Roswell is golden girl but Kenny settles for silver again

Roswell, who won a team pursuit gold at London 2012, beat Australian Annette Edmondson by more than three seconds with a time of three minutes 31.

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615 seconds.

The 26-year-old Kenny, a triple Olympic sprint champion, lost 2-1 in the three-race final to the powerful New Zealander Sam Webster in a cat and mouse race at the Chris Hoy Velodrome.

It was his second Games silver, the other coming in the team pursuit on Thursday.

“It’s difficult for anything to surpass the London 2012 Games,” individual pursuit world champion Roswell told Reuters.

“But this is really special because it was an individual medal which I didn’t have a chance to do at the Olympics after the event was taken out after Beijing 2008.”

The 25-year-old also set a new Games record with a ride of three minutes 29.038 seconds on her way to the final.

“To do a new Games record on this track is absolutely incredible,” said Roswell.

“It’s a new personal best for me by over a second and to go sub 3:30 is quite a nice psychological barrier to break especially in qualifying because you know you’ve got that gap over everybody else.”

Roswell goes in search of another gold medal in the 10-km scratch race final on Saturday.

Home favourite Katie Archibald narrowly missed out on the bronze for Scotland, losing out to Australia’s Amy Cure.

Cure’s compatriots, Jack Bobridge and world champion Alex Edmondson, were involved in a duel for the 4,000 pursuit and it was the former who snatched gold.

Bobridge came out of retirement to be at the Games and his decision was vindicated, retaining the title he won in Delhi in 2010.

Marc Ryan of New Zealand took bronze.

(Editing by Tony Goodson)

Team triathlon makes Games debut

Australia’s motivation to introduce triathlon into the Commonwealth Games in 2006 was pretty transparent.

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But the medals have dried up for the Australians and the sport now gives its new superpower England another chance to claim more gold when team triathlon makes its Commonwealth Games debut on Saturday.

After Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonny took gold and silver in the men’s event on Thursday and Jodie Stimpson and Vicky Holland claimed gold and bronze in the women’s, England are near certainties for more success at Strathclyde Park.

While the Brownlee brothers are likely to combine for gold for England, not all families will be fighting for the same cause on Saturday.

Scotland’s flag bearer and judo champ Euan Burton is a strong chance in the -100kg category in his farewell Games, but his wife Gemma Gibbons is also fighting on Saturday, for England.

Love is deeper than patriotism, though, even for a Scot opposed to England.

“I’ll still be cheering on my wife, though,” Burton said.

Burton’s nana, however, is in two minds. She was originally right behind her grandson’s wife, until she found out she’d be representing England.

At the swimming pool, Scotland’s surprise day one success Ross Murdoch is out to add the men’s 100m breaststroke to his 200m title, but will face South Africa’s world record holder and Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh.

“I watched the 200m last night and that was a good race by Murdoch. I definitely have to watch out for him in the final,” van der Burgh said.

The 19-year-old Murdoch says he’s still on a high after his gold medal on Thursday night.

“I just want to try and ride that for the rest of the week,” he said.

Australia’s Cate Campbell aims for more gold in the 50m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay two days after leading her team to a world record time in the 4x100m.

Of the 29 gold medals on offer on Saturday, four will be decided at the velodrome, including the blue ribbon men’s 1000m time trial.

Five gold medals will be contested at the shooting range in Carnoustie and five in judo.

Co-owner hopes attacking style will end West Ham tears

However, his vision for a more attacking style of play in the future has been dealt a blow with the board seemingly at loggerheads with manager Sam Allardyce over the future of talented but temperamental midfielder Ravel Morrison.

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“There were games last season where I had tears in my eyes. It just wasn’t good enough,” Sullivan said in an interview with Talksport radio.

“We told the manager we want a more attacking form of football but at the same time the manager has to pick the team. It’s his decision what he does.”

West Ham, who finished in mid-table after fighting against relegation from the Premier League for most of last season, appear to be entering a pivotal period in their preparations for the new campaign.

