Tag Archives: britons

Theo Walcott agrees deal to stay at Arsenal

Walcott finally agrees new deal at Emirates with forward set to stay at Arsenal until 2016

PUBLISHED:

12:19 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 18 January 2013

Theo Walcott appears to have ended the drawn out contract saga at Arsenal by agreeing a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2016.

After lengthy negotiations the England forward has finally agreed, in principle, a three-and-a-half year deal at the Emirates.

The 23-year-old is likely to join fellow Britons Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who all signed five-year extensions last month.

Finally: Theo Walcott has agreed a new deal with Arsenal after lengthy negotiations

Finally: Theo Walcott has agreed a new deal with Arsenal after lengthy negotiations

On alert: Arsene Wenger was concerned that another of his prized assets would leave the club

On alert: Arsene Wenger was concerned that another of his prized assets would leave the club

Walcott was expected to agree a deal
sooner, but he baulked at a deal worth 75,000 per week in
August as he held out for a contract closer to 100,000.

Arsene Wenger has seen some of his brightest
talents leave the Emirates in the past two summers.

Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri,
Alex Song and the Premier League's leading goalscorer this season Robin van Persie have
all departed and the Frenchman was desperate to keep Walcott
on board.

Wenger had
said that he was '99 per cent' certain that Walcott would agree terms
before the weekend, and it appears his prediction has come to fruition.

He told The Sun: 'I hope it will be signed before the weekend. There is a possibility. My optimism is at 99 per cent now.'

He added that he was concerned
Walcott would follow the other big names out of the club but it appears
he is set to stay in north London.

Wenger said: 'Yes I was scared at
some stage, that he could leave because it is like that with the
experience I have in negotiations.

'When things last too long, it is never a good sign. It took us some time to get where we want to get. It is still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend.'

Walcott joined the Gunners in 2006, when Wenger signed the 16-year-old Southampton academy graduate.

The Englishman is Arsenal's top scorer this campaign with 14 goals in all competitions.

Problem solved: Arsene Wenger managed to convince Walcott to stay at the club

Problem solved: Arsene Wenger managed to convince Walcott to stay at the club

Crisis averted: Samir Nasri moved to Manchester City

Crisis averted: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona in 2011

Crisis averted: Samir Nasri (left) moved to Manchester City and Cesc Fabregas (right) left for Barcelona in 2011

Big loss: Robin van Persie left Arsenal last summer for Manchester United

Big loss: Robin van Persie left Arsenal last summer for Manchester United

Steven de Jongh leaves Team Sky after admitting doping during career

Team Sky chief De Jongh leaves after admitting he doped during cycling career

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UPDATED:

20:08 GMT, 29 October 2012

Steven de Jongh has left his role as a sporting director at Team Sky after admitting to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.

De Jongh is the third member of Team Sky staff to leave the Tour de France-winning team after the zero-tolerance approach to doping was restated in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair.

Sean Yates announced his retirement from professional cycling on Sunday, leaving his role as senior sports director but refuting reports his departure was forced.

Suspicion: Dutch TVM rider Steven de Jongh being escorted away by police in 1998 to be questioned about doping

Suspicion: Dutch TVM rider Steven de Jongh being escorted away by police in 1998 to be questioned about doping

American Bobby Julich left the squad last week after revealing he took EPO in his racing career.

A Team Sky statement read: 'Steven de Jongh has left Team Sky following three seasons as sports director.

'After the team reaffirmed its position on anti-doping, Steven disclosed that he had taken a banned substance earlier in his career as a professional rider.'

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said: 'There's no doubt about Steven's work with us or his approach. He's been a highly-valued sports director and colleague over three seasons.

Gone: Bobby Julich

Gone: Bobby Julich

'Steven deserves our respect for the courage he's shown in being honest about the past and it's right that we do our best to support him.

'He has our best wishes for the next step in his career.'

Yates, Julich and De Jongh could yet be joined by others in leaving Team Sky.

Brailsford and sports psychiatrist Dr
Steve Peters are interviewing every team member in turn and asking them
to sign a document confirming they have had no involvement in doping.

Yates, one of five Britons to have
worn the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey, and Team Sky
insisted his departure was for personal reasons and 'there were no
admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the
team'.

