day after the team pursuit, so we can prioritise the team pursuit.’
Team GB’s success has been flowing at the World Indoor Championships in Poland this week.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson won her first senior medal with silver in the long jump.
The 21-year-old led after the second round. She made a personal best of 6.81m.
France’s Eloyse Lesueur took Gold with 6.85m.
It was a bronze medal for the women’s 4x400m quartet.
The team was made of captain Eilidh Child, Shana Cox and sisters Victoria and Christine Ohuruogu.
The United States won by almost two seconds in 3:24.83. Jamaica took silver.
Asha Philip wants three things at the Championships – a place in the 60m final, Jeanette Kwakye’s British record and most of all to make up for her last appearance.
Philip is the equal third fastest athlete indoors over 60m in the world this season having clocked a personal best of 7.09 seconds in winning the British title in Sheffield last month.
Philip, 23, needs to find just 0.02 seconds to lower Kwakye’s six-year-old British indoor 60m record.
She said the key would be in getting to Sunday’s final at the Ergo Arena in the northern Polish city of Sopot.
She certainly achieved one of her aims and made the final race.
But disappointment loomed and she just missed out on the medals, clocking 7.11 behind Fraser-Pryce, Ahoure and Bartoletta.
‘The aim is to definitely get into the final because I missed out two years ago and I’m determined to make it this time around,’ said Philip.
‘It’s one of my main aims to get a faster time, and I know if I’m in that final hopefully I’ll get the British record.
‘I think it’s a good thing that I have the opportunity to compete against the best, because it’s all about going up against the big girls in international competitions and getting thrown into the deep end.
‘The more I race against them, the more my confidence will build and it will feel natural to me.’
Laura Muir failed to reach the 800m final.
The 20 year old stumbled during her race and finished second in two minutes 02.55 seconds.
She recently set a Scottish record of 2:00.94 and had been named a favourite for this competition.
Chris and Gabby Adcock: ‘They didn’t even really need to beat us today, we beat ourselves.’
The duo’s dreams of becoming the first English husband-and-wife team to win the mixed doubles title at the Yonex All England Open Championships since the 1930s.
They were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
The Adcocks, England’s remaining hopes in this second Premier event on the MetLife BWF Superseries 2014 circuit, went down to great rivals and Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 21-10 21-13.
Gabby said: ‘It’s very important when you play that pair not to give them the confidence from the start and I think we did give them that right from the start.
‘When we went ahead that’s how we can play, we were always going to fight and knock them out of their rhythm and for a spell we did do that but we weren’t able to hold on.
‘Obviously we want to do well at the Commonwealth Games but first we need to go back and figure out what we’re going to do to get to that next stage.’
The England pair had beaten Zhang and Zhao in the semi-finals on the way to their Hong Kong Open triumph in November.
But that remains their only win against the Chinese top seeds in six previous meetings.
This week they secured victory with a four-point charge from 17-13 to book their place in tomorrow’s semi-finals against team-mates and third seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin or Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa and Misaki Matsutomo.
Chris said he and Gabby played below par.
Adele Norris is healthista.com’s sports editor
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