Sullivan, who jointly owns the club with David Gold, wants Morrison to stay at Upton Park even though Allardyce has said he is open to selling the former Manchester United player.

“Sam has said Ravel is not part of his plans but we – as a board – see him as part of our plans,” he explained.

“We would like to sit down and give him a longer contract…but we have to agree it with the manager because there’s no point signing a player he’s not going to play.”

Sullivan believes Allardyce is willing to try to accommodate the vision for a more attacking style of play.

“We only would [consider sacking the manager] if Sam was unreceptive towards what we saw was the future in terms of attacking a bit more, bringing in new players and us being involved a bit more with the transfers,” he added.

“We think what we’ve bought (recently) is better value for money and at least we’ve got some more lottery tickets that could turn into jackpots.”

Among West Ham’s new recruits are striker Mauro Zarate, midfielders Diego Poyet and Cheikhou Kouyate and defender Aaron Cresswell.

(Reporting by Tom Hayward, editing by Tony Jimenez)

GG visits MH17 shrine at Schiphol

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove has added a wreath to a makeshift MH17 shrine at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, telling of the gratitude the loved ones of Australia’s victims felt for the respect now being afforded to the victims.

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Sir Peter travelled to Eindhoven in The Netherlands to take part in the ramp ceremony on Wednesday for the first 40 bodies recovered from rebel-held eastern Ukraine, where the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down just over a week ago.

He said another 74 victims had arrived in The Netherlands on Thursday, and more were expected on Friday.

Looking around at the flowers and notes at the shrine, Sir Peter said: “It all says that we join with the international community in our great sorrow that this event that started with a flight from Schiphol has bought about a modern tragedy.”

Sir Peter said he had begun telephoning the families and loved ones of each of the 38 Australian residents killed in the tragedy, passing on his impressions of the ramp ceremony along with his condolences.

He said he told the families “what a beautifully conducted, dignified and affectionate ceremony” it had been, adding that thousands of people had lined the route the hearses took from Eindhoven, paying their own respects.

“It didn’t matter who they were, the Dutch will mourn them along with everyone else,” he said.

Sir Peter said he’d conveyed the gratitude of Australian families touched by the tragedy to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

“One of the points that the loved ones in Australia invariably wanted me to convey was their great gratitude to the Dutch authorities, to the people of The Netherlands, for the way they have afforded those returning bodies the respect the victims were denied in the taking of their lives.”

The long task of victim identification has begun in Holland, while retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston is still in Kiev and other Australians are now at the crash site.

“I’ve got to continue my process now of calling those loved ones. They’ve all been tremendous on the telephone, very brave, receiving great support, but they are devastated.”

Podium places to be decided in final time trial

The 54-km solo effort against the clock between Bergerac and Perigueux should be won by German Tony Martin, triple world champion in the discipline, but most eyes will be on a couple of Frenchmen and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde.

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Italian Vincenzo Nibali is expected to wrap up the Tour title as he leads Thibaut Pinot by 7:10 – a virtually unassailable lead if the Astana rider avoids crashes on a straightforward course.

“There are no risks to be taken but I will honour the yellow jersey, the Tour, my team mates and ride it like a leader,” Nibali told reporters.

Pinot, who is not a time trial specialist but has dramatically improved in the discipline this season, holds a 13-second lead over compatriot Jean-Christophe Peraud while Valverde lies fourth overall, two seconds further back.

French FDJ.fr rider Pinot could drop to fourth while Peraud and Valverde, who both have national time trial titles, may be battling for second.

“Pinot has really improved a lot in time trials. Many will be surprised,” Andy Flickinger, a sports director at French rival team Europcar, told Reuters.

FDJ.fr sports director Yvon Madiot also told Reuters: “He’s as fresh as them. He was one of the easiest in the climb (to Hautacam in the last mountain stage on Thursday).

“He spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel, a lot of time on his time trial bike at home. I know that he has been doing time trial simulations.