Both Yates, who was key in Wiggins
becoming the first British winner of the Tour, and Julich worked with
Armstrong during their careers.

Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all results from August 1, 1998 to leave the 1999 to 2005 Tours without a winner, following an investigation by the United States Anti-doping Agency.

Michael Barry was a key witness in the USADA investigation, with which Armstrong declined to co-operate, and spent three years at Team Sky before recently retiring and admitting to doping.

Like Julich last week, De Jongh opted to tell his tale in an open letter, expressing remorse and his wish to continue in the sport.

In the letter, published on www.cyclingweekly.co.uk, he wrote: 'I've been shocked by the stories and rumours of organised doping programmes because I've simply never seen anything like that.

Unforced: Sean Yates (left) said he was not made to leave

Unforced: Sean Yates (left) said he was not made to leave

'My experience was very different. My doping was done by me, and nobody ever forced me. Of course, I always knew it was wrong and was scared of the risks I was taking. And I will always regret what I did.

'I took EPO on a few occasions from 1998 to 2000. It was very easy to get hold of and I knew it couldn't be detected.'

He added: 'With the steps we've been taking in cycling there is a better chance than ever to compete in a clean sport. I'm certainly committed to that and everybody I've worked with can assure you that's the case.

'I truly regret what I did. I hope very much to stay in this sport, and I'm sure I can play my part in its clean future.'

Jess Varnish: I"m trying to rebuild my life after Olympic nightmare

While Vicky stars in Strictly, I'll be trying to rebuild my own life after Olympic nightmare

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UPDATED:

21:08 GMT, 29 September 2012

Even now, two months after her heart was broken in London's Velodrome, Jess Varnish admits that the pain of disqualification from the Olympics is no easier to bear.

'It felt like someone had died,' she said. 'I knew it was wrong to feel like that and I told myself to pull myself together. I know it wasn't anything important in the real world but at that time, in that stadium, the Olympics were everything to me. It was like life or death.'

Horror: The moment Varnish and Victoria Pendleton messed up their changeover in the team sprint at London 2012

Horror: The moment Varnish and Victoria Pendleton messed up their changeover in the team sprint at London 2012

On Friday night, Victoria Pendleton will be watched by a television audience of millions as she takes a starring role in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, the first act in her new life since her retirement from sport after a much-garlanded career.

At the same time, thousands of miles away in South America, Varnish will be preparing to race for the first time since the infamous moment when, in partnership with Pendleton, her own Olympic dreams were shattered as the pair were disqualified in the women's team sprint, an event in which the Britons, who had broken the world record in qualifying, were favourites for the gold medal.

Shaping up: Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton in rehearsals for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing

Shaping up: Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton in rehearsals for the
new series of Strictly Come Dancing

While Pendleton knew she would be returning to the Veldrome for two further events, winning the keirin to claim the second Olympic gold medal of her stellar career as well as a silver in the individual sprint to add to the gold she had won at Beijing in 2008, Varnish vanished into the shadows.

For her, two and a half years' dedication were destroyed in the blink of an eye as they failed to make a legal changeover in the team sprint and were disqualified in the semi-finals.

Now Varnish must start out on the road to redemption – and the Rio Olympics in 2016. For the bright-eyed 21-year-old from Bromsgrove, the journey begins at a World Cup event in Colombia in 11 days' time.

Her expectations are not high, having started to train again only four weeks ago. Varnish says she cried alone during the sleepless nights that followed her disqualification in London, but remained with the team to provide support and encouragement as Pendleton's roommate in the Athletes Village.

'I was helping Vicky out, getting her food when she didn't want to stay in the apartment,' she recalled.

'It was her last-ever competition and I wanted her to go out with a bang. And she did.' Varnish was holding Pendleton's 10-week-old nephew, Nathan, in the Velodrome when Britain's best-known woman cyclist restored her reputation by winning the gold medal in the keiren 24 hours after being evicted from the team sprint. 'I ended up crying all over again,' said Varnish.

'I was happy to be with Vicky's family, sharing the moment with them, but it was sad to be back in the stadium where nothing had changed, really.'

Her parents had tried to comfort her on the night her world collapsed. 'We went to dinner but I didn't want to eat,' she said.

