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London 2012 Olympics: Canoe sprint – Tim Brabants ready to defend title

Brabants ready to defend canoe sprint title after winning injury battle

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UPDATED:

14:36 GMT, 5 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Tim Brabants said he is as ready as he can be to defend his canoe sprint Olympic crown after coming back from serious injury to compete in this year's games.

Brabants, who won gold in Beijing, needed surgery in 2010 after he ripped his right pectoral tendon doing bench presses in the gym.

Since then it has been a struggle to get back to peak fitness and the 35-year-old accident and emergency doctor admits it will be tricky to defend his crown.

Canoe believe it: Brabants celebrates his triumph in Beijing four years ago

Canoe believe it: Brabants celebrates his triumph in Beijing four years ago

On Monday he opens the canoe sprint competition in the men's K1 1000 metres heats at Eton Dorney, where he will be hoping to add to the success of the canoe slalom specialists who won gold and silver in the men's two man boat.

Brabants, from Walton-on Thames in Surrey, said: 'It has been an uphill struggle to get here since my shoulder injury in 2010, with 2011 and the early part of this year being pretty much a write off.

'I am now just getting better and better and back to be where I want to be at this stage and I am as ready as I can be.

'I haven't written myself off, I am back on form now and I have got the experience from previous games, so I know I can handle the pressure side of it.

'When I sit on the start line I know I have given it everything I can, but there are a lot of talented athletes in our sport so it is going to be tough and with different winners at all the major races this season it shows the quality of the field.'

Back in action: Brabants injured himself in the gym

Back in action: Brabants injured himself in the gym

Golden moment: Brabants shows off his medal

Golden moment: Brabants shows off his medal

If Brabants fails to strike gold, Team GB has another great chance in Ed McKeever, dubbed the Usain Bolt of the water.

McKeever, 28, from Bradford-on-Avon, is competing in the new men's K1 200 metre sprint. The trainee accountant is one of the favourites for gold, after winning in the world cup series earlier this year.

Liam Heath and Jon Schofield in the K2 200m also represent a great medal chance for Team GB, while Richard Jefferies, who was selected for the Olympics after making it through the Sporting Giants talent spotting scheme, will compete in the men's C1 1000 metres and C1 200 metres.

A medal for Jefferies, who only applied after his brother saw an advert in his local gym, is unlikely but given the success of Helen Glover in the rowing, also selected through the scheme, expectations will be raised.

In the women's K4, Jessica Walker, Rachel Cawthorn, Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers compete for Team GB.

Cawthorn will also race in the women's K1 500 metres, while Walker will compete in the K1 200 metres. Sawers will be joined in the women's K2 500 metres by Abigail Edmonds.

The team's head coach Brendan Purcell said the preparations have gone well.

'We've had a really good pre-training camp. It was great environment to put the final touches to the preparations,' he said.

'Everyone is getting very excited about being a part of the Olympics. We all went down to watch the rowing today and absorb the atmosphere. It was very inspirational to see the guys in the canoe slalom pick up their first gold. Everyone now can't wait to get out there on the water.'

London 2012 Olympics: Kate Walsh injured

Hospital check-up for injured Walsh after hockey girls breeze past Japan

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 29 July 2012

Great Britain coach Danny Kerry confirmed captain Kate Walsh had been taken to hospital after being hit in the face late in their 4-0 win over Japan.

However, he does not yet know how serious the injury is and it is likely an update on her condition will not be given until Monday.

The 32-year-old, the team's most experienced player, was caught on the left side of her jaw by a full swing by Akane Shibata and left the pitch with blood coming from her mouth.

Injury: Kate Walsh falls to the ground after being hit by Japan's Akane Shibata

Injury: Kate Walsh falls to the ground after being hit by Japan's Akane Shibata

Injury: Kate Walsh falls to the ground after being hit by Japan's Akane Shibata

'She's with the medical people and we are awaiting further information,' said Kerry.

'She has gone to hospital to be checked out.'

The injury to Walsh was the only downside to a comprehensive victory as midfielder Helen Richardson came off after taking a ball to the kneecap but is expected to recover in time for Tuesday's match against South Korea.

Striker Alex Danson grabbed the headlines with two goals either side of strikes from Wales international Sarah Thomas and Sally Walton.

The Reading forward was returning to the venue for a competitive match for the first time since May when she was forced off with a dislocated shoulder in the final of the Olympic test event, which GB won.

'To come out and win our first game was exactly what we dreamed of and have worked towards,' Danson said.

Golden girl: Alex Danson (left) scored twice

Golden girl: Alex Danson (left) scored twice

'It was incredible to score. I can't believe I'm at home and my family are watching but if I'm completely honest I don't mind who scores, as long as we score one more than the opposition.

'We celebrate the goals because we have spent hours practising so when we score you get the feeling it is working.

'I guess it is different now because this is where we now want to be.

