Olympic digest

Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 01:00

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Evans faces world champion in first group match

BADMINTON:Irish men’s number one Scott Evans has drawn reigning world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China for his opening group match in the men’s badminton singles, at London 2012.

The draw could not have been tougher for Evans, world ranked number 76. Lin, although seeded second to Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei for the tournament, is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time.

Evans has played Li many times, most notably in last year’s world championships, where he put up a good fight.

Chloe Magee, world number 44, has had a much kinder draw in a group of three.

She will play 33-year-old Pi Hongyan of France, a quarter- finalist at Beijing in 2008, now world-ranked 25. The pair met in the quarter-finals of the Irish Open last December with Pi winning in three sets. Also in her group is 113-ranked Hadia Hosny.

Hoy to carry flag for GB

OPENING CEREMONY:Chris Hoy will carry the flag for Team GB at Friday’s opening ceremony of London 2012, the British Olympic Association has confirmed.

It is the second successive time the cyclist has been given the honour – he also carried the Union Jack at the closing ceremony in Beijing four years ago.

The Scot, a gold medal winner at the two most recent Games, won the greatest number of votes among the 542 members of the British team.

Others who received support included archer Alison Williamson, who will be competing at her sixth Olympic Games.

A number of other possible candidates such as sailor Ben Ainslie and swimmer Rebecca Adlington were not on the shortlist as, because of their competition demands, they will not able to attend the opening ceremony.

Lanigan-O'Keeffe gets late call-up after Pole fails test

MODERN PENTATHLON:Ireland’s Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe is on course to compete in the modern pentathlon event at London 2012 after Polish competitor Lukaz Klekot tested positive for a banned substance.

Klekot’s positive test for melhylhexaneemine came at the 2012 national championships. He has been withdrawn from Poland’s Olympic squad with immediate effect by the national Olympic committee, the sport’s governing body UIPM confirmed on their website.

The development means 20-year-old Lanigan-O’Keeffe, an elite sports scholarship student at UCD, will join Natalya Coyle on Ireland’s modern pentathlon team.

After placing 20th at World Cup two in Brazil and 24th at the World Cup in China, the Kilkenny athlete narrowly missed out on qualification.

Ireland’s modern pentathlon manager Lindsey Weedon said his late inclusion was great news for the sport in Ireland.

She added: “Arthur has done exceptionally well and just failed to gain his Olympic berth directly. With the withdrawal of the Polish competitor, Arthur’s Olympic dream has come true.”

Condition of Bolt’s hamstring still the X factor in 100m race

ATHLETICS: Organisers may think the most closely-guarded secret of the 2012 Games is who will light the Olympic flame, but of far greater interest to the wider sporting public is the condition of Usain Bolt’s right hamstring.

The Jamaican triple gold medallist from Beijing is the number one attraction of the Games, but the question mark over his fitness has added further intrigue to an eye-wateringly exciting 100m race.

Bolt needed some stretching and massage treatment for a tight hamstring following his 200m defeat by Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials at the start of the month, having also lost to Blake in the 100m days earlier when he looked to be nursing the injury with a tentative start.

Bolt then travelled to Germany to see renowned sports doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, though his agent Ricky Simms said the trip had been long-scheduled as part of his regular “prehabilitation”.

The 1.95m (6ft 5ins) sprinter suffered with hamstring troubles early in his career, a problem linked to a curvature in his spine, and has to put himself through a gruelling stretching and conditioning regime to prevent any recurrence.

“He had a slightly tight hamstring during the trials and that’s why possibly he didn’t push as hard as he could have,” Simms said recently, when assuring the public that his man would be in good shape for London. “He was just protecting that. The main thing at the trials was to get through and get on the team for the Olympic Games.”

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