'I didn't want to do anything; but you can't really explain how you feel because you feel pathetic.

'It was hard to stay in the Village, to be around a team where almost everyone else had got gold medals apart from me. The Olympics had been all I thought of for two and a half years, just focusing on that one lap. I was crying a lot, but there was no one in the team I could talk to as I didn't want to affect the performances of others.

'But it was the right thing to support the team in any way I could and I'm proud of the way I reacted. But people think I am tougher than I actually am. I couldn't sleep for days afterwards.'

Varnish will continue her regular sessions with sports psychologist Steve Peters, the man Pendleton always called her 'mind mechanic', as her life gets back to normal.

Downer: Pendleton (right) and Varnish react after being disqualified

Downer: Pendleton (right) and Varnish react after being disqualified

She misses Pendleton and they still meet regularly for coffee or dinner when time permits. Varnish laughs at the pain her friend has undergone in training for Strictly.

'She can only wear Ugg boots because her feet hurt so much,' said Varnish. 'Of course, we've spoken about what happened, and tell one another we had a medal stolen from us.'

As for the changeover that cost Varnish her dream, she remains angry that she and Pendleton could have made such a crucial error.

'As the lead rider, I had to pull up at a certain place and Vicky had to come through at a certain place,' said Varnish.

'We missed that point by a couple of centimetres, by one-hundredth of a second. But at the Olympics the judges were going to be on to that. You saw it happen to others; it happened to the Chinese after they thought they had won the gold medal.

Downcast: Jess Varnish reveals the heartache of missing out on the gold medal

Downcast: Jess Varnish reveals the heartache of missing out on the gold medal

'I was angry with what happened to us then and I'm still furious now. If you weren't angry at being disqualified from the Olympic Games, I think you'd have a problem. But I understand that I'm only 21, there is so much in my life and I have so much fire in my belly to prove that I've got what it takes.'

Varnish has never watched a replay of her Olympics and never will. 'What's the point' she said.

'But I know this will make me stronger. I don't think anything worse can happen in my cycling career unless I have a really bad crash.'

In the last week of the Games, Varnish at least had the distraction of assisting her boyfriend, BMX rider Liam Phillips.

'Liam made the Olympic final but he crashed at the last turn,' she said. 'We just had to laugh! When we talk about the Olympics, we ask each other: “What the hell happened”'

Track Cycling – October 11-13 Cali (Colombia)

London 2012 Olympics: Josef Craig sets world record in S7 400m freestyle

Teenage kicks for Craig as 15-year-old sets new 400m freestyle world record in the pool

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 6 September 2012

Josef Craig was staggered to have defied his tender years as he set a new world record in the S7 400 metres freestyle as ParalympicsGB continued to sizzle in the pool.

The 15-year-old cut his own best by nine seconds as he hurled down a marker on Thursday morning in four minutes 45.79 seconds.

The South Shields-born teenager's time saw him dip 1.37secs inside team-mate Jonathan Fox's world record set at last year's European Championships in Berlin.

Rising star: Josef Craig celebrates winning the men's 400m freestyle S7 heat at the Aquatics Centre

Rising star: Josef Craig celebrates winning the men's 400m freestyle S7 heat at the Aquatics Centre

Making a splash: Craig was taken aback after setting his new world record time in the S7 400m freestyle

Making a splash: Craig was taken aback after setting a new world record time in the S7 400m freestyle

Craig was completely taken aback and said: 'I thought “God I've just done a massive PB, that will be my achievements done for this competition” but then I got my focus back and saw it was a world record next to the time and I just thought there's a problem with the clock here.

'I can't break a world record yet, I'm still 15, just take it one step at a time but I just don't know what to say about that, it's just amazing.'

Craig added: 'I've been training really hard but I never thought there would be a world record time in there but it just goes to show what amazing help I've got up at Manchester.'

Water sight: (left-right) Josef Craig, Shiyun Pan of China, Matthew Levy of Australia, Lantz Lamback of the United States, Matthew Walker of Great Britain, Yevheniy Bohodayko of Ukraine and Jonathan Fox of Great Britain

Water sight: (left-right) Craig, Shiyun Pan of China, Matthew Levy
of Australia, Lantz Lamback of the United States, Matthew Walker of
Great Britain, Yevheniy Bohodayko of Ukraine and Jonathan Fox of Great
Britain

Fox was second fastest through in 4mins 49.91secs with the possibility of two Britons on the podium tonight a very real prospect.

