Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tom Bosworth selected for the World Championships

With the GB&NI team for the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing (22 to 30 August) being announced today, we are proud and excited that #Team17 athlete Tom Bosworth has been selected for the team.

Commenting on the team announcement Tom said; "it really was a dream to make a major championships of this level, so now that's a reality, I can dream even bigger. All I can do now is go and race the best that I can and I know that this will put me near the front of the field. This is the biggest race of my life but also a massive stepping stone for the next two years and going on".

Tom is one of 62 athletes selected and British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black commenting on the team said:  “Beijing is a hugely important event to us, yet this is the first of three huge global competitions for us, with the Olympics in Rio next year and the home World championships in 2017.

“In selecting athletes we were looking at either a potential to finish top eight in this year’s Worlds or to give opportunities to athletes developing towards medal success in 2016 and beyond.

“I’m very confident we have selected a team who can be successful in Beijing, as well as use it as a platform onto further Olympic and World successes.”
Tom recently gave an in depth interview to www.trackfield97.com, we are pleased to reproduce the article here in full;

I have never stopped surprising myself and look forward to what I pull out of the bag next”, says Tom Bosworth. The 25-year-old is in good spirits ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month, having beaten his own national record in the 5000m race walk at this year’s Sainsbury’s British Championships. He has spoken to TrackField97.com about the challenges he continues to face to gain recognition for his achievements.

After joining Tonbridge Athletics Club as an 11-year-old, it wasn’t until later that the Commonwealth and European athlete attempted race walking. “I joined a running group and tried my hand at a few events. The following year I asked to join my sister and try race walking with coach Peter Selby.” 

“The technique has to be one of the hardest things to master to start with, but as a child I picked it up quickly. I feel from my experience that older athletes may take longer to pick it up. Your fitness and technique do not always develop at the same rate – often leaving a very fit athlete with a weak technique open to being disqualified in a race – or the other extreme of having a strong technique but needing to build fitness and endurance.”

As well as managing the effects of physical development on his performance, Bosworth explains how he adapted to running further once he was no longer a teenager. “Every junior race walker has to step up from 10k to 20k when they turn 20. This is incredibly tough for many athletes. They have to learn an entirely new event. I did struggle with the increased training, and had also moved to the race walking centre in Leeds with a new coach, Andi Drake when I was 19. I may have been in a great set up but my body couldn’t cope.”

He did manage to find some consistency that year, and was rewarded with an 11th place finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, one of several career highlights to date. ”I have broken the 5000m British record three times and this year got the 10k record, each came with an incredible feeling. Last year’s European Athletics Championships in Zurich were awesome. Finishing 12th in such a competitive race was such a great achievement. Unlike other endurance events, Europe is the hotbed, so 12th place was just amazing!”

Continuing his progression, Bosworth secured a second consecutive British title in 2015, clocking the seventh fastest 5000m time in the world this year (19:00.73). This certainly caught the eye of spectators in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. “I knew I would more than likely have been racing the 5000m out front on my own, going against the clock, which was the case. The 5000m is often a good indicator of fitness. I had trained really well that week, but felt tired so I just hoped I could make it round for a PB and if I did, it would be an added bonus of bettering my national record, but my main aim was just to win and give race walking a good name in front of a big crowd. 

“What actually happened couldn’t have gone much better! To win and smash my PB and the record by 15 seconds was incredible but I was so frustrated to walk it in 19:00. 18:59 would have looked so much better!” 

Ever the perfectionist, Bosworth has at least been given a great confidence boost heading into the IAAF World Championships next month. “I feel in great shape heading into Beijing, I think my 5000m PB was a clear indicator of that. I am looking forward to heading to altitude in Japan before. It’s nice to escape everything and just focus on sharpening up for a few weeks. It will be my first ever World Championships and I am just honoured to be competing. 

“I won’t be going just to be part of it – I want to say I am one of the best in the world – so getting into the top 20 is the main aim. This will act as a big stepping stone towards my goal of an even higher finish at the Rio Olympic Games next year.

One thing that remains a problem, is finding enough money to train and compete. “There is little or no support when athletes move to university or away from their home club and set up. Leeds is the only place in the UK really. I have also struggled to work with some athletes over the years due to differences in opinion, but this is sometimes just the nature of high level competition. I was a student so lived off a loan as best as I could for the first few years. Now I am trying to make it as a full time athlete living off little sponsorship and no funding. 

