London 2012: Olympic sport this week

Louis Smith
Louis Smith is key to Team GB's chances of qualifying for London 2012 this week

MAJOR EVENTS THIS WEEK

GYMNASTICS - Visa International Gymnastics, O2 Arena, London (10-18 Jan); a London 2012 test event of huge importance for Great Britain's men, who are bidding for Olympic qualification after failing to finish in the top eight at October's World Championships in Tokyo. The teams who finished ninth to 16th in Japan will battle it out for four remaining team slots at the Games. Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra plus regular updates from Ollie Williams on Twitter.

BADMINTON - Malaysia Open (10-15 Jan); the second Superseries event of the new season. There's an all-British meeting in the opening round of the mixed doubles, with Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock drawn against Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Robertson. Follow Jenny Wallwork and Imogen Bankier on Twitter.

CYCLING - UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Beijing (13-15 Jan);Great Britain is sending a relatively inexperienced team for the latest leg in China, including four debutants.

YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES, Innsbruck, Austria (13-22 January); the inaugural Youth Winter Olympics features a 24-strong Great Britain squad aged between 14 and 18. Over 60 nations are being represented.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Sailing names latest Team GB members; Bauge stripped of cycling world titles; rare failure for Bekele in Edinburgh; and Adcock & Bankier stun badminton world champions.

SAILING

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell have been named as Britain's men's 470 team for the 2012 Olympic sailing regatta in Portland and Weymouth.

Scotland's Patience and Rochdale's Bithell - who have been competing together since 2009 - clinched silver at last month's World Championships in Perth to effectively secure their spots.

The pair, both 25, join sailors in seven other classes who have already been selected.

That leaves just the men's 49er class and women's Laser Radial to be decided, although contenders may have to wait until May.

In Olympic sailing, a nation may only enter one boat per class, making selection highly competitive.

CYCLING

French track cyclist Gregory Bauge has been stripped of his individual sprint world gold medal as a result of drug test infringements, leading to Britain's Jason Kenny winning his first world title.

Highlights - Bauge beats Kenny to sprint gold

Kenny had finished second to Bauge at the event in Holland last March. Sir Chris Hoy is promoted from bronze to silver medallist.

France have also been stripped of the team sprint world title due to Bauge's involvement, with Germany upgraded to gold, Great Britain to silver and Australia promoted to bronze.

The French Cycling Federation suspended Bauge for a 12-month period - backdated to 23 December 2010 - as a result of one missed test in 18 months and for violating rules regarding drug testing availability.

The backdated suspension means Bauge is clear to compete at London 2012.

TENNIS

Britain's Andy Murray enjoyed the perfect preparation for the Australian Open by winning the Brisbane International with a comfortable victory over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Andy Murray
Murray gets 2012 off to the perfect start with victory in Brisbane

In his final event before the year's first Grand Slam, Murray dominated from the off to beat the third seed 6-1 6-3.

He won nine straight games from 1-1 in the first set and, although Dolgopolov rallied, easily wrapped up the title.

Murray has been seeded fourth for the Australian Open which begins on Monday, 16 January.

ATHLETICS

Kenya's world and Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop won the men's 3km event at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country race.

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Kiprop wins men's 3km in Edinburgh

He finished five seconds ahead of Britain's surprise silver medallist Jonny Hay, 19, who enjoyed a memorable senior debut.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion regarded as the biggest rival to Britain's Mo Farah at London 2012, finished 11th - the first time he has finished outside the top 10 in any race since 2001.

Ireland's European cross country champion Fionnuala Britton won the women's 6km race in 21.32 ahead of Britain's Gemma Steel and Elle Baker.

HANDBALL

Great Britain's men suffered two heavy defeats against Austria as their 2013 World Championship qualifying campaign came to a disappointing end.

Steve Larsson
Steven Larsson was GB's top scorer in the away match with six, but could only find the target twice on Sunday

A 37-22 loss in Austria was followed three days later with a 40-24 defeat at Crystal Palace, which ensured they finished bottom of Pool A.

The GB team, who were only formed in 2007, won their first competitive international match in June 2010 against Bulgaria but have struggled to produce consistently high performances.

Their next big challenge will come at the four-team Olympic test event at the end of April.

BADMINTON

Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier enjoyed a memorable start to 2012 when they beat world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in the opening round of the mixed doubles at the Korean Open.

Badminton players Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock
Adcock and Bankier stunned the world champions in Seoul

Englishman Adcock and Scotland's Bankier, ranked 16th in the world, won 21-19 21-16.

Their joy was short-lived, however, when the British pair fell 21-14 21-17 to Chinese number two pairing He Hanbin and Yixin Bao 24 hours later.

China took four of the five titles at this first Superseries event of the new season, with Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia preventing a clean sweep by beating Olympic champion Lin Dan in the men's final.

OTHER NEWS

Thousands of people who bought tickets to see synchronised swimming at London 2012 have been asked to return them, after the organisers discovered that they had sold 10,000 too many.

Synchronised swimmers practice

Human error is believed to be responsible for 20,000 tickets being put on sale for four of the sessions in the aquatics centre rather than 10,000.

Around 3,000 people have been contacted by Games organisers and are being offered tickets for alternative events they had applied for previously.

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