The 21-year-old won the S7 100m backstroke on the opening night but since then has not made the top three in his 50m and 100m freestyle races.

He was magnanimous about his younger team-mate wresting his world record and said: 'Josef is 15 and has been training really well and hats off to him for breaking it.

'I am a good team player, I take a defeat when I get one and we'll see – I'll come back fighting tonight and hopefully there will be two Britons on the podium so we'll see what happens.'

London 2012 Paralympics: Danielle Brown beats Mel Clarke in archery final

Defending champion Brown wins archery gold after beating fellow Brit Clarke

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 4 September 2012

Great Britain's Danielle Brown successfully defended her Paralympic Games title with a narrow victory over team-mate Mel Clarke in a tense women's individual compound final at the Royal Artillery Barracks which went down to the final arrow.

Yorkshirewoman Brown won Paralympic gold in 2008, the Commonwealth Games team title in Delhi two years ago and now has triumphed at London 2012.

Brown met compatriot Clarke, bronze medallist from Beijing, in the final, winning 6-4.

Brit special: Danielle Brown (right) and Mel Clarke (left) with their archery medals

Brit special: Danielle Brown (right) and Mel Clarke (left) with their archery medals

The Britons could not be separated
early on, scoring 27-27 in the first set and 29-29 in the second, before
three arrows of nine saw Brown, who was shooting first, take a 4-2
lead.

Clarke responded to take the fourth set 29-26 and level at 4-4 to force a fifth.

She
required a maximum 10 score on the final arrow to win, but she shot a
seven – her worst arrow of the final – as the pressure told and Brown
won.

In the semi-finals,
Brown claimed a 6-2 semi-final success over Marina Lyzhnikova and Clarke
beat Stepanida Artakhinova, another Russian, 6-0.

Artakhinova claimed bronze with a 7-3 defeat of her team-mate Lyzhnikova.

Golden girl: Brown defended her archery title in London

Golden girl: Brown defended her archery title in London

Brown was relieved she did not have the final shot.

She said: 'That helps a lot. My arrows had all gone and she had to play catch-up, as it were.

'It was a 10 to tie the set and then we would've had to do a one-arrow shoot off.

'I've been really feeling [the pressure] the last couple of weeks, so to actually come here and manage to keep my head in the right place, I'm chuffed to bits about that.

'It's been crazy. I didn't think it would have affected me the way it has.'

Clarke said: 'It's unreal. To get through to the final was brilliant.

'To shoot against another Brit in the final was incredible and I shot really well. I'm really proud.'

More to follow.

History: Brown had also won the 2010 Commonwealth Games title

History: Brown had also won the 2010 Commonwealth Games title

Grimace: Clarke reacts during the final

Grimace: Clarke reacts during the final

London 2012 Olympics: Hockey: Team GB 1 Australia 3

Team GB 1 Australia 3: Lewers' fightback rendered futile as hosts well beaten to bronze

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 11 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Team GB missed out on another medal on Saturday as the Australia hockey team eventually dismantled their defence to come out convincing winners.

The Britons went down to an early goal, but pulled one back through Iain Lewers, giving the home crowd something to cheer.

The ever-impressive Ashley Jackson
set up his compatriot after the Brits survived incredible pressure from
the visitors to level things up.

The man: Jamie Dwyer celebrated a brilliant performance with his Australian team-mates

The man: Jamie Dwyer celebrated a brilliant performance with his Australian team-mates

Futile: Team GB were level before the Australians took the game 3-1

Futile: Team GB were level before the Australians took the game 3-1

But the Britons couldn't cope for the duration of the game, and the cream eventually rose to the top as the Australians exhibited the better hockey, taking control of proceedings.

The side's top goalscorer Jamie Dwyer bagged another to make it 2-1 to the visitors, deflating the Team GB players for a moment.

As the hosts were in their lull, the Australians struck again to make it 3-1.

Team GB could not find a way back into the game from there, and struggled to get enough possession to trouble the impressive Australian outfit at the Riverbank.