“I currently can’t afford to have physio or massage treatment as I have no medical support either and don’t even get any access to the gym or athletics track I train at. I’m a race walker, I will always be overlooked, which is a terrible message to send to the talented juniors we currently have but it is the truth.

“This is why I am doing my up most to change the view of the event and bring it back into mainstream athletics. I have a fantastic team here in Leeds, a great management team behind me, 17 Sports Management, as well as endless support from my family and friends.”

It is this setup that Bosworth hopes will guide him towards overcoming these difficulties and realising his Olympic dream next summer. But, with just nine British athletes taking part in the men’s 5000m final at this year’s British Championships – two as young as 15-years-old – what does the nation’s best think about the current state of his event in the UK? “Over the last few years race walking has picked up massively. For the first time ever we have an athlete in both the boys and girls 10k races at the European Junior Championships this year as well as myself at the World Championships. Just a few years ago, the 5000m, race in Birmingham at the British Championships had to be done as a mixed race.

“For a long time Jo Atkinson was the sole international senior regularly competing at major championships. Now I can join her at that level, giving both the junior girls and boys clear targets to aim for, and importantly those targets are of high level international race walkers. As I develop and get faster, the guys coming through will have to get faster to catch me and raise their level, keeping me on my toes!” For anyone considering trying it out for themselves, Bosworth emphasises the refreshing nature of race walking that sets it apart from other disciplines. “Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Race walking can offer a different experience of athletics to anyone of any age or sporting ability, especially if you come from an athletic background.

“Once the technique is learnt, which may only take a few walks sessions, your aerobic engine will already be developed and so you may find yourself at the front of many big races and national championships, as the depth in walking is nowhere near that of running. Many athletics clubs now have an interest in the walks and so have coaches or judges or will have a contact at other local clubs of other coaches. It’s such a great community to be involved with.”

Facts about Tom Bosworth
Club: Tonbridge Athletics Club
Date of Birth: 17th January, 1990
Lead Coach: Andi Drake

Personal Best Performances:
3000 metres race walk – 11:30.35i – Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships – Sheffield, UK – 2015
5000 metres race walk – 19:00.73 – Sainsbury’s British Championships – Birmingham, UK – 2015
10 kilometres race walk – 39:36.00 – Molly Barnet Open – Coventry, UK – 2015
20 kilometres race walk – 1:22:20.00 – IAAF Race Walk Challenge – PodÄ›brady, CZE – 2015

Sponsorship support – I am always looking for sponsors who can get in contact through my website www.tombosworth.com.

Current sponsors are: Kent County Council, Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd., Talbot Validus Group.

Ultimate Goals – My Olympic dream is hopefully only 13 months away from being realised, but I won’t stop there. An international medal is the main aim. Over the last two years or so that dream of winning a medal has changed to be a realistic goal, after all, in the walks most athletes go and continue to win medals well into their late 30s. I’m only 25 – I’ve got many more years yet to surprise myself every day.

Original feature by: Alex Seftel for www.trackfield97.com
You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomBosworth
#TrackAndField #RaceWalk #Beijing2015 #WorldChampionships


Monday, 20 July 2015

Jordanne Whiley - World Number One

Wheelchair tennis star Jordanne Whiley MBE had a double reason to celebrate this weekend. Not only did Jordanne win her first ever Super Series Singles title at Nottingham, but she was also confirmed as the World Number One Doubles player when the International Tennis Federation rankings were announced.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet that I won the British Open tournament and now I am confirmed as the world number one in doubles,” Whiley said. "It is a dream come true to be recognised as the best doubles player in the world. It was always going to be difficult to achieve as I have shared a lot of my success with Yui (Kamiji) but it proves that I can excel without playing with her too". She added "now I am number one in doubles, I'm aiming to become World Number One in singles too".

Jordanne and her regular doubles partner Japan's Yui Kamiji have won six Grand Slam titles together, their most recent being at Wimbledon last week. This week however in Nottingham, Jordanne played with her London 2012 Bronze medal winning partner Lucy Shuker, as part of the pair's preparation for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Jordanne's win in Nottingham has moved her up to Number five in the World singles rankings. Talking about her win she said "I proved to myself and other players that I’m a contender for the singles and leading up to Rio next year a contender for gold as well".