'I had a scare at the test event and it was more the feeling of not being part of something incredibly special which worried me.

'It is difficult to explain how it feels when I line-up with my team-mates because you just want to do so well for the next person.

'So the thought of not being part of that was most devastating. To be here is the greatest thing I could be given.'

London 2012 Olympics: Team GB women"s hockey beat Japan

Team GB 4 Japan 0: Danson double gets women's hockey gold campaign off to flyer

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UPDATED:

20:20 GMT, 29 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Striker Alex Danson was the star of the show with two goals as Great Britain's Olympic medal bid began with a comprehensive victory.

However, there was much more to the performance than the Reading forward's double as the confidence the team showed with their movement, incisive passing and direct running dispelled any fears of stage fright in front of an expectant near-16,000 capacity crowd.

An early goal undoubtedly helped, though, and after Danson struck in the seventh minute goals rained in, somewhat appropriately in the open-air arena which had seen several deluges during the day.

Bring it in: Team GB celebrate during their routine 4-0 victory over Japan

Bring it in: Team GB celebrate during their routine 4-0 victory over Japan

Efforts from Sarah Thomas, Sally Walton and Danson's second followed, while a clean sheet meant GB have still to concede a tournament goal on the blue pitch, this being their fifth outing on the 'Smurf Turf'.

The only downside were late injuries to captain Kate Walsh (face) and Helen Richardson (knee).

The last time Danson played a competitive match here she dislocated her shoulder in the final of the test event, which GB won, and briefly raised concerns about her fitness for the Olympics.

Show stopper: Alex Danson excelled with two well taken goals

Show stopper: Alex Danson excelled with two well taken goals

On this occasion it was Japan's defence that was pulled out of place as GB worked hard to find space high up the pitch in which to attack the circle.

And they did with one-way traffic in the first half as the hosts put in exactly the display the noisy crowd at the Riverbank Arena demanded.

Georgie Twigg set the early tone, firing over after a driving 30-yard run, before Danson got the party started.

Richardson's cross was miscontrolled by Miyuki Nakagawa and the Reading forward pounced, unleashing a trademark reverse-stick shot from close range.

Easy: Sarah Thomas (left) added to Danson's two goals

Easy: Sarah Thomas (left) added to Danson's two goals

After a brief scare when Masako Sato slapped a shot wide of goalkeeper Beth Storry's left-hand post, normal service was resumed when Thomas, the only Wales international in the squad, deflected in Hannah Macleod's cross for only her seventh goal in 128 internationals.

Moments later Sally Walton scooped in the third, her eighth in 112 caps, from close range after Walsh's penalty corner was saved and partially cleared only to be returned by Twigg.

The lively Danson capped a sparkling opening 35 minutes when Richardson's clever under-the-shoulder pass presented the opening eight yards out and she needed no second invitation to beat Sakiyo Asano.

A hat-trick was only inches away when another reverse-stick effort from a wide angle flew past the far post.

Class act: Danson lived up to the hype with a stellar performance

Class act: Danson lived up to the hype with a stellar performance

Midway through the second half Crista Cullen had a penalty corner saved and then later hit the post with a set-piece while Danson was denied again by Asano.

Late in the game Walsh was caught in the face with a full swing by Akane Shibata but, bloodied and unbowed, the captain declined the stretcher and walked off clutching her jaw.

Richardson was then carried off after a ball crashed into her left knee.

It was not the finish GB would have liked but nobody could argue about the promise shown by their start.

Lee Slattery leads Wales Open at Celtic Manor after first round

Slattery braves stiff winds to take lead at Celtic Manor just days after major bonus

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UPDATED:

18:54 GMT, 31 May 2012

England's Lee Slattery followed one great performance with another at Celtic Manor today.

Three days after shooting 66 at Walton Heath to earn himself a US Open debut, the 33-year-old from Southport took the first round lead in the ISPS Handa Wales Open with a four under par 67.

And if that does not sound special consider this – there were more than 20 scores in the eighties, one in the nineties and a handful of players could not keep a 10 off their cards. Gary Boyd even had two.

Fine form: Lee Slattery putts on the 14th green during the first round of the Wales Open on Thursday

Fine form: Lee Slattery putts on the 14th green during the first round of the Wales Open on Thursday

A stiff wind and fast-running conditions made life tough on the course where Europe beat America two years ago in a Ryder Cup remembered not just for its thrilling finish, but also its torrential rain.

Slattery had already made eight trips to the European Tour qualifying school by then, but his career turned around last October when, on his 183rd start, he captured the Madrid Masters – even with a double bogey seven on the final hole.

Now he is planning for a trip to San Francisco which will include not only his first-ever tournament there, but also a visit to Alcatraz and possibly the baseball game at which Rory McIlroy is throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

Great Scot: Paul Lawrie plays his second shot into the 16th green on the Twenty Ten course

Great Scot: Paul Lawrie plays his second shot into the 16th green on the Twenty Ten course

'I know Olympic Club is going to be difficult, but I'm really looking forward to it,' he said.

