Forty sports worth of action this week in Britain and further afield as several seasons really got under way. Yet, whilst rowing and shooting enjoyed their first World Cup meetings of the year, the year was coming to a close for the wintry pursuits of skiing and ice hockey – the regular league season, at least.
Once again, Sport Britain brings you the top ten athletes or teams from the past week.
Eve Muirhead (Scotland Women)
Curling – World Curling Championships
The Scottish curling team can be considered a real medal hope in 2014 as Eve Muirhead led her team to gold at the World Curling Championships. The victory was in real doubt when Scotland, who had lost just one match in the group stage, lost their play-off match against that same Swedish side. One semi-final later and Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton were up against Sweden once again for the trophy. It was a close affair with Scotland just nicking it in the final end. Great news for Team GB, since Scotland will probably provide the entire team in Sochi!
Squash – Canary Wharf Classic
One half of Britain’s most fierce rivalry, James Willstrop claimed his fourth Canary Wharf title by beating England’s Peter Barker in the final. At one point, the second seed from Leeds won ten points in a row, despite Barker making fewer mistakes in the course of the third game. Willstrop was playing against the crowd at time, favouring Essex’s Barker, but the final was a great advert for squash as an Olympic sport.
Snooker – Championship League
The smart money was on in-form Ding Junhui to claim the title in the Winners’ Group of the 2013 Championship League, but it was eventual winner Martin Gould that white-washed him in the semi-final. Gould had only reached third in the group stage, yet he set up a final against group-topper Ali Carter. The showdown was a tense one, but a 67-0 thumping in the third frame and a century break in the decider won it for Gould.
Cycling – Criterium International
For the second week in a row, Chris Froome makes it to the top ten after winning 3-day stage race, the Criterium International. Froome charged clear with 4km to go on the final day and never looked like being caught. It’s great news for Froome and for Team Sky, ideal preparation for the team leader in advance of the Tour de France.
Rugby League – Super League
It was complete dominance at the DW Stadium, as the stingy Wigan Warriors limited Widnes Vikings to just one late try. The home side bagged eleven tries before Lloyd White punctured Wigan’s hopes for a clean sheet. Nevertheless, even though Widnes refused to roll over and give up, the Warriors showed why they are title challengers once again and have the points to prove it.
Shooting – World Cup Shotgun, Acapulco
She’s only young, but Amber Hill breezed past her opponents on the way to a gold medal in the women’s skeet competition. At the first major meeting since the ISSF changed the scoring in all finals, Hill set a new junior world record in qualification before blitzing the semis and final by four points.
Helen Glover/Polly Swann
Rowing – World Rowing Cup I Sydney
Not content with an Olympic gold medal and the 2012 Superstars title, Helen Glover returned to competitive rowing in 2013 with an early win in Sydney. Glover’s former partner, Heather Stanning, decided to take a year out of the sport to continue her army career, but Polly Swann was more than a suitable deputy. The two won gold in the Women’s Pairs, before joining up the Eights team, although they just missed out on a second medal of the weekend.
Basketball – British Basketball League
Leicester’s cup double is almost complete following three further wins in this weekend’s British Basketball League. Victory over rivals Newcastle Eagles means they only need one more win to claim the title as the season draws to an end. The Riders may have missed out on the BBL Trophy thanks to the Sheffield Sharks, but a treble is still on the cards if Leicester take this form into the playoff campaign.
Gymnastics – British Artistic Gymnastics Championships
She’s not a well-known name, but Gabrielle Jupp claimed the 2013 British Championship All-Around title with two individual wins on the apparatus. Jupp was the best gymnast on the floor and the beam and, with a runner-up spot on the uneven bars, she was the clear champion. She joined Max Whitlock as the new British champion.
Wrestling – European Wrestling Championships
Yana Stadnik missed out on a place representing Team GB at London 2012 because she didn’t get a British passport on time, so a medal at the European Championships probably isn’t the best cure. Even so, Stadnik showed why she is a vital British asset as she ploughed her way through to the women’s freestyle final. Stadnik progressed without dropping a point, but the tables were turned in the final by Valeriya Chepsarakova of Russia. It’s a shame Britain may have unearthed a strong talent when wrestling looks set to be removed from the Olympic programme from 2020.
Other big names were out in force, as usual, and results were good for.. nearly all of them. Phil Taylor made sure he didn’t lose three successive Premier League matches by defeating Wes “The Warrior” Newton 7-2. Andy Murray is back at second home Miami and, thankfully, is still in the competition come the halfway mark, but he’s in scant British company. Sir Bradley Wiggins finished the Volta a Catalunya in fifth after Dan Martin enjoyed a thrilling win late in the week. Unfortunately, freestyle skier James Woods didn’t enjoy his X Games, crashing out of the slopestyle elimination round due to bad weather.
It was the World Cross-Country Championships on Sunday, where Gemma Steel and Jonathan Taylor both came in 31st out of 96 finishers. Closer to home (well, France), Darcie Mead was the highest ranking British competitor at the British National Championships Super G in Meribel, whilst number one Dougie Crawford did the same for the men. The Speedway Grand Prix also kicked off in New Zealand, with Tai Woffinden enjoying a win in his first season.