"The week could not have gone any better" said Jordanne, "I have had a lot of great reaction and media coverage of my recent success; it has certainly helped to raise the profile of wheelchair tennis". She added, "I just hope that some companies will be inspired by what I have achieved and would like to get involved commercially. The players and tournaments would benefit from sponsorship and I know that personally I have a lot that I could offer any potential sponsor, who wanted to partner with me".

It's certainly been quite a week for Jordanne, winning a Wimbledon doubles title, her first major singles title and now confirmed as a World Number One. Finding a sponsor or two would make it perfect.
Follow Jordanne on Twitter @jordannejoyce92
#WheelchairTennis #Tennis #Wimbledon #Rankings #Rio2016 #Sponsorship


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Hannah Russell is World Champion!

Hannah Russell ended her IPC World Swimming Championships in impressive style by winning gold in the S12 50m Freestyle, in a time of 27.51, just edging out great rival 2013 world champion Darya Stukalova (27.53) to the wall. Germany’s Naomi Maike Schnittger (28.29) took bronze.

“I thought that I did have the speed, so it was going to be a very tight race tonight I knew that,” said the new world champion. “0.02 – you can’t get any closer than that, so I’m really, really happy.”
Earlier in the evening Hannah had picked up her second silver medal of the championships, stepping up in the women’s 100m freestyle S13 finishing in 59.26, behind Ukrainian Anna Stetsenko (58.91).  

The championships had started with Hannah competing in five events, opening with the 200m IM, on Tuesday where Hannah finished 4th in the final in a new British record time of 2:30.18 behind 2 new world records (S12 and S13) as the race was mixed classification.

On Wednesday Hannah won her heat in her favourite event, the 100m Backstroke but was just out touched in to second place in the final in a time of 1:06.79 for the silver medal, just 0.04 seconds behind the winner, Darya Stukalova.

"I gave it my all on the night, so I have to hand it to Darya - she worked really hard so I can't complain about a silver" said Hannah after the race.

Hannah qualified safely for the final of the mixed classification 400m Freestyle on Friday morning, in a time of 4:47.84. but withdrew from that evenings final as she was feeling slightly unwell.

A day of rest on Saturday, was just what was needed as Hannah bounced back to win silver and gold on Saturday evening, to become world champion!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @HRussell_96
#Swimming #IPC #WorldChampion #Glasgow2015

What a week for Jordanne

What a week for Jordanne Whiley. After retaining her Wimbledon doubles title on Sunday, Jordanne took part in numerous media requests and attended the Champions Ball, before heading to Nottingham on Monday afternoon for the British Open tournament. After a practice on Tuesday, Jordanne was back in action on Wednesday.
Here is how the week went for the Wimbledon champion.

First up was a singles match as Jordanne defeated Michaela Spaanstra 7-5, 6-2 in straight sets. “It wasn’t the greatest match I’ve ever played but I got through it in two sets,” said Jordanne. “I’m a bit tired after being on the grass all week at Wimbledon and coming back onto a different surface takes a little bit of adjustment. It’s hard coming back down to reality after Wimbledon and all the celebrations after winning the doubles but I’m pleased that I got through it,” she added.

On Thursday, Jordanne had a far tougher match coming from a set down to beat world No.4 Sabine Ellerbrock 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to make her third Super Series semi-final of 2015. Jordanne the world No.6 will play world No.1 Jiske Griffioen in the last four after Griffioen beat her fellow Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis 6-1, 6-1.

"I didn’t start off very well at all and then I got it back towards the end of the first set, but that was a bit too late,” said Jordanne. “I carried it on in the second, had a blip, but then came back and was pretty solid.” On facing world No.1 Griffioen in the semi-finals she said: “I just need to play intelligent tennis rather than go out there and powerhouse everything. She is beatable even though she is a quality tennis player and has really good shots. I believe in myself and believe that I can beat her."

Jordanne then paired up with her London 2012 bronze medal doubles partner Lucy Shuker, to play against her Wimbledon partner Yui Kamiji, progressing easily to the semi-final 6-0, 6-2.

