May 25 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
March and counting – London 2012 is coming ever more into view. So how are our local competitors shaping up in their bids for glory? MICHAEL BAILEY assesses where they stand…
Richard Alexander – Hockey
Norwich’s GB stalwart played a full part in GB’s series in South Africa and providing he keeps form and fitness, should remain in the fold for London. Selection takes place in June – before which the Surbiton player should be involved in May’s test event and a trip to Malaysia.
Tom Barber & Mel Clarke – Archery
Thorpe Hamlet’s Barber has seen his chances of making London slide in recent months – however, there is still time to rediscover his form in forthcoming selection shoots.
As for Clarke, the Beijing double medallist is almost a banker to be in London. The Taverham archer gets selection shoots in April and May, before the GB squad is officially unveiled before June.
Anne Bochmann – Swimming
The 18-year-old has deliberately held off 2012 competition until the British Championships in her bid for London. The Aquatics Centre hosts the championships, which double as Olympic trials, from March 3-10. Bochmann will take on the 200m individual medley and 200m freestyle, as well as her specialised event – the 400m freestyle, where Rebecca Adlington and Jo Jackson will also vie for two Olympic places.
Amy Conroy – Wheelchair Basketball
A former Notre Dame High School pupil, Norwich’s Conroy has been a big hit since making it with GB. The 19-year-old is due to compete in training camps and tournaments – including matches against the Netherlands, France and Germany – before the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester on May 22. Team GB’s squad selection will follow soon after.
Jody Cundy – Paralympic Cycling
One of the 2012 poster boys, Cundy recently returned from the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in LA with a gold, silver and bronze. That is pretty much it for track meetings leading to London. Cundy’s selection should be confirmed in June, with the Walpole St Andrew star likely to compete in the team sprint, C4 1km time-trial and individual pursuit.
Nick Dempsey – Windsurfing
Norwich-born Dempsey has already made selection for London in the RS:X men, which was confirmed in September. He is in decent form too, comfortably winning gold in Miami at the latest World Cup meeting. He sits third after two of seven events that run until June.
Piggy French & Pippa Funnell – Equestrianism
The Norfolk eventing pair have both technically qualified for the GB squad. However, official selection from a competitive field is open until May, so there’s still the chance to strengthen form – and therefore the case to be picked. Both should feature at the Badminton Horse Trials in May, an event primed to reaffirm their place in London.
Mick Gault & Eddie Graver – Shooting
Gault is at the end of his career, while Graver is only at the start. Both names were missing from British Shooting’s initial London 2012 shortlist – it remains to be seen whether the duo have done enough to see a change of heart when the final list comes out before the end of this month.
Sophie McKinna – Shot-Putt
The 17-year-old from Great Yarmouth has an eye on the British Championships and Olympic trials in June. In reality, the focus is on the World Juniors in Barcelona and then 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – but there remains an outside chance McKinna’s talent could bring early senior reward.
Danny Nobbs – Paralympic Shot-Putt
Norwich man Nobbs is in the middle of his full-time training year ahead of London, but as an athlete outside UK Athletics’ funding programme Nobbs may have to do things the hard way. The selection panel meets on July 9 to nominate their squad – until then it is all about proving form, fitness and getting qualifying distances. Key diary dates are the disability athletics test event at the Olympic Park on May 8, and the Paralympic World Cup.
Colin Oates – Judo
The 28-year-old is expected to represent GB in the under-66kg category. He was fifth in the Paris Grand Slam this month, with the Diss fighter’s hopes of gaining the one automatic selection spot in his weight category boosted by Craig Fallon’s retirement. The GB team selection – which includes the International Judo Federation’s world rankings – closes in May.
Anthony Ogogo – Boxing
It’s a bit touch and go for Ogogo. The Lowestoft fighter failed to make it past the last 16 of the World Amateur Championships in October – before having to undergo shoulder surgery. After a five-month lay-off, Ogogo returned to sparring a few days ago – well ahead of schedule, and that is probably because Ogogo has little choice. His selection hopes now rest on April’s Europeans.
Barbara Parker – Athletics
The Norfolk distance runner has continued winter training at home in the US. Much like the Paralympic athletes, a UK Athletics panel will meet at the start of July to nominate their squad. The Olympic trials in Birmingham towards the end of June will be key, as Parker decides which distances to tackle in London.
Emma Pooley – Cycling
The former Norwich High School for Girls pupil has been training and competing in Australia over the British winter. She will embark on the UCI calendar in a bid to prove her form for selectors of the time-trial and road race squad, who will meet after May 31.
Tim Pendle – Canoeing
The 22-year-old from Trowse has an outside chance of making London, with two regattas before June’s selection cut-off. But in truth his path is geared for Rio in 2016.
Will Smith – Wheelchair Athletics
The Dereham racer has been called into the senior squad for the first time to compete in the Paralympic World Cup – which suggests the teenager has an outside chance of making London. This month Smith takes on the Silverstone Half Marathon, before the London Mini-Marathon (three miles) on April 22. His track season starts soon after.
London will arrive too soon – but their time will come…
Albert Hicks (canoeing) – Having just turned 18, the highly rated Attleborough kayaker has his sights on becoming world junior champion later this year.
Victoria Williamson (cycling) – Understandably the one available place in her track event will head to Victoria Pendleton, but the youngster’s time will come.
And sadly all over…
Nic Asher – The Lowestoft sailor misses out for the second time in a row after being omitted from the GB squad in January. The double world champion saw injury end hopes for Beijing. And having battled back from a rare and debilitating illness last year, Asher finished outside the medals at the World Championships in Australia, sealing his fate.
Susie Rogers-Hartley – The west Norfolk Para-equestrian rider hoped to make London – as a competitor for Hong Kong! But it relied on Susie finding her estranged father, something she has been unable to do before the deadline for selection despite a long and emotional search.
Lauren Spink – Having had something of a renaissance, the Norwich table tennis star and England number five has missed out on the English Table Tennis Association’s 2012 shortlist.