London 2012: Olympic sport this week

World Cup sailing
Sailing's ISAF World Cup comes to Miami

MAJOR EVENTS THIS WEEK

HOCKEY - FIH Champions Trophy, Argentina (28 Jan - 5 Feb); the last ranking event before the Olympics features eight nations, including Great Britain. The GB women are in Group A with China, Japan and the Netherlands. Live coverage of GB's opening match against Japan on the BBC's red button at 1800GMT on Saturday.

SAILING - Miami World Cup Regatta (22-28 Jan); the second of seven ISAF World Cup regattas features 529 sailors from 41 countries. The newly-selected 470 men's pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell are among the 24 Team GBR sailors competing. Follow GB women's 470 team of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark on Twitter.

HANDBALL - Men's European Championships, Serbia (15-29 Jan); 16 teams (not Great Britain) are competing in Serbia, with a place at London 2012 awarded to the winners. World champions France - who have already booked an Olympic place - are among those competing but have it all to do after losing their first two group games last week.

TENNIS - Australian Open, Melbourne (16-29 Jan); the first major of 2012 sees Great Britain's Andy Murray hoping to make it third time lucky, having lost in the last two Australian Open finals. Live commentary on Five Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website; live coverage of one men's semi-final and both singles final on BBC TV/Five Live/BBC Sport website.

WATER POLO - European Championships, Eindhoven, Netherlands (16-29 Jan); Great Britain's women are competing at the Euros for the first time since 1997 but cannot finish among the medals after suffering three defeats last week. The men's tournament features world champions Italy and Olympic champions Hungary, although GB's men have not qualified. Follow British Water Polo on Twitter for updates.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Bleasdale soars to new heights in Lyon; Britain stun world hockey champions in Argentina; despair for GB rhythmic gymnasts; and USA's basketball superstars are London-bound.

ATHLETICS

Pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale smashed her own British indoor record and moved to second on the all-time world list with a clearance of 4.87m in Lyon.

Holly Bleasdale
Olympic medal prospect Holly Bleasdale

The 20-year-old cleared 4.87m at the third attempt to win the event and top the world rankings.

Only world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva (5.01m) has gone higher indoors in the history of the sport.

There was also an excellent performance for British high jumper Robbie Grabarz, who set a lifetime best of 2.34m at a meeting in Germany.

HOCKEY

Great Britain's women warmed up for this week's Champions Trophy by reaching the final of the Cordoba Four Nations in Argentina.

And despite suffering a 3-2 defeat against South Korea in that final, they go into this week's tournament full of confidence.

The highlight was undoubtedly a 2-0 win over world champions and hosts Argentina, with goals from Leicester duo Kerry Williams and Crista Cullen.

Cullen - who boasts over 150 international caps - scored in three of GB's four matches.

GYMNASTICS

Britain's rhythmic gymnastics team will not go to the Olympics having missed the mark required to prove they are good enough to compete at London 2012.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Tearful gymnasts' Olympic dream ends

GB fell 0.273 marks short of the 45.223 target set by their governing body. An appeal to raise that score was rejected.

The squad were aiming to be the first ever to compete for Britain in the rhythmic gymnastics group event.

There should be some British representation at London 2012 though - Francesca Jones is expected to compete in the individual rhythmic event.

WATER POLO

Great Britain's women gave Olympic champions the Netherlands a scare before losing 12-6 in their final group game at the European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven.

Ciara Gibson-Byrne opened the scoring with a delicate lob after 21 seconds and a shock looked to be a possibility when Szilveszter Fekete's team led 3-1 early in the second quarter.

But the hosts, inspired by the tournament's leading scorer Iefke van Belkum, came back strongly to justify their tag as one of the favourites for gold in London.

Great Britain finished bottom of Group A after losing all three matches and will play off for 7th/8th place with Germany on Tuesday.

BADMINTON

Britain's Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork won the mixed doubles title at the Swedish International in Stockholm to boost their Olympic qualifying hopes.

Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Robertson
Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Robertson have made a strong start to 2012

The Commonwealth silver medallists overcame Denmark's Mads Pieler Kolding and Julie Houmann 21-17 21-17.

Robertson and Wallwork expect to move up from 22nd in the world rankings as they chase Anglo-Scottish rivals Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, who lost in the semi-finals.

Only the highest-ranked British pair are guaranteed a place at this summer's Olympic Games in London, unless the second-ranked duo are also in the world's top eight.

BASKETBALL

NBA superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have been named in the United States' initial 20-man squad for the London Olympics.

Kobe Bryant
Bryant will be hoping to add to his gold medal from Beijing

The US have picked eight players who won gold in Beijing in 2008 - their 13th men's Olympic title.

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams also return having played in the 2008 squad.

The United States are due to play a number of warm-up games ahead of the Olympics, including a friendly against Great Britain in Manchester in July.

EQUESTRIAN

William Fox-Pitt's World Equestrian Games double medal-winning horse Cool Mountain is out of contention for London 2012.

William Fox-Pitt on Cool Mountain
Fox-Pitt on Cool Mountain - the pair will not be teaming up at London 2012

Fox-Pitt, who has competed at three Olympic Games, has confirmed that Cool Mountain will take the year off after suffering a tendon injury last season.

The rider does have other elite standard horses in competition.

He won the 2011 Burghley Horse Trials on Parklane Hawk, and rode Oslo to success at the Stars of Pau event.

ARCHERY

Britain's Naomi Folkard just missed out on a medal at the Nimes International tournament in France, finishing fourth in a high-class women's recurve event.

It was an encouraging showing from Folkard, who lost out to Ksenia Perova of Russia in the bronze medal match.

GB Paralympian Dani Brown won a magnificent gold in the women's compound event to show she's not just the world's best Paralympic female compound archer, but one of the best in the world overall.

The compound event is not an Olympic discipline but it features at the Paralympics, where Brown will be targeting gold.

OTHER NEWS

Reigning Olympic triple jump champion Nelson Evora will miss the London 2012 Games due to a recurrence of a stress fracture of his shinbone.

Evora and Idowu
Phillips Idowu and rival Nelson Evora of Portugal, who will miss London 2012

Britain's Phillips Idowu wished his rival a speedy recovery and said: "Nelson Evora's injury is in no way good news for me. I want to compete and win against the best."

Meanwhile, one of Mo Farah's main rivals, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, is free to compete again after the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) lifted a ban it dished out for not attending a mandatory training camp.

The Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion was one of 34 Ethiopian athletes handed a suspension.

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