On Friday, Jordanne achieved her best ever singles result, reaching her first Super Series singles final as she ended the 20-match winning streak of Dutch top seed and World No.1 Jiske Griffioen 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 amid blustery conditions. This win earns Jordanne a match against world No.3 Aniek van Koot in Saturday’s final after van Koot won the other semi-final against world No. 2 Yui Kamiji 7-6(3), 6-2. 

"I was in so much disbelief and so happy that burst into tears and couldn’t breathe. I just couldn’t believe that I just took out the world No. 1, who has a seven month winning streak. And I’ve made my first ever Super Series final – it’s just amazing,” said Jordanne.

“Because I couldn’t hit the ball very hard today and couldn’t serve like I usually do, it turned into an advantage because she couldn’t handle the slow balls. Also, it made me think about, ‘okay I can’t hit it hard so I need to place the ball exactly where I want it to go. That is something that won me the match.” 

“If I can take out the world No.1, then I can take out anyone. I’m definitely up for the challenge now,” added five-time Grand Slam doubles champion Whiley ahead of her first singles final at the highest tier of wheelchair tennis tournament outside of the four majors.

After an exhausting and euphoric Singles Semi Final win it was perhaps inevitable that Jordanne and Lucy would lose in the Doubles Semi Final, going down 6-2, 6-3 against Montjane and Ellerbrock.

Saturday's British Open Singles Final against World No. 3 Aniek van Koot, gave Jordanne the perfect opportunity to bury the ghost of last years Masters Semi Final defeat and she did so in style, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, to claim her first ever Super Series Singles title, one of the sport’s six most important tournaments outside of the Grand Slams.

2015 British Open Singles Champion

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m used to just being a quarter or semi-finalist at Super Series events like this and now I’m here on finals day and I’ve just won the tournament,” Whiley said.

“Today I hope I proved to myself and other players that I’m a contender for the singles and leading up to Rio next year a contender for gold as well. For so long I’ve been wanting to prove myself in singles but it hasn’t quite worked out,” added Jordanne.

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence from this tournament but I’ve also learnt a lot about myself and my game to take into the US open. I really pushed myself. I'm not in the best form, I've said that all week, and I think that is what makes it a little more special, because when I am on form imagine what I can do. I’m so grateful to all my team that helps me to prepare for and achieve results such as this."

And there is more good news, by our calculation (unconfirmed), following the British Open, Jordanne will move up to Number One in the World, when the new ITF Doubles rankings are announced next week.
It's certainly been quite a week!
Follow Jordanne on Twitter @jordannejoyce92
#Wimbledon #BritishOpen #Nottingham #WheelchairTennis #NumberOne

Friday, 17 July 2015

Tom talks to Sports Mole

Tom Bosworth took time out of his preparation for the World Championships to talk to Liam Apicella of Sports Mole. We reproduce the interview in full, as it appeared on www.sportsmole.co.uk

Having been denied the chance to compete at a home Olympic Games in London three years ago by a matter of seconds, British race walker Tom Bosworth is unable to hide his excitement as he looks ahead to the next few months.

The 25-year-old, who is the British record holder over 5km and 10km, will wear the Team GB vest at the upcoming World Athletics Championships and Beijing, and all being well, he will get to realise his Olympic dream in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Sports Mole caught up with Bosworth to find out how his preparations for the big events are coming along, as well as getting his thoughts on what can be done to boost the popularity of his sport on these shores.

With the greatest of respect, race walking is not a sport that most youngsters grow up hoping to represent their country in. How did you get involved?

"I wasn't a 10-year-old that wanted to walk for my country. I always wanted to be good at sport, but I was never great at team sports. I eventually found athletics at 11 and it just kind of clicked. I tried my hand at all sorts of events, but I was mostly built for the endurance events. My sister also did the walk, so I tried it out and it went from there."

It looks a really tough sport to master - is that the case?

"Technically it's really challenging, which is tough because even once you've mastered that, you get fitter and then your technique has to develop to make sure you don't get disqualified. Kids seem to take to it brilliantly. I go into schools and to athletics clubs to demonstrate it. They have a go and the majority seem to pick up immediately."

What has to be done for race walking to become a more popular sport in this country?

"Myself and the girls that are leading the way, we need to keep getting better and faster. We need someone in the top 10 in the world and winning medals. People understand the likes of the triathlon and the heptathlon and they are not easy events to grasp, but because we've had the medals in it, people talk about it and they know the stars. Race walking can be the same if we improve."

