GB-Germany hockey game
GB-Germany hockey game. Pic via The Sports Sphere.

Olympic links: 15 April, 2015

Headlines

Leeds set to replace London in triathlon World Series, Ennis-Hill confirmed for Anniversary Games, Craig Pickering blog takes apart ‘footballer faster than Bolt’ report, surprise Peaty win at GB swimming champs, Paralympic champion swaps to hand cycling, Euro gymnastics begins, giant carp ‘attack’ rowers.

Athletics

Jessica Ennis-Hill has been confirmed as a star name for this year’s Anniversary Games at London’s Olympic Stadium in July. (OW)

World indoor champion sprinter Richard Kilty has challenged Arsenal footballers Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin to a race over 40m, after media reports claimed Bellerin was faster than Bolt over the distance. Kilty is confident enough to include a £30,000 bet on the outcome. (FM)

And here’s Craig Pickering’s take on the “faster than Bolt” claims: (FM)

Is it likely that a young footballer, who has to practise a wide range of skills, including actually kicking a football, as well as tactical and other fitness demands, could be faster than someone whose job it is to just focus on covering distances of 200m or less in as short a time as possible? That someone with almost perfect genetics, who spends 6 days per week honing his unbelievable talent, would be beaten over 40m by someone who does a bit of sprint training? That the fastest person by almost a country mile to ever walk this planet is not as good at HIS job as a Spanish under-21 international footballer?

London marathon champion Wilson Kipsang hits out at Kenya’s athletics authority for suspending his foreign agent without informing him: (OW)

Kipsang told the BBC that Athletics Kenya (AK) was “fighting with fire”.

Two leading sports agencies have been suspended for six months by AK. AK’s chief executive, Isaac Mwangi, said the suspension of the agency Rosa & Associates’ related to its doping investigation and Volare Sports’ suspension was “procedural”.

AK said it would ensure that athletes did not miss international competitions.

In a new IOC video, Michael Johnson analyses Usain Bolt’s technique. (OW)

Boxing

The newly retired Natasha Jonas on her future: “I do want to stay within boxing and coaching.” (OW)

Cycling

Josie Pearson, Paralympic champion in the F51 discus at London 2012, has switched to hand cycling with the aim of representing Team GB for the third time (and in a third sport) at Rio 2016. (FM)

Armstrong makes a comeback – the tongue-in-cheek title of a report welcoming supposedly retired US Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong back to cycling. (OW)

Luke Rowe believes he can win the Paris-Roubaix road race in future. The Welshman was eighth at the weekend. (OW)

Who’s at fault when pro cyclists get involved in level crossing near-misses, and is there a solution? (OW)

Equestrian

World governing body the FEI has relaunched its official magazine online. (OW)

Gymnastics

The European Championships get under way today. There’s a preview of British hopes here and the Guardian has a profile of a new squad member, 15-year-old Amy Tinkler, here: (FM)

“It was one of my targets to make the senior European championships but I didn’t expect it to happen this year. I went into the British championships hoping for a top-10 finish and a clean performance, and I came out in the European squad, I’m obviously over the moon.”

Here’s Beth Tweddle’s analysis of British prospects: (OW)

“Amy Tinkler and Ellie Downie are now both seniors and it’s great for them to get the experience. Claudia Fragapane was the golden girl for Team England and Becky Downie is the reigning champion on bars.

“Louis Smith is returning to action and he’s had some great scores this year, and Max Whitlock is coming off the success at the World Championships and he will be looking to build on that.

“Sam Oldham is also back after he suffered a serious injury at the Commonwealth Games so that’s great for him.

“If you look at the results in the last two years, we’ve done better than ever before as a team and got European silver last year and Becky a European gold. Both boys and girls have picked up.”

Here’s a broader preview of the European field. (OW)

“We’re going to come out on top this time.” US gymnast Sam Mikulak on his country’s Olympic hopes in gymnastics. (OW)

Hockey (field)

Britain’s men were beaten 2-1 by Olympic champions Germany in a Nations Cup game, after the Germans scored twice in less than a minute. (OW)

Hockey (ice)

Two wins from two for Britain’s men in their division of the world championships – they beat Estonia 2-1. (OW)

Rio 2016

In what is becoming something of a regular story, Rio 2016 organisers are again facing questions after hundreds of dead fish were found in the lagoon set to host the canoe and rowing events at next year’s Olympic Games. (FM)

Rowing

Video: giant carp hurl themselves at a college rowing team. Here’s why. (OW)

Rugby sevens

Will the Olympics form part of a collapse in the success of New Zealand’s 15-man All Blacks? (OW)

With the New Zealand sevens squad also able to call on All Blacks for the Olympics next year, coach Steve Hansen admitted 2016 would be “one of the most difficult years” for All Blacks rugby.

“Not only are we losing people as it’s time for them to go overseas or retire, and we’ve lost one or two other people we didn’t want to lose, but we’re also going to lose some guys to the Olympics,” he told the stuff.co.nz website.

“We could lose up to 15 players out of our current 31-man squad, which is massive.”

Swimming

The British championships began yesterday with a surprise 200m breaststroke win for Adam Peaty. Meanwhile, Robbie Renwick discusses focusing on the relay team for Rio, and Hannah Miley says it’s “do or die” to hit tough-to-reach Worlds qualifying times. (OW)

Meanwhile, here are four storylines to watch at the Pro Swim Series in Mesa, featuring Michael Phelps on his return from suspension. (OW)

Triathlon

Leeds, home town of the Brownlees, has been put forward as a replacement for London on the World Series circuit from 2016: (OW)

A leg of the series has been held at London’s Hyde Park since 2009, except in 2012 when it was the Olympic venue, but British Triathlon has now chosen Leeds to take over hosting a British round for an initial three years.

The national governing body told Inside The Games that the creation of London’s cycling superhighway will prevent a leg being held in Hyde Park next year. Work began on the north-south route of a £160 million ($237 million/€222 million) cycleway across England’s capital last month.

The route south of the River Thames is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year, while work on the north side will begin in the summer and is due to be complete by spring 2016.

If Leeds is chosen it will follow in the footsteps of other major international cities such as Cape Town, Auckland, Gold Coast, Yokohama, Chicago, Abu Dhabi, Stockholm, Hamburg and Edmonton, which are all hosting races this season.

Weightlifting

Azerbaijan’s Valentin Hristov returns from a two-year doping ban to win European gold in Georgia. (OW)

Other news

“You need to change because you have a zillion people and you could have 100,000 great Olympians, [if] you bid for the Olympics and inspire people and change the mindset.” Swimming legend Mark Spitz on a potential Indian Olympic bid. (OW)