London Olympics 2012 Emma Pooley fears she will not repeat Beijing heroics

Petite Pooley's course for concern as Brit fears she won't repeat Beijing time-trial heroics

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UPDATED:

16:33 GMT, 31 July 2012

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Beijing medallist Emma Pooley believes the London 2012 Olympic Games time-trial course at Hampton Court hampers her hopes of another podium place.

The 29-year-old, who was born in London and finished second in the time-trial four years' ago, favours an undulating route, but the flat nature of the 29-kilometre course is more beneficial to bigger, more powerful riders.

The petite Pooley, a formidable climber who joked about taking advantage of her fondness for chocolate and cheese in an effort to try to put on weight to increase her chances, won the World Championships time-trial in Melbourne in 2010 and 12 months later finished third in Copenhagen as Germany's Judith Arndt triumphed.

'Ever since Beijing the time-trial has been my thing,' Pooley said.

Flat out: Emma Pooley fears she will not be in the medals

Flat out: Emma Pooley fears she will not be in the medals

'I was really pleased last year at the World Championships, because it was a flat course and I surprised myself by doing better than I expected.

'I want to win it and I want to get a medal at least, but I can't say that I will because others might be better.

'I don't want to sound like a whinging loser, but it's not the ideal course for me. There's no way I can turn my physiology from being small to being a big, powerful rider.

Full focus: Pooley will be giving it her all

Full focus: Pooley will be giving it her all

'It's not an ideal course. I don't need a mountain, but up and down is definitely better for me.

'I've trained for that kind of course and I'll do my best; I'm quite happy with how I've been training.

'I will ride my absolute best and give it everything. That's all you can do in a time-trial.'

Pooley
was beaten by Kristin Armstrong of the United States in China and the
American is again likely to be in contention, while Arndt, world silver
medallist Linda Villumsen of New Zealand and Clara Hughes of Canada are
also set to be in contention.

Lizzie
Armitstead, who on Sunday claimed Britain's first medal of the Games
with silver in the road race, following strong support from Pooley, is
also set to ride and has an outside medal chance.

'I'm looking forward to riding an event without any pressure and enjoying being pushed round by the crowd,' Armitstead said.

'Time-trials aren't really my forte, but it's something that I will probably look to work on in the future.'

On Armitstead, Pooley added: 'I think she might be a surprise in the time-trial.'

London 2012 Olympics: Christian Taylor unfazed by Phillips Idowu "mind games"

Idowu 'mind games' not enough to put triple jump favourite Taylor off his stride

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UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 31 July 2012

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World triple jump champion Christian Taylor believes rival Phillips Idowu has been playing mind games over his injury-clouded build-up to the London Olympics.

Idowu cast doubt on his bid for glory at London 2012 last week when he failed to travel to the British team’s pre-Games training camp in Portugal.

The British Olympic Association responded by requesting the medical records of the silver medallist from Beijing, who remained in the UK for treatment on a trapped nerve which is causing problems in his left hip and knee.

Playing it cool: Christian Taylor is in confident mood ahead of facing Phillips Idowu in the triple jump

Playing it cool: Christian Taylor is in confident mood ahead of facing Phillips Idowu in the triple jump

The 33-year-old eventually complied on Thursday, despite reacting angrily to the BOA’s intervention.

Taylor, who beat Idowu into silver at last year’s World Championships, claimed all the rumour and speculation would not make him complacent.

The American said: 'I respect him (Idowu). He’s a strong jumper. I’m not sleeping on his experience. It only takes one jump to win.

'He’s playing head games. He warmed up (at the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace earlier this month) and said “See you in 20 days”.'

Idowu withdrew from that competition before it got under way and he goes into the Games having not competed since June 1.

Fitness fight: Phillips Idowu insists he will be raring to go when the triple jump starts

Fitness fight: Phillips Idowu insists he will be raring to go when the triple jump starts

BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt was confident, though, he would be ready for qualifying on August 7.

'Our medical team are in discussions with Phillips’ team, including his physio,' Hunt said. 'Phillips is making good progress and, right now, we expect Phillips to compete.'

Taylor added: 'You want to compete with the best. I hope he is there come the 7th.'

The 22-year-old still had an ominous warning for Idowu and the rest of the field, though, as he declared his intention to challenge Jonathan Edwards’ world record.

Edwards’ mark, set in 1995, stands at 18.29 metres, while Taylor leapt 17.96m in winning gold last year.

'I grew up watching Jonathan Edwards,' he said. 'He’s very speed orientated. I studied him and the heights he gets off the board. I’m here to surpass his mark.'

London Olympics 2012 Great Britain 5 South Korea 3 Alex Danson injury a concern

Team GB 5 South Korea 3: Two wins out of two for medal hopefuls but Danson injury a concern

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UPDATED:

16:53 GMT, 31 July 2012

Team GB's women hockey team made it two wins out of two with a thrilling 5-3 victory over South Korea, but the win was marred with an injury to top scorer Alex Danson.