You mention winning medals - what needs to change for that to become a reality? Either for yourself or future race walkers.

"We have the race walking centre in Leeds which has been open for six years with a full-time coach and the support team behind him. I was the first product of that. Endurance sport takes time - it's taken me around seven years to make my first World Championships and be a regular there. Junior guys all want to come to Leeds because they've seen I've done it and I'm still developing. I'm only 25, so hopefully I've got plenty of years ahead of me. Hopefully, as I succeed, people will see that and want to get involved."

Do you see yourself as a role model?

"Because I'm on my own, no matter what, it's naturally happened. I am literally the only international walker going to championships from Britain. Obviously, Johanna Atkinson is a double Olympian and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist - she did it for a long time, but is dropping off a little bit. I've taken that responsibility on and I'm happy to do that - it inspires me. I try to communicate with some of the juniors and encourage them. I tell them what I was like at their age and where I went wrong, which will hopefully benefit them."

Being so far in front, when it comes to British races, is it tough to stay motivated? Or are you competing against yourself?

"I am competing against myself because I know if I become complacent, some of the guys are capable of catching me. Over the 20km, I am competing on my own right now, but then I also have international competition at that level. In Britain, I'm luckily at the level where I can chase the clock and I want to get every record that I can. I'm taking them down slowly, which is great motivation to see my name at the top of the all-time lists."

At the recent British Championships, many of the field recorded either personal or season-best times. Does that indicate the standard of race walking in this country is progressing, albeit slowly?

"Without a doubt. Three or four years ago at the Birmingham trials, men and women went together because the numbers were so low. Now, we've got a full field in both races and PBs all over the place. It just shows the work of Andi Drake, the coach in Leeds. It shows where the sport is going. My time in Birmingham was the seventh fastest over 5km in the world, which has people realising that Britain has race walkers again. That's the first time people are thinking that way in perhaps two decades.

"The best of it is that a lot of our guys are all under 20. Walking is something a lot of people envisage your mum or granddad doing around the park, so it's up to us to change that perception. People are starting to realise just how quick we can go. On Twitter, I've had messages from people saying they can't even run that fast!"

Since your success in Birmingham - where BBC Sport highlighted your performance - have you and the sport received more attention than normal? And what about that celebratory dance?!

"I've had to turn my phone off, it's been that crazy! It's been good fun, though. I work for that. I train hard all year for the big events and that sort of reaction makes it worthwhile. The dance at the end, I've done that at the end of a few races over the last 18 months and had a positive reaction. It gets people talking. Every single interview after the race, I was asked about it, but it's got people talking and smiling."

Right now, all roads lead to Beijing and the World Athletics Championships. Your personal best over 20km is 1:22.20 - can you beat that?

"With conditions in Beijing, it's going to make for an interesting race. I feel that I'm in the shape to do that. I'm only a few seconds off the British 20k record and to break that would be a dream. The race is first thing in the morning, but the weather can be so unpredictable, which might make for an incredibly fast race. If that happens, I don't see why [I cannot break it]. If not, I know I'm in that shape so I know I can be competitive and target a top-20 finish. There are no more competitions - it's all about training and then I'll be off to Japan at the end of the month for some altitude preparation."

Looking slightly further ahead, how exciting is the prospect of wearing the Team GB vest at the Rio Olympics next year?

"It's every athlete's dream to be an Olympian. I missed out on London by a few seconds and that pushed me on. I've gone up to a whole new level and I've completely changed my game. There is a World Championships in six weeks obviously, which I can learn from. I can learn how to race against the best in the world and understand how the big events work. I've already walked the qualifying time for Rio and I'll have to do that again next year, but it's a massive confidence boost that technically I don't need to get better to go to the Olympic Games. But, boy do I want to get better and be right up the front in Rio!"

As a British champion and record holder, is it disappointing that you do not currently receive funding?

"It's disappointing, but I've never been on funding. I'm not sure if I've ever been taken seriously as a medal contender. Perhaps race walking has been the unknown and grey area of athletics for a while. Now, people are seeing how much I've developed from going to the Commonwealth Games at the age of 20 to becoming a competitive athlete. I'm always looking for sponsors because the rent has to be paid and at the moment money is incredibly tight. Building a profile, getting my name out there and continuing to smash records - that's all I can do. I don't think I can be left off funding for much longer because I seem to have ticked most other boxes."