More to follow.

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

London 2012 Olympics: Injury curse in the stadium

Four years of hope gone in an instant as injury strikes the stars of track and field

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 7 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Never does the four-year Olympic cycle seem more brutal than when injury prevents an athlete from being the best he or she can be.

Chinese 110metres hurdler Liu Xiang and Britons Goldie Sayers and Andrew Pozzi will know just how cruel that is after an emotional morning in the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.

In 2008, Liu, then the defending Olympic champion, carried the hopes of a nation into the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.

First flight chaos: Pole Artur Noga stops while Liu Xiang and Bajan Shane Brathwaite crash out

First flight chaos: Pole Artur Noga stops while Liu Xiang and Bajan Shane Brathwaite crash out

Body says no: Goldie Sayers

Body says no: GB stars Goldie Sayers and Andrew Pozzi both saw their Olympic dreams crushed by injury

Body says no: GB stars Goldie Sayers and Andrew Pozzi both saw their Olympic dreams crushed by injury

But he didn’t even make it to the first hurdle, limping off after a false start with acute pain in his right achilles tendon.

Four years on, the former world record-holder attacked those 42-inch barriers with a different leading leg, but the result was the same. The 29-year-old was even wearing the same number – 1356 – as he clattered into the first hurdle.

His fellow competitors were waiting for him as he hopped to the finish line, trying to protect the tendon that had ruptured once again, and kissed the final barrier in lane four.

‘It was horrible to see him limp off like that so I had to go to help him,’ said Britain’s Andy Turner, who won Liu’s heat in 13.42sec. ‘I regard him as the best hurdler in history and I have so much respect for him.’

Britain’s Lawrence Clarke will join Turner in the semi-finals on Wednesday night but Pozzi, the British champion indoors and out, did not even make it to the second hurdle of his heat, having suffered a torn hamstring last month.

The end: Liu Xiang has been desperately unlucky with injuries, twice having had his Olympics cut short. In London, he bid a moving farewell to the sport he should have dominated

The end: Liu Xiang has been desperately unlucky with injuries, twice having had his Olympics cut short. In London, he bid a moving farewell to the sport he should have dominated

‘I came out of the blocks and it went again,’ said the 20-year-old. ‘I’ve really struggled but I didn’t want to walk away. My whole season has been based on this.’

Sayers, too, saw her attempt to qualify for the javelin final thwarted by injury. The 30-year-old tore ligaments in her right elbow, her throwing arm, after breaking her own British record on July 14 and said she couldn’t feel her hand after suffering a further injury in the warm-up.

She registered three no-throws then broke down during a BBC interview.

‘I’m sure people are criticising me for competing, but I had to give it a go,’ she said. ‘I had to compete in a home Olympics but my body just let me down. I’ll put this right. Hopefully I can do the country proud in Rio.’

London 2012 Olympics: BMX: Shanaze Reade embraces pressure

'Nothing to lose': Reade embracing pressure ahead of bid to snatch gold in Games' BMX competition

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UPDATED:

15:07 GMT, 7 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Shanaze Reade is ready to embrace the expectation when the London 2012 Olympic Games BMX competition begins on Wednesday.

After watching her British Cycling team-mates deliver under the weight of a nation on road and track and Britons claim medals across a range of sports, the 23-year-old from Crewe is ready to do the same in the rough and tumble world of BMX.

'I have got nothing to lose,' she said. 'I have kept my eye on everything that has been going on.

Ready to go: Shanaze Reade trained on Tuesday at the Olympic Park ahead of her bid to take gold

Ready to go: Shanaze Reade trained on Tuesday at the Olympic Park ahead of her bid to take gold

'Jess Ennis went in with the pressure on her to win. When you can overcome all the obstacles that are put in your way, that is inspiring.

'Everyone keeps coming out with something exceptional and I have just bought into it all.'

Reade is a three-time world champion in the Olympic discipline, known as super-cross, where eight riders hurtle down a steep start ramp, vie for space on the track and negotiate jumps and turns in a bid to finish first, all in around 30 seconds.