“Maybe we’re going to be disappointed tomorrow but I believe he will do it.”

There are no categorised climbs on the course but it does feature a few bumps – which will suit Pinot, Valverde and Peraud.

NOTHING GRANTED

Valverde’s Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzue is hopeful his protege will secure a podium finish in Paris.

“I’m very confident for Alejandro. I know it is not going to be easy, Jean-Christophe is also a time trial specialist,” said the Spaniard.

“Pinot, given his form, should do a good time trial but I’m very confident.”

Questions were raised over Valverde’s form as the 35-year-old appeared to struggle in the Pyrenees but Unzue dismissed them.

“Physically Alejandro’s there. He’s been good. It’s just that on this Tour he has been less of a climber than the others but he lost only a few seconds,” he said.

“The reality is that the general classification reflects the regularity of the riders and today the reality is that there are 15 seconds between the second and the fourth-placed rider.”

A final grand tour time trial is decided at least as much on freshness than skills after three weeks of demanding racing.

“It’s a very important time trial. I will need to have good legs to be on the podium,” said Pinot.

Peraud, who crashed in the finale of Friday’s 19th stage but said he was fine, has been inconsistent in time trials this season and although he may be the strongest of the trio, he knows all too well that nothing should be taken for granted.

Last year the AG2R-La Mondiale rider crashed in the final time trial between Embrun and Chorges.

“We’re going to check it in a car to know what to expect,” the 37-year-old said. “And then rest.”

(Editing by Tony Goodson)

Reinvigorated Venus falls just short in champions battle

A match-up between two of the best exponents of grasscourt tennis always looked like being a classic and it lived up to expectation as 2011 champion Kvitova edged it 5-7 7-6(2) 7-5.

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With her last Wimbledon title in 2008 fading into the past, the 34-year-old Williams may be in the twilight of her glittering career but after injury and illness robbed her of some of her powers in recent years, she appears reinvigorated.

Friday’s match would have graced a final, let alone a third round match, such was the level achieved by both players.

“The battle is always a little more enjoyable when you win,” Williams, playing her 63rd grand slam,” told reporters.

“When you lose, there’s so much more to learn from the situation. I think, just for me to be able to play that well having really not played hardly any matches is good. I think I’ll just keep improving.

“People have been trying to retire me since I was like 25. For some reason in tennis we always do that to our players. It’s weird,” she added.

Williams was bidding to reach the last-16 for the first time since 2011 and executed some majestic tennis during a first set in which both players exchanged plenty of heavy metal.

Thundering down first serves reaching nearly 120mph (193kph) and clubbing the ball off the ground, Williams kept her nose in front throughout an absorbing first set in which the sound of racket on ball rumbled around the arena.

Despite being 10 years younger than her lithe opponent, powerful left hander Kvitova was the first to feel the pace and was broken to love in the 12th game.

“BIG CHAMPION”

Kvitova stood her ground as the second set followed a similar pattern to the first with serves dominating but she came alive in the tiebreak to streak ahead and levelled the match when Williams served a double fault.

Williams, who was world number one 12 years ago and in 17 Wimbledons has racked up 73 match wins, the most of any active player, could make no impression on Kvitova’s serve in the decider but still held firm until the bitter end.

Serving at 5-6, however, she slipped 15-40 behind and Kvitova seized her chance to move through.

The Czech was full of praise for her opponent and believes she can still add to her 45 singles titles.

“She’s a huge player, big champion. So we all have respect for her, definitely,” she said.

“I think if she going to be healthy and play some matches and everything like that, she can do it.”

As well as partnering sister Serena in the doubles, with the pair chasing a sixth title here, Venus said she will now be throwing her weight behind her sibling’s attempt to win a sixth singles title at the All England Club.

“I’m fighting with her,” she said. “I’m in the stand rocking back and forth, almost hitting the ball. I’m pretty much right there with her fighting.”