What would funding do for you?

"It would allow a completely stress-free season, particularly going into Rio. With the funding, I'll be able to pay the rent, have physios and go to training camps without any worries. There have been too many worries about money already this year, but I'm hoping soon that will not be the case. It would put my mind at rest and I could continue to develop and get better."
This article first appeared on www.sportsmole.co.uk on 15 July 2015.
Follow Tom on twitter @TomBosworth
#RaceWalking #WorldChampionships #Beijing #OlympicGames #Rio2016

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hannah returns home

Double Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft is in no doubt the legacy of London 2012 is still thriving and hopes to see the British public get behind contenders for the Rio squad when they return to the Olympic Stadium later this month.
Cockcroft was back at the scene of her triumph four years ago on Wednesday, taking to the track in her role as a BT Sport ambassador ahead of National Paralympic Day on July 26, when the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park plays host to the final leg of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Series.

The 22-year-old from Halifax, West Yorkshire delivered gold in both the T34 100 metres and 200 metres at London 2012.

While much has been made of what lasting legacy has actually been left on the nation's youth from events of that amazing summer four years ago, Cockroft firmly believes her sport would have been in a much poorer state without those inspired performances in front of packed venues.

"Being out there made me just want to start racing again," said Cockroft, who will be aiming to win gold at the IPC World Championships in Qatar during October to secure her place on the British squad for Rio 2016.

"It is just an amazing track, and as disabled athletes the majority of events it is just a track, with no stands around and people just sit on a blanket to watch us. So to get the opportunity to go out into a proper stadium which we have filled, it is just so exciting and you want to do it again. It adds motivation to training and competition to put in a performance against a great backdrop.

"It would, though, feel disappointing if we roll out (on July 26) and it is like the Anniversary Games last year where there were not that many people in the stands, because it does make you question is the legacy here? And I know it is, because I see it every day.

"For me the biggest example (of the legacy) is about how much wheelchair racing has grown. There are local and national events almost every weekend, we have now every age from about eight to the oldest I have met who is 52, which is amazing.

"When I joined the British team after Beijing in 2008 it had two other girls in wheelchair racing in Britain. Now there are 14 being funded on the squad, around half of which are girls.

"It just shows there is talent hiding everywhere and it just needed that little bit of persuasion that you can try this and you can do this, there is a way for you to do whatever you want."

Cockroft, continued: "That is the legacy, and off the back of London you have got girls who are challenging me now and that makes everything bigger and better.

"No-one is sitting at home now thinking 'I want to do sport, but I cant'. There are no more kids left out and reading library books while everyone else is playing sport.

"There are more clubs now willing to try. Not everyone is going to be a Paralympic champion, but as long as you make someone happy it does not matter because everyone is getting a go and they love it."
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012
#OlympicPark #NPD2015 #IPCGrandPrix #London2012 #Legacy


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Jordanne Whiley - Wimbledon Champion!

Jordanne Whiley and Yui Kamiji had to give everything to claim their second successive Wimbledon title on the day it was announced there will be a singles wheelchair tennis event at The Championships from 2016.

The British-Japanese pair lifted the title after a back and forth match which saw them eventually beat Dutch rivals Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 in the women’s doubles final.

Whiley earned the first service hold of the women’s final to take the top seeds into a 3-2 lead and they used their momentum to take the opening set after winning five games in row.

They made it eight games in a row to take a 3-0 second set lead before second seeds Griffioen and van Koot battled back to force the customary decider in games between these four. 

A tense final set saw the defending champions earn what turned out to be the vital break as they seized the initiative at 5-3. Whiley then held her nerve superbly to serve out and give herself and Kamiji their sixth Grand Slam title out of the last seven majors after finishing runners-up to Griffioen and van Koot at Roland Garros last month.

“It’s always difficult to come back and defend your title and today certainly wasn’t easy. Yui and I really started strongly being a set and three love up but we knew that they were going to come back strongly after that and we lost it a little at the start of the third set. But we were able to fight back and the crowd really helped us with that as they always do here at Wimbledon,” said a delighted Whiley.

