London 2012: Olympic sport this week

Great Britain's Crista Cullen
Crista Cullen is among Britain's hockey players heading for the Champions Trophy


GYMNASTICS - Visa International Gymnasticsexternal-link, O2 Arena, London (10-18 Jan); after Great Britain's male artistic gymnasts qualified for London 2012 last week, Britain's rhythmic gymnasts are targeting a first-ever Olympics appearance. They are guaranteed a host nation place at the Games providing they can achieve the qualifying standard, which stands at 45.223 points (82% of the best score at the last World Championships) for their two routines.

HANDBALL - Men's European Championshipsexternal-link, Serbia (15-29 Jan); sixteen 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. Should they win, the Olympic spot will go to the runners-up.

HOCKEY - Cordoba Four Nationsexternal-link, Argentina (18-22 Jan); the women's teams of Great Britain, Argentina, New Zealand and South Korea are taking part in a warm-up tournament ahead of next week's FIH Champions Trophy in Rosario. Great Britain begin against South Korea on Wednesday at 2230 GMT. Follow Great Britain's Crista Cullenexternal-link on Twitter.

JUDO - Senior British Closed Championshipsexternal-link, Sheffield (22 Jan); the majority of Great Britain's Olympic squad will be in action at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Formerly the British trials, these championships determine Britain's squad for the year, although the Olympic squad has already been selected.

TENNIS - Australian Openexternal-link, 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.

WATER POLO - European Championshipsexternal-link, Eindhoven, Netherlands (16-29 Jan); Great Britain's women are competing at the Euros for the first time since 1997 having qualified last September. They begin their campaign against Hungary in Pool A on Wednesday and face hosts and reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands on Sunday afternoon. The men's tournament features world champions Italy and Olympic champions Hungary, although GB's men have not qualified. Follow British Water Poloexternal-link on Twitter for updates.

YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES, Innsbruck, Austria (13-22 January); the inaugural Youth Winter Olympicsexternal-link features a 24-strong Great Britain squad aged between 14 and 18. Over 60 nations are being represented. Follow the BBC's Nick Hopeexternal-link on Twitter for updates.


GB's male gymnasts book London 2012 place; Robertson and Wallwork win badminton's battle of the Brits; judo medal boost for Burton; and name change leaves handball seeing red.


Great Britain's men won the Olympic test event in style to qualify a full team for the Games for the first time since Barcelona 1992.

The squad needed a top-four finish at London's O2 Arena to secure their spot.

And, led by Dan Purvis's brilliant all-round performance, Britain beat France comfortably to win the event.

Purvis also won an individual gold on the floor later in the week, while team-mate Louis Smith clinched gold with an impressive routine on the pommel horse.


A young Great Britain squad missed out on medals at the latest UCI Track World Cup meeting in Beijing.

Guo Shuang
China's Guo Shuang won three golds at the latest Track World Cup event

The GB men's team pursuit line-up of Sam Harrison, Mark Christian, Joe Kelly and Simon Yates came closest to the podium, losing out to New Zealand for a bronze medal.

Most of GB's leading lights such as Sir Chris Hoy are preparing for February's London leg, also an Olympic test event, on 17-19 February.

Another name to look out for in London is China's female sprint star Guo Shuang, who won three gold medals in Beijing at the weekend.


British mixed doubles pair Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork boosted their Olympic qualification hopes by beating GB rivals Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier 14-21 21-17 21-8 in the first round of the Malaysian Open.

Wallwork and Robertson
Jenny Wallwork and Nathan Roberston

But Robertson and Adcock failed to progress any further, losing to Indonesia's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Yu Yan Vanessa Yeo the following day.

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.

As things stand, that place would go to Adcock and Bankier who are ranked 14th in the world.


Great Britain's Euan Burton won a bronze medal in a high-quality -81kg competition at the Judo World Masters in Kazakhstan.

Euan Burton
Euan Burton impressed at the World Massters in Kazakhstan

The 32-year-old Scot beat 2009 world champion Ivan Nifontov of Russia in reaching the semi-finals, where he lost to Olympic champion Elnur Mammadli of Azerbaijan.

Burton's impressive showing boosts his chances of being seeded at London 2012.

In the women's +78kg category, Karina Bryant finished fifth after beating her Beijing 2008 conqueror Vanessa Zambotti by ippon.


British Handball chief executive Paul Goodwin says the decision to change the name of the Olympic handball venue to the Copper Box is the wrong one.

Handball Arena
The Olympic handball venue is to be known as the Copper Box

The arena's new name is a reference to the materials used on the outside of the 7,000-seater stadium.

But British Handball is starting a campaign for it to revert to its original name - the Handball Arena.

Goodwin asked: "Why have they not renamed other facilities in a similar vein? Perhaps the Olympic velodrome will be called 'the big round wooden building' or the basketball arena renamed as 'the marshmallow'?"

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