'It's more the atmosphere. I remember The Open at Hoylake (his only previous major was there in 2006) and I thrived on it.'

Slattery's round was not without its scary moments. He was an inch from going in the water on the short third and was relieved to find his ball in bounds at the 580-yard ninth.

The hole still cost him his only dropped shot, but he added: 'It was very difficult. The wind was stronger than anticipated and if you get round without a bogey it's an amazing achievement.'

Nobody did.

Scot Paul Lawrie, second on the Ryder Cup points table, needed to birdie two of his last three holes for a 74, the same as 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie, while his successor Jose Maria Olazabal took 76 and holder Alex Noren an 81 before withdrawing with back trouble.

Top grass: Johan Edfors of Sweden plays his second shot into the 14th green at Celtic Manor

Top grass: Johan Edfors of Sweden plays his second shot into the 14th green at Celtic Manor

Slattery finished the day one ahead of German Marcel Siem and Dutchman Tim Sluiter.

While Sluiter closed with four successive birdies Siem bogeyed his last two holes on the same lay-out where he led by three with a round to play two years ago and then fell away after a quadruple bogey seven on the third.

Only four members of the victorious 2010 side are in the field. Ross Fisher, who has dropped to 157th in the world since that memorable week, did best with a 70.

Miguel Angel Jimenez took a double-bogey seven on the last for 76 and Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari were 74 and 77 respectively.

The others to break 70 were Spanish duo Pablo Larrazabal and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Ireland's Simon Thornton and Swede Joel Sjoholm.

Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal hoping for US Open qualification at Walton Heath

Old-timers still swinging as Monty and Olazabal go for US Open qualification

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UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 26 May 2012

Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal, Ryder Cup captains past and present, are part of the field for Monday's 36-hole US Open qualifying tournament at Walton Heath.

Old guard: 2011 was the first time Colin Montgomerie did not appear in a major tournament since 1989

Old guard: 2011 was the first time Colin Montgomerie did not appear in a major tournament since 1989

Last year was the first time Montgomerie did not play in any of the majors since 1989, but the 48-year-old has not given up trying yet.

The eight-time European number one, whose five runners-up finishes are a record for someone who has never won a major, is also entered for the Open Championship qualifier at Sunningdale on June 25.

Montgomerie, now 398th in the world, has not played in the US Open since 2008 and failed to come through the qualifier the last two seasons.

Still swinging: Jose Maria Olazabal had not played in the US Open since 2008

Still swinging: Jose Maria Olazabal had not played in the US Open since 2008

Olazabal's last US Open was 2007 and his last attempt to qualify three years ago.

Just over 100 players are in the Walton Heath line-up, although this usually comes down with late withdrawals, and around 12 spots for the Olympic Club in San Francisco – a course on which Montgomerie was heckled in 1998 – are expected to be available.

Golf: James Morrison fires brilliant 64 at Wentworth

Morrison fires brilliant 64 at Wentworth… and then reveals he won't go to US Open if he qualifies

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UPDATED:

15:02 GMT, 25 May 2012

James Morrison will be turning down a place in next month's US Open if he wins the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday.

Morrison, out in front after a magical second round 64 at Wentworth, is due to become a father for the first time in two weeks.

In the swing: James Morrison tees off on the third hole on Friday

In the swing: James Morrison tees off on the third hole on Friday

The winner of the European Tour's flagship event becomes eligible for the second major of the season in San Francisco on June 14-17, but the 27-year-old said: 'I wouldn't go unfortunately – as hard as it would be to turn it down.

'I don't want to think what would happen if I went. Divorce comes to mind.'

Morrison played at Pebble Beach two years ago after winning the qualifying event at Walton Heath. That takes place again this Monday, but he has not entered.

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie is another who will not be at the Olympic Club.

He was eligible through the world's top 60, but decided not to enter because he does not think it will help his bid for a return to the Ryder Cup side after a gap of 13 years.

Brighton fined 15,000 for protesting against Southampton

Brighton cop 15,000 fine for failing to control players against Southampton

Rage: Marcos Painter makes his point

Rage: Marcos Painter makes his point

Brighton have been hit with a 15,000 fine from the Football Association for failing to control their players in the npower Championship match against Southampton at St Mary”s last month.

The Seagulls players were angry with referee Peter Walton”s decision to award Southampton a penalty for Lewis Dunk”s challenge on Jose Fonte, which replays showed had occurred outside the area.

Mauricio Taricco, Albion”s player/assistant manager, was sent off for dissent as he led the protests and the 10 men went on to lose the match 3-0.

An FA statement read: “Brighton and Hove Albion have been fined 15,000 and severely censured for failing toensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.

“Theincident occurred during the club”s match at Southampton on 19 November2011. Brighton had denied the charge and requested a personal hearing.”