Tomorrow's opening action will see a time-trial to determine seedings ahead of the knockout rounds.
Reade had won two world titles before entering her first Olympics in Beijing in 2008, aged 19, and attempted a gold-medal-or-bust manoeuvre, which went wrong as France's Anne-Caroline Chausson won.

'After the last Olympic Games I had a love-hate kind of feel towards the Olympics,' Reade added.

'When I got back I assessed what went wrong, why it went wrong and what I needed to do to be a better athlete.

Hopeful: Reade is gunning for gold at the London Games

Hopeful: Reade is gunning for gold at the London Games

Hopeful: Reade is gunning for gold at the London Games

'We created Team Reade, a hub of people who I trusted and who could be honest with me. They told me some home truths and I vented as well.

'We got together and formed a plan to be better and move forward.

'Coming into this Olympics, I have been on the BMX course and I won the test event.

'I have been buzzing since then (May 2011) and that was only half of the crowd; there will be 6000 there.

'I won in front of half that and it was an amazing feeling.'

For the last four years Reade has been asked time and again about Beijing, with many admiring her for not settling for silver.

If she is faced with the same split-second decision this time round, it appears little would change – although she would hope for a successful execution.

She added: 'It comes with your personality. I train to be the best I can be.

'If the opportunity presents itself to go for gold, if I am in second or whatever position, I will go for that.'

Nightmare in Beijing: Reade crashed in 2008 and her chances of a medal turned to dust

Nightmare in Beijing: Reade crashed in 2008 and her chances of a medal turned to dust

Win or bust: Reade was unwilling to settle for silver but crashed as she tried to take the lead

Win or bust: Reade was unwilling to settle for silver but crashed as she tried to take the lead

Win or bust: Reade was unwilling to settle for silver but crashed as she tried to take the lead

A Frenchwoman stands in Reade's way again, with Magalie Pottier world champion after her victory in Birmingham in May, while time-trial world champion Caroline Buchanan of Australia should also be in contention.

The women are in action over two days, with a rest day on Thursday, when the men have an additional round, the quarter-finals.

Liam Phillips won world time-trial silver in Birmingham in May before suffering a fractured collarbone in the super-cross event, putting his Olympic participation in doubt.

'It's a miraculous recovery,' the 23-year-old from Burnham-on-Sea said.

'I'm in arguably better shape than I was for the worlds, which I didn't think was possible.

'What's really surprised me is the fact I've come out of the other end with even more than I had at the worlds.

'I'm positive and I'm looking forward to racing. I want to go out there and be a part of it.

'My only goal and objective is to put in my best. I know I've put in the work and I'm a good enough bike rider to be able to win or come out with a medal.'

To triumph, Phillips will have to finish ahead of defending Olympic champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia, world champion Sam Willoughby of Australia and the United States' Connor Fields.

London 2012 Olympics: 468m stadium opens doors to world – pictures

After seven years in the making, London's 468m super stadium opens its doors to the world

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UPDATED:

13:36 GMT, 3 August 2012

A wall of sound hit the athletes as they stepped out for the first day of competition at London's Olympic Stadium.

It was quite simply a full-on, no holds barred blast of cheering that came from the crowd at the packed 80,000-capacity venue, which spiked to a higher pitch whenever a British athlete stepped in to view.

Start the party: Young Team GB supporters cheer on their athletes on the first day of the track and field

Start the party: Young Team GB supporters cheer on their athletes on the first day of the track and field

Just amazing: The Olympics welcomed 80,000 fans into the stadium on Friday morning

Just amazing: The Olympics welcomed 80,000 fans into the stadium on Friday morning

The spectators inside the 468million venue were even cheering for Olympians competing in different sports at other venues.

The announcement that British rower Katherine Grainger, competing miles away at Eton Dorney in Windsor, had finally managed to win gold after three successive silver medals, produced one of the loudest and warmest receptions of the morning of the track and field programme.

The noise was so loud when heptathlete and Team GB poster girl Jessica Ennis, one of the first Britons to race on the track, appeared that you almost could not hear the announcement of the runners' names.