Top seed Serena faces Alize Cornet in the third round.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Cats hang on for big AFL win

Steven Motlop’s brilliance has proved the difference as Geelong rallied in the last term for a pulsating nine-point AFL win over Essendon.

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Motlop kicked two outstanding last-quarter goals in the 13.11 (89) to 11.14 (80) win on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

The agonising loss capped a tough day for Essendon, who were in the Federal Court on Friday morning to start their legal proceedings against ASADA.

There were four lead changes in the final term before Motlop sharked the pack brilliantly and put his team ahead.

Tom Hawkins then kicked his third goal seconds before the final siren.

Motlop looked as though his night might be over when he limped from the field after a fierce tackle from Courtenay Dempsey early in the last term.

But he quickly returned to the field and midway through the term evaded three Essendon opponents to kick a miraculous goal.

Geelong remain far from their best, but have again defied speculation that their golden era is coming to an end.

There was much pre-much focus on Essendon’s Paul Chapman, who was playing against his old club for the first time.

But none of the expected fireworks happened and Jed Bews held Chapman to only 11 possessions and no goals.

Motlop, Jimmy Bartel, Mitch Duncan and Joel Selwood were best for Geelong, while Essendon’s Dyson Heppell racked up 40 possessions and was crucial in their second-half revival.

The first half belonged to Geelong, who took the initiative by kicking the opening two goals.

With Hawkins marking strongly and fellow key forward Shane Kersten also looking dangerous, the Cats broke out to a 22-point lead.

Crucially, Geelong were on top in contested possessions – a prime area of concern for coach Chris Scott.

Selwood, who looked as though he was nursing a sore quad, went forward and kicked two goals in the second term.

The Cats extended their margin to 28 points at the long break and looked ready to put Essendon to the sword.

But Geelong have only won three seconds halves this season, a statistic Essendon undoubtedly would have noticed.

Playing with much more dash and confidence, the Bombers dominated from the start of the third quarter.

They kicked 5.5 to only two behinds and amazingly had a four-point lead at three-quarter time.

Adding to Geelong’s concerns, key defender Harry Taylor was forced off in the third term with a knock to the head.

Taylor was able to return to the game in the last quarter.

Geelong coach Chris Scott praised his team for being able to weather Essendon’s third-term comeback and then rally for a vital win.

“One thing I know about our guys is they don’t give up,” he said.

“The momentum can turn a little bit against them – and there are some things we need to fix when that happens.

“But I was pretty confident at three-quarter time.

“I knew we didn’t have any players who would throw in the towel.”

Just as Scott praised his team’s spirit, Essendon coach Mark Thompson cursed another lost opportunity.

The loss leaves the Bombers potentially two games outside the top eight and facing a massive away match next Saturday night against top side Port Adelaide.

It was almost a carbon copy of the round-two loss to Hawthorn – a poor first half, great fightback and then an inability to close out the tight last quarter.

Essendon also lost to Melbourne by a point a fortnight ago.

“We’re full of anger and disappointment … it’s pretty tough,” Thompson said.

“It was hard work to get back into the game, hard work to get in front and then it seemed relatively easy to lose it … shit happens.”

Thompson had sympathy for Chapman’s quiet night, saying it’s hard to players to go up against their old club.

The Bombers coach also dismissed Friday’s court action as a factor.

The proceedings were televised, but Thompson said the only TV his players watched before the game was the NBA draft.

Researchers ‘slow motor neurone disease’

Japanese stemcell scientists have succeeded in slowing the deterioration of mice with motor neurone disease, possibly paving the way for eventual human treatment, according to a new paper.

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A team of researchers from the Kyoto University and Keio University transplanted specially created cells into mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s, or motor neurone disease.

The progress of the creatures’ neurological degeneration was slowed by almost eight per cent, according to the paper, which was published Thursday in the scholarly journal Stem Cell Reports.

ALS is a disorder of motor neurones – nerves that control movement – leading to the loss of the ability to control muscles and their eventual atrophy.

While it frequently has no effect on cognitive function, it progresses to affect most of the muscles in the body, including those used to eat and breathe.