More follows…

Outnumbered: Alex Danson dribbles between four South Koreans

Outnumbered: Alex Danson dribbles between four South Koreans

Finishing power: Georgie Twigg nets GB's fourth

Finishing power: Georgie Twigg nets GB's fourth

Joyous moment: Twigg (left) leads the celebrations

Joyous moment: Twigg (left) leads the celebrations

Barcelona after Arsenal"s Alex Song

Barcelona hit bum note with Arsenal as they plot 12m move for midfielder Song

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UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 31 July 2012

Arsenal are bracing themselves for a fresh transfer tussle after it emerged Barcelona were preparing a bid for Alex Song.

The Cameroon international was one of the Gunners star performers during an indifferent season, striking up a particularly profitable relationship with Robin van Persie.

It is the Dutchman who is at the centre of another saga following the release of a statement on his website which questioned the ambitions of the club.

There is no suggestion Song himself is angling for a move, but the midfielder's contract is up for renewal in two years and he is a strong position to negotiate favourable terms.

Sing up for the Arsenal: Alex Song is being linked with a move to Barcelona

Sing up for the Arsenal: Alex Song is being linked with a move to Barcelona

Barcelona are keen to strengthen the defensive side of their game having let go Seydou Keita during the summer window. They also struggled with the defeat in the heart of their backline last season, often relying on midfielders Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets.

And now Catalan newspaper Sport say new manager Tito Vilanova will move for Song – a decision sanctioned by the players and coaching staff – to the tune of 12.5m.

The report also suggests Song and Cesc Fabregas – who left north London for the Nou Camp a year ago – maintain a strong friendship.

Eden Hazard excited over Thorgan Hazard link-up at Chelsea

Hazard warning: Eden can't wait to play alongside brother Thorgan for first time

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UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 31 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Eden Hazard admits he can't wait to line-up alongside his little brother Thorgan for the first time ever when Chelsea kick-off the new season.

Older sibling Eden, 21, was joined at Stamford Bridge earlier this month by his 19-year-old younger brother, who joined the European champions just weeks after his high-profile 32million arrival from Lille.

Excited: Eden Hazard is looking forward to the prospect of playing alongside his younger brother Thorgan at Chelsea

Excited: Eden Hazard is looking forward to the prospect of playing alongside his younger brother Thorgan at Chelsea

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo signed Thorgan for a considerable fraction of that fee from French second division outfit Lens but Eden believes he will prove to be real value for money for the west London side.

'Despite both of us having been at Tubize, we have never played in the same team,' Hazard told Chelsea's official club website.

'I hope I can play soon alongside my brother in the national team and also for Chelsea.'

Thorgan is looking to breakthrough to the senior Belgium side this year after impressing on the wings for the nation's Under 19s.

Out to impress: Thorgan Hazard will look to convince manager Roberto Di Matteo he is ready for a first team role

Out to impress: Thorgan Hazard will look to convince manager Roberto Di Matteo he is ready for a first team role

But Eden believes his brother is more adept in central midfield – rather than out wide where he expects to start the season for Chelsea.

'My brother is not the same as me because he is not someone who dribbles a lot,' Hazard added.

'He is more someone who has a passing game in midfield.

'He can play on the wings also but his best position is in central midfield, a number 10.'

Thierry Henry: Arsenal can cope without Robin van Persie

Legend Henry confident Arsenal can cope without wantaway captain Van Persie

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UPDATED:

14:35 GMT, 31 July 2012

Thierry Henry insists Arsenal will overcome the loss of Robin van Persie should he leave the Gunners.

Boss Arsene Wenger is set to hold further talks with van Persie this week, but the Dutch striker is determined to move on.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus are all interested in last season's top scorer in the Barclays Premier League.

On his way: Robin van Persie is keen to quit Arsenal this summer

On his way: Robin van Persie is keen to quit Arsenal this summer

Henry, whose highly-successful eight-year spell at Arsenal ended in 2007 and resumed with a loan stint in January, insists the club will cope if he leaves.

'We hope he stays and that's the way it is,' the Frenchman told Sky Sports News. 'I don't know exactly what is happening but as an Arsenal fan I want him to stay.

'He is still an Arsenal player and the boss has to deal with it. I just want Arsenal to do well. Robin will do what he will do and we'll see.

'When I left, everybody cried, but then the year after they went on a run of being eight points ahead. Everyone comes and goes.'

Come to me! Man City boss Roberto Mancini (right) wants to sign Van Persie

Come to me! Man City boss Roberto Mancini (right) wants to sign Van Persie

Henry insists Arsenal need England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is battling back from ankle and knee problems, to recover as quickly as possible.

Wilshere is expected to return to action in October after spending the whole of last season on the treatment table.

'You want Jack Wilshere around. He reminds me of when I first arrived when the old guard was there,' the New York Red Bulls striker said.

'He's an Arsenal fan in the first place and you need this type of player around in the dressing room.