“I did feel the nerves in the second set and I was feeling a bit sick as we’ve never actually led like that in a final, we’ve always come from behind before. This was one of the best matches we’ve ever played and I’m really proud of both of us for doing so well. It’s so special to play at Wimbledon and share the ground with some of the greats of the game, playing singles here next year will be amazing and someone will get to be Wimbledon singles champion, which will be very special.”

Report courtesy of The Tennis Foundation.
Follow Jordanne on Twitter @jordannejoyce92

#Wimbledon2015 #GrandSlam #WheelchairTennis #Tennis #Doubles

Thursday, 9 July 2015

A day in the life of GB Short Track skater, Jack Whelbourne

Earlier this week we spent some time with #Team17 short track speed skater Jack Whelbourne and the GB Short track team at their Nottingham base.

Having skated since the age of six, Jack first represented the GB Junior squad at the age of 14 and competed in his first Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010, following that up when he became the Junior World 1000m champion in 2011. Jack was chosen to compete at three distances at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. He was the first British athlete to make a 1500m final but he collided with a dislodged rubber bollard and fell. Jack has now put that disappointment behind him and is totally focused on winning a medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang South Korea.

On the day we met with Jack he had already started the day at 6am, cycling with fellow GB team member Elise Christie, from their home to the north of Nottingham to the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont. 

Beside the lake, the home of British rowing, in the early morning sun, Jack and Elise went through an hour set of lung busting "imitations", a series of strides and sideways movements, all performed in a crouching position to replicate the movement of skating on the ice.

Jack does his "imitations"
Following the session, it was back on the bikes for a 3 mile ride back to the Nottingham Ice Arena in the city, the venue that GB Short track share with the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team. Once changed in to the skin tight, blood restricting race suits, it was on to the ice for 100 minutes of threshold laps, under the watchful gaze of Korean coach, Lee Seung-Jae.

The threshold laps were a brutal form of interval training, with a variety of timed laps and rest periods, a thorough cardiovascular workout, designed to improve aerobic capacity and help the skaters better cope with the restocked blood flow offsetting fatigue, all strictly performed to the coaches stop watch.

Jack Whelbourne leading from the front
At the end of the session, which was exhausting just to watch, the team went through an intense 5000m relay practice. Then it was a change to gym kit, for a 30 minute lower abs building exercise session in the dance studio, before an hour break for lunch.

Lunch break for Jack comprised of a jacket potato with salad and a meeting with his management team to discuss website design, maximising the use of social media and looking at strategies to gain much needed sponsorship for this fast dynamic sport.

It was very apparent at the meeting that, following a lot of changes involving the governance of the sport, Jack, as British Champion, now sees himself as very much the man to move the GB short track programme forward, striving for excellence, challenging the norm and leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of medals.

Following lunch it was back to the bikes again, for a return to Holme Pierrepont for an hours group psychology session. Finally, as time on the ice is restricted due to other ice users, it was back on the bikes. This time for a 3 1/2 hour 60 mile ride around the Nottinghamshire countryside, to work on "ice fitness" as cycling is the sport which is closest to using the same muscle groups as speed skaters. Clearly time on the ice would be preferable, but the facility is just not available.

After an exhausting day, there was time for dinner of homemade chicken and lamb curry with rice and Jack was in bed by 10pm, as his alarm was set for 6am, when he was set to do it all over again, in pursuit of his Olympic dream.

You can follow Jack on Twitter @speedyboi158

#ShortTrack #TeamGB #Ice #Training #Workout #Cycling

Monday, 6 July 2015

British Championships for Rob and Tom

It was a great weekend for #Team17 with two of the team winning British titles!

On Saturday, Team GB paracanoe athlete, and European Champion, Rob Oliver booked his place to Milan in August for the International Canoe Federation World Championships. Rob made sure of his place on the GB team heading to Italy by winning both his races at the British Canoeing National Sprint Championships Regatta held at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont.

Single leg amputee Rob (27), from Hollywood, is the British No.1 in his 200m kayak sprint category  has only been paddling since 2011, was delighted with his performance at the regatta, saying "Going into the weekend I knew it was going to be difficult as the competition in Britain is always growing, but I knew I’d had a good training block so felt in a great place prior to racing." He added "After winning both selection races and booking my place for the World Championships in Milan I am feeling so confident and in the best physical shape I have ever been, so this will be the best opportunity I have at bringing back some silverware for the country and it would be the proudest moment of my life if I could do it!"

