London 2012: Olympic sport this week

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish makes his first appearance of 2012 in Doha on Sunday

MAJOR EVENTS THIS WEEK

HOCKEY - Women's Champions Trophy, Argentina (28 Jan - 5 Feb); the last ranking event before the Olympics features eight nations, including Great Britain. The GB women conclude their group matches against China at 1800 GMT on Tuesday 31 January, which will determine their seeding for the quarter-finals on Thursday 2 February. Live coverage of GB's matches on the BBC's red button.

BADMINTON - English National Championships, Bolton Arena (3-5 February); several GB Olympic hopefuls are competing, including Rajiv Ouseph, who is bidding for a record fifth consecutive men's singles title. Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Robertson are defending their mixed doubles title. Follow Rajiv Ouseph on Twitter.

JUDO - Paris Grand Slam (4-5 Feb); Great Britain is sending a team of seven to Paris for the highest point-scoring event before the Olympics. Among GB's medal hopefuls is Euan Burton, who recently made the podium at the World Masters in Kazakhstan, and Sophie Cox, the reigning European bronze medallist. Follow Euan Burton on Twitter.

CYCLING - Tour of Qatar (5-10 Feb); Mark Cavendish makes his first appearance of 2012 in this six-stage event in Doha. The world champion, a winner of two stages at the event in 2009, will be making his debut for Team Sky. Follow Mark Cavendish on Twitter.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

World 5,000m champion Mo Farah laps up the plaudits after a superb performance in Glasgow, Britain's Crista Cullen gives the world's top-ranked nation some stick in the Champions Trophy, British sailors rule the waves at the World Cup regatta in Miami, and tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal serve up a classic in the Australian Open final.

ATHLETICS

Mo Farah was lauded as "a complete athlete" by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee after the world 5000m champion began his competitive countdown to the Olympics with a thrilling triumph in the 1500m in Glasgow.

Farah set an indoor personal best of 3 min 39.03 sec to hold off one of the world's best milers, Augustine Choge, at Kelvin Hall.

It was one of seven home victories as Britain finished top in the five-way match against Russia, Germany, the United States and a Commonwealth Select team.

Other notable performances came from unheralded Welshman Joe Thomas in the 800m and Jeanette Kwakye in the 60m, but world bronze medallist Andy Turner finished last in his 60m hurdles race and will see a specialist about a recurring Achilles problem.

HOCKEY

Crista Cullen
Crista Cullen rescued Great Britain

Crista Cullen scored from two penalty corners as Great Britain's women fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw with Olympic gold medallists Holland in the Champions Trophy in Argentina.

Goals from Naomi van As and Kim Lammers had put the world number one Dutch side in control at half time, but Cullen's strikes kept Britain top of their pool with one group game left.

They take on China on Tuesday at 1800 GMT.

SAILING

Three of the British sailing teams selected for the Olympics have won gold at the Miami World Cup regatta.

Windsurfer Nick Dempsey, Paul Goodison in the Laser and the women's match racing trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor all triumphed in the second regatta of the seven-leg series.

There was also a silver for Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the 470 class as the British team earned eight medals overall.

TENNIS

World number one Novak Djokovic described his historic Australian Open win against Rafa Nadal as the greatest moment of his career.

Djokovic beat 10-time Grand Slam winner Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 in an epic five-setter that went five hours and 53 minutes, the longest Grand Slam final of all time.

In the women's final, 22-year-old Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-0 to secure her maiden Grand Slam title and the world number one spot.

CYCLING

World sprint champion Jason Kenny defeated Team GB team-mates Sir Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton to win the individual sprint at the Revolution Series.

Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny
Chris Hoy (left) and Jason Kenny

Kenny comfortably beat Hoy in their semi-final at the National Cycling Centre and then overcame Crampton with a race to spare in the final.

Hoy admits he must work on his tactical awareness to bolster his chances of beating Kenny to the only Olympic place available in the sprint.

ROWING

Olympic and world champion Mark Hunter has been named British rowing's Olympic athlete of the year for 2011.

The east Londoner won gold with lightweight double scull partner Zac Purchase at last year's World Championships in Slovenia.

WATER POLO

Great Britain's women ended their losing streak at the European Championships with a 13-11 overtime win against Germany in the 7th/8th place play-off last week.

Both teams had lost all three of their group matches, but Great Britain scored three goals without reply in the first period of overtime to establish a winning lead. London Penguins' Frankie Snell scored four times overall.

Serbia won the gold medal by beating Montenegro 9-8 in the final in Eindhoven.

HANDBALL

Denmark won the European title by beating hosts Serbia 21-19 on Sunday to clinch the only automatic berth for the 2012 Olympics.

Serbia will enter a qualifying tournament in April to decide additional places at the Games.

EQUESTRIAN

Charlotte Dujardin
Charlotte Dujardin won silver in Florida

Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin began her Olympic year by just missing out on the World Dressage Masters freestyle title in Florida.

The USA's Steffen Peters, on Ravel, edged out Dujardin and her horse Valegro.

Another Briton, Carl Hester, was fourth on Wie Atlantico.

OTHER NEWS

The 2012 Olympic opening ceremony will be called Isles of Wonder - a term inspired by Caliban's speech in Shakespeare's The Tempest, which begins with the line: "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises."

The quote will be inscribed on the biggest ringing bell in Europe, which will hang at one end of the stadium and ring to mark the opening of the Games.

London 2012 organisers have revealed that one of the best vantage points to watch the Olympic road race will have an increased capacity of up to 15,000.

The initial plans were to provide space for only 3,500 spectators at Box Hill. but that prompted criticism from British Cycling and riders such as gold-medal contender Mark Cavendish.

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