Friday 22 September 2017

Athletics: Irish duo boost medal hopes

Irish Olympians Peter O'Leary and David Burrows maintained a strong position in the Star fleet at the World Championships in Hyeres.

They finished seventh in a very tricky race yesterday and the duo remain in contention in third place overall.

Meanwhile, in Boltenhagen, Germany James Espey from Ballyholme YC, who achieved Olympic qualification on Monday, continued with a strong performance yesterday leaving him lying in 41st place overall in the 168-strong fleet.

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, the Irish 49er Olympic campaigners, had a race win yesterday in a regatta which has seen a mixed performance from the pairing.

They are lying 42nd overall after six races and a discard in Croatia.

TENNIS

Novak Djokovic overcame a testing debut on the blue clay at the Madrid Open to reach the third round yesterday, while top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova beat Czech opponents to advance in the women's event.

In Djokovic's first match on the Magic Box's unorthodox surface, the top-ranked Serb laboured to a 6-2 2-6 6-3 victory over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Djokovic, who like Rafael Nadal has been critical of the new-look clay top, hit 20 winners to 24 unforced errors.

Hard-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic beat Argentina's David Nalbandian 6-4 6-4 to set up a date with Roger Federer today, when Nadal debuts on the blue clay against Nikolay Davydenko.

ATHLETICS

Irish triathletes Gavin Noble and Ben Shaw were clocking up the air miles racing in Mexico and the Philippines over the weekend, with Noble continuing the defence of his top 55 world-ranking to ensure a place at London 2012.

Noble competed in the Huatulco ITU World Cup in Mexico on Sunday. His 25th-place finish was a solid result and signals a return to fitness after injury affected him for almost seven weeks.

Noble sits 43rd on the Olympic Simulation list, but faces a nervous wait as athletes ranked below him battle for the final points on offer before the qualification period ends on May 31.

Meanwhile, Shaw (20) was building his experience at the Subic Bay ITU Asian Cup in the Philippines.

He grabbed his first podium finish in an Asian Cup when he crossed the line in second place, just 20 seconds behind the winner.

Irish Independent

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