On Sunday it was the turn of Tonbridge AC athlete Tom Bosworth (25) who became British Champion over 5k winning the title in the Championships at the Alexandra Stadium in Birmingham on Sunday. Tom finished the race in 19:00.73 setting a new National record and breaking his personal best by almost 16 seconds.

Whilst the majority of the athletes competing were seeking qualification for the World Championships in Beijing next month, the 5k race walk was not a trials event as Tom has already secured selection and will compete over 20k in Beijing.

After treating the crowd to some of his dance moves in celebration at the end of the race, Tom said "I’m over the moon, but also gutted even though I just got a 16-second personal best, as I wanted to dip under 19-minutes. I’m in amazing shape and I’m absolutely buzzing for the World Championships." "I just want to go to Beijing and race really well. If conditions are good I'm hoping for a fast time and a top twenty finish would be the perfect result as I target a top ten place in the Rio Olympics" he added.
Follow Rob and Tom on Twitter @RobertOliverGB   @TomBosworth

#ParaCanoe #RaceWalking #TeamGB #WorldChampionships #Milan #Beijing #Rio2016

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Back Bosworth

Barring some unmitigated disaster, Tom Bosworth will be on the plane to Rio next year, but he wants to go to the Olympic Games in the best shape possible. At the moment, that isn't going to happen. 

The 25-year-old is Britain's best race walker in a generation and is closing in on the national 20k record. The Kent ace, a qualified masseur, is heading to the World Championships in Beijing next month and already has the qualifying time for next summer's Olympic Games. But how competitive he is in Brazil next year depends on sponsorship.

"I'm still not on funding," Bosworth said. "That's not decided until later this year and might come through for 2016. It's a waiting game. It's really frustrating because the quicker I've got, the better I've got, the higher up the world rankings I've got, the less financial support I've got.

"It's general funding. I think, when London was coming around, there was a lot of support. With Olympic fever next year, hopefully that'll bring companies in as attention comes back on athletics and my event.

"At the moment I'm not doing other work, bar the massage stuff. That's good money and flexible hours as well. "I can't rely on it. I'm away so much with racing and training camps, which take up weeks and even months. "I lose clients like that. Financially, I rely on sponsors. My university, Leeds Beckett, have been great, but I'm not a student anymore. That's another problem."

Bosworth is in the shape of his life and has walked a best time of 82min 33sec this year, just 13 seconds outside his lifetime best, set in 2014. He wants to go to Rio ready to compete with the best. "I'd love to aim for the top ten," Bosworth said. "Currently, I'm training full-time, but with the way things are for next season, I don't have enough in the bank or coming in from sponsors to confirm I'll be going all the way to Rio without having to find work. "That would be disastrous. It's so close now, I'm in great form and I want to make the most of it. I'm worried, next year, I might not be able to."

He added: "Rio is still a year away. I've got the qualifying time but I've got plenty more to do before I make that team. It's the World Championships this year. Hopefully I can show what level I'm competing at and then I'll have another 12 months to improve and work on it. "With another full year's training I can be close to the top ten. I was 12th in Europe last year and that's the hotbed of race walking. "At the World Championships I can show where I am at and I'm hoping for the top 20 there.

"Last year was a big step forward and I've backed that up. I'm almost two steps away from a medal. One more step up can see me in the top ten or 12. "Then it's the London World Championships. In another two years I'd love to medal in front of my home crowd. I think I could be in with a shot. You see other endurance athletes. Look at Jo Pavey at her age. I'm 25, I could have another decade competing. I'm still very young for long-distance events."

As Bosworth has improved, the coverage British race walking has received has gone up, with Leeds University, Athletics Weekly and British Athletics all heavily promoting the sport. It is in a healthy state, but Bosworth is asking local businesses to back him and help make him even better. 

"A small company offering even a tiny amount of money or publicity is just as important as a big corporation offering thousands," Bosworth said.

To support Tom in his Olympic quest, visit www.tombosworth.com

Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBosworth
#British #Athletics #Kent #RaceWalking #Sponsorship #BackBosworth #TomWalksFast #Rio2016 #Olympics #OlympicGames #Beijing #WorldChampionship

This story first appeared in the Sevenoaks Chronicle