Filling up: Fans from around the world poured into the stadium on the opening day in Stratford

Filling up: Fans from around the world poured into the stadium on the opening day in Stratford

High and mighty: An aeriel view of the Olympic Stadium as the big show kicked off

Room with a view: Canary Wharf can be seen in the background

High and mighty: An aerial view of the Olympic Stadium, with the financial centre of Canary Wharf (right) in the background

Red hot: The Olympic Cauldron burns as athletes compete in the Women's 400m Heats

Red hot: The Olympic Cauldron burns as athletes compete in the Women's 400m Heats

To be fair, it did not take much to trigger the rolling crescendo of applause. There was applause for all the introductions of the athletes over the loudspeakers as the track and field schedule picked its way through its first day and preliminary heats rounds.

It was just that there was definitely a higher volume whenever a Brit appeared on the big screen or began their event. On just about any other stage 19-year-old Katarina Johnson-Thompson, of Halewood, would have expected to go unnoticed by the British public as she stepped out on the track for the start of her debut Olympic heptathlon campaign. It did not happen.

The surprise late qualifier for London 2012 is competing in the shadow of Ennis, who is hotly-tipped for gold on home soil. Instead the beaming Johnson-Thompson seemed so stunned by the reception at her introduction that she clasped her face with her hands. It was as if it would help to control her broad smile and giggles triggered by the impact of the reception. The rain came down for a little while.

Scores on the board: The giant screen shows the latest stats from track and field

Scores on the board: The giant screen shows the latest stats from track and field

Stamp of approval: The Olympic rings form a huge part of the home straight on the track

Stamp of approval: The Olympic rings form a huge part of the home straight on the track

The soundtrack that boomed across the stadium picked up Britain's ability to laugh at itself. Rihanna's Umbrella, Bob Marley's Sun is Shining and Shine by Take That all got an airing as it tipped down with rain.

The unlucky women's 400m runners had to contest their heats in 'challenging conditions,' the announcer noted. Then the sun came out once again on the impressive scene.

IAAF president Lamine Diack said: 'It was wonderful to arrive at the Olympic Games this morning and see a totally packed stadium for the first session of athletics. I do not remember the last time this happened and it shows the great affection Britain has for our sport. Locog (the London 2012 organisers) has done a great job and we are excited about the rest of the athletics programme, since the athletes will definitely be inspired by crowds like this.'

London 2012 Olympics: Badminton defeat for Britain

Adcock and Bankier shuttlecock it up as German defeat leaves hopes hanging by a thread

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 29 July 2012

Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier saw their London 2012 medal hopes all but end as they slumped to a second defeat at Wembley Arena.

The Great Britain mixed doubles pair again failed to build on a superb start and went down 11-21, 21-17, 21-14, to Germans Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels.

They now have only the slimmest chance of reaching the quarter-finals, and it initially requires Russians Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeria Sorokina to pull off an unlikely win over world No 1 team Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.

Almost over: Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock are all but out after a second defeat

Almost over: Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock are all but out after a second defeat

Adcock and Bankier would then need to beat the Chinese themselves in their final match of Group A on Tuesday and hope for another favour from the Russian duo.

It has been a disappointing Olympic debut for the Anglo-Scottish pair, who arrived with high hopes after reaching the World Championship final at the same venue last year.

Yet while Adcock and Bankier, 10th in the world rankings, fed off the support of the vociferous home crowd to establish an early lead, they were unable to maintain momentum.

As in their opener against the Russians, they played to their fast-paced, attacking strengths in the first game but were unable to adapt when their opponents slowed the pace.

Michels also started to control more rallies and although the Britons showed some resilience early in the third game, the Germans edged away.

Adcock conceded the pair had underperformed and was resigned to a premature exit.

The 23-year-old said: 'I'm devastated. This is the Olympic Games and we have lost two winnable games. We have worked so hard to get here and we knew we had a chance of progressing.

'We haven't done that now but we have still got one more game and we want to give the crowd that have worked so hard for us a win. I don't know whether we can progress – it is up to the maths to decide that, but we want to give the crowd what they want.'

Adcock was at a loss to explain how he and Bankier had allowed the German world number 22s to claw their way back into the 62-minute contest.

The Nottingham player said: 'I don't know, maybe it is something we need to look at. We've started brilliantly in the first two games and then not got off to good starts in the seconds.
'Maybe it is our tactics, maybe it is theirs.

'They managed to grind back into it and get their rhythm. I'm gutted, obviously.'