Dina Asher-Smith puts down Olympic marker with comfortable 200m victory in Italy

World champion Dina Asher-Smith puts down Olympic marker with comfortable 200m victory in first outdoor race of the season in Italy

  • The world champion dominated the low-key meet in Savona on Thursday
  • She crossed in 22.56sec, well ahead of British team-mate Beth Dobbin
  • Asher-Smith had not raced since the 2019 world championships in Doha

Dina Asher-Smith stepped up her Olympic preparations with a comfortable 200m win in her first competitive outdoor race since 2019 in Italy on Thursday night.

The world champion dominated the low-key meet in Savona and crossed in 22.56sec, well ahead of British team-mate Beth Dobbin, who was second in 23.06sec.

Barring four club runs at her home track in Bromley in 2020 and two indoor meets earlier this year, Asher-Smith had not raced since the 2019 world championships in Doha. 

Asher-Smith blitzed her way to victory in her first outdoor race of the season on Thursday

She easily took the lead inside 20m on the Italian coast and was smooth around the bend as she pulled away to a straightforward win.

The Brit will face a far stiffer challenge in her next outing, when she takes on Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson Herah and Sha’Carri Richardson in a world-class 100m field at the Gateshead Diamond League meet on May 23. 

That will offer major clues around her condition and form going into the Tokyo Olympics.

Andrew Pozzi won the 110m hurdles in 13.42sec. 

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IOC left humiliated after protestor passing as a Yahoo Sports reporter infiltrates Zoom briefing

IOC left humiliated after protestor passing as a Yahoo Sports reporter infiltrates Zoom briefing to shout ‘f*** the Olympics’ as anti-Tokyo 2020 sentiment grows amid growing coronavirus cases in Japan

  • The International Olympics Committee held a press briefing on Wednesday 
  • The final question was to be asked by a person purporting to work for Yahoo
  •  However, the individual turned out to be a protestor, who shouted ‘No Olympics’

The International Olympic Committee were left embarrassed last night after their own media briefing was hijacked by a protestor shouting ‘f*** the Olympics’.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams was about to wrap up the virtual press conference when he took one final question from a person purporting to be a Yahoo reporter named David O’Brien.

However, the apparent journalist was actually an anti-Games demonstrator, who appeared on screen holding a banner which read ‘No Olympics in Tokyo 2020’.

Spokesperson Mark Adams was in charge of an IOC press briefing hijacked by a protestor

Claiming to be a Yahoo Sports reporter, the protestor swore on camera as he made his point

Claiming to be a Yahoo Sports reporter, the protestor swore on camera as he made his point

The protestor chanted, ‘No Olympics anywhere, f*** the Olympics, we don’t want the Olympics anywhere’, before he was cut off.

It was a humiliating end to a briefing which had been dominated by questions about whether the Games will go ahead given rising coronavirus case numbers in Japan and