Old pals Thierry Henry (left) celebrates with Robin van Persie last season

Old pals Thierry Henry (left) celebrates with Robin van Persie last season

'It's not only that he's an Arsenal fan, and not only an Englishman, but he's a good player, it's as simple as that.

'What a shame that he stopped a bit because he was on his way.

'I just wish him all the best that he can come back quick and wear the shirt he loves so much.'

David Florence British slalom star fails in mission to reach Olympic final

No go for Flo: British slalom star fails in mission to reach Olympic final

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UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 31 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Britain's David Florence crashed out of the canoe after finishing outside the cut-off for the final.

The 29-year-old from Aberdeen initially took sixth spot after going out eighth, but dropped down to tenth place and out of the competition.

The world No 1 and silver medallist from
Beijing had been in line for a medal but his time of 106.16 seconds,
which included two seconds, was not good enough.

Sinking feeling: Great Britain's David Florence was eliminated in Tuesday's battle

Sinking feeling: Great Britain's David Florence was eliminated in Tuesday's battle

Florence, nicknamed D-Flo, received huge cheers from the 12,000 capacity grandstand at Lee Valley white water centre as he powered his way down the 250 metre course.

He has another chance of a medal when he competes in the semi-final of the C2 – the two-man boat – on Thursday with team-mate Richard Hounslow.

London 2012 Olympics: Ben Ainslie struggling in Weymouth

Sailing legend Ainslie struggling to maintain gold rush after fresh defeat in Weymouth

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 31 July 2012

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Ben Ainslie saw his assault on Olympic gold stutter once again on Tuesday as he finished behind Finn leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen for a fifth time at London 2012.

The three-time gold medallist is the undoubted star of the British sailing team and over-riding favourite to top the podium on home waters.

However, Ainslie has failed to overcome Hogh-Christensen this week and got off to a poor start in Tuesday's first race.

Choppy waters: Ben Ainslie is struggling to stamp his authority in the Finn class

Choppy waters: Ben Ainslie is struggling to stamp his authority in the Finn class

The 35-year-old managed to claw back places as the race went on, but could only finish fourth as the Dane got his third bullet of the regatta to extend his lead at the top of the overall standings.

Ainslie moves up to second but lies nine points shy of Hogh-Christensen after both their worst results are discarded.

Overall for the British team, though, it was a better start to the day after a frustrating time on Monday.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson continued their fine form in the Star class by winning race five at a canter, with rivals Brazil following them home 50 seconds later.

Olympic debutant Ali Young followed up her sturdy start to the regatta with a second in the day's first Laser Radial race, which was won by Ireland's Annalise Murphy for the third race in succession.

Close run thing: Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark continues to lead the way

Close run thing: Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark continues to lead the way

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes started well in the 49er class, having posted two 12th place finishes on Monday.

The British pair finished the day's first race third and were well placed in the second, only to capsize and come home 18th.

Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen continue to lead the 49er class after finishing second to New Zealand in the first race and fourth in the second, having capsized when leading.

Meanwhile, the RS:X class began on Tuesday and Nick Dempsey got off to solid start, hauling himself up the fleet in both races to post a fifth and seventh.

The Norwich-born windsurfer was fourth overall, while the Netherlands' Dorian van Rijsselberge won both races.

Dean Shiels signs four-year Rangers deal

Shiels checks in at Rangers as Northern Irishman signs four-year deal

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UPDATED:

14:48 GMT, 31 July 2012

Rangers have completed the signing of Dean Shiels.

The former Kilmarnock attacking midfielder, who was a free agent, has signed a four-year deal.

Shiels is the second new recruit since Rangers were consigned to liquidation in June, following the capture of Ian Black at the weekend.

Over the moon: Dean Shiels is delighted to have signed for Rangers

Over the moon: Dean Shiels is delighted to have signed for Rangers

Boss Ally McCoist faces a race against time to assemble a squad before a 12-month transfer embargo comes into effect on September 1.

Top-flight clubs voted against allowing Rangers entry into the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and they will play in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season.

But, despite Rangers dropping down the divisions, Shiels says he has signed for what he still regards as a massive club.

He said: 'I'm over the moon to be here. First and foremost, I wanted to sign for Rangers. No matter what league they are in, it's a massive club.

'I can't wait to get started. I'm delighted to be here, it's one of the biggest clubs in the world.'

The Northern Ireland international has no qualms about playing in the Scottish Football League's bottom division.

He added: 'It doesn't concern me, no. I see it as a challenge, as a personal challenge, to try to do my bit to get this club back to where it belongs, back to top-flight football.'

Andy Murray beats Jarkko Nieminen – London 2012 Olympics

British ace Murray sails through to last 16 with Wimbledon win over Nieminen

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 31 July 2012

Andy Murray has booked his place in the third round after cruising to a straight-sets victory over Jarkko Nieminen.

Murray, who won 6-2, 6-4 will now face Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis for a place in the quarter-finals.

More to follow…

Net gains: The British No 1 is safely through to the third round

Net gains: The British No 1 is safely through to the third round