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been almost completely paralysed by the condition.

In their study, the Japanese team used human “iPS” – induced pluripotent stem cells, building-block cells akin to those found in embryos, which have the potential to turn into any cell in the body.

From the iPS cells they created special progenitor cells and transplanted them into the lumbar spinal cord of ALS mice.

Animals that had been implanted lived 7.8 per cent longer than the control group without the procedure, the paper said.

“The results demonstrated the efficacy of cell therapy for ALS by the use of human iPSCs (human induced pluripotent stem cells) as cell source,” the team said in the paper.

The Japanese government has been heavily pushing research using iPS, which were developed by Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel prize winner.

They have been heralded as a huge breakthrough because their creation does not necessitate the destruction of an embryo, normally the price paid to harvest stem cells.

Their development over recent years has been seen as a big step forward in the field of regenerative medicine, with some suggesting they may one day offer the possibility of a supply of organs for transplant.

U.S. swim star Van Dyken back in pool to battle paralysis

But Van Dyken, one of the most decorated Olympic swimmers of all time, is still struggling to train herself to adjust to everyday activities with her injuries, she said in an interview that aired Friday on NBC’s “Today” programme.

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Going into the pool was “the first time I felt … normal,” she said. “I was sculling and my legs were dragging behind, which they normally would, and it was really cool in the pool. It was awesome.”

Speaking from the Englewood, Colorado hospital where she has been undergoing intense physical therapy since she severed her spine in the accident earlier this month, Van Dyken, 41, said everything about her new regimen was difficult.

“They teach you everyday life – how to sit down in an aeroplane seat, how to sit down in a car,” she said. “It’s very hard. It’s a lot of work.”

Still, the six-time Olympic gold medallist said she was determined to meet a new goal while at Craig Hospital, a suburban Denver facility that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries and is near her family.

“My ultimate goal is in August to walk out of here,” van Dyken said, sitting alongside her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, for the interview. “Right now, I suck at getting out of my chair.”

She said she worked on her rehabilitation for seven hours a day, not unlike the gruelling hours she put in as an Olympic athlete.

Calling herself lucky, she said she only felt pain at the incision site.

She said she did not have time to dwell on her paralysis and was focussed on getting stronger after the accident, which took place near her Arizona home.

“This is more than just for a gold medal,” she said. “This is for my life, our life.”

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Dimitrov looks to banish unwanted ‘Baby Fed’ tag

The Bulgarian was handed the ‘Baby Fed’ tag because he is similar in playing style to seven-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and has also been labelled ‘Mr Sharapova’ due to his off-court relationship with French Open champion Maria.

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However, after using up every ounce of effort to down dangerous Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (3) 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 in the third round on Friday, Dimitrov said it was time to be known for his tennis performances alone.

“I think I’ve grown through all the nicknames by now,” he told reporters. “It’s time for everyone to kind of come up with something better.

“I think all those things are starting to fade away. I’m proving myself not only as a player but as a person outside of the court so to me that’s much more valuable,” said Dimitrov.

“I want to create my own legend, my own trademarks.”

After losing the first set on a tiebreak, Dimitrov rallied in the second but his opponent, who has never gone past the third round at Wimbledon, produced a crunching forehand to seal the third.

The 23-year-old levelled in the fourth set before Dolgopolov capitulated in the fifth as the Bulgarian reeled off six straight games.

“It was a good fight throughout the match,” said Dimitrov who claimed his fourth career title and his first on grass at the prestigious Queen’s Club event in London earlier this month.

“Alex is a tricky opponent. My game wasn’t at the best level today.

“The only thing I could do was just stay in the match and fight with every chance I had.”

Dimitrov, the first Bulgarian male to reach the fourth round, plays Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the last 16 – an opponent he has never played before.

“I haven’t seen any of him,” he said. “The one thing is I’m not planning on underestimating my opponent, whoever I’m playing.

“I’m focused only on my game and how I’m going to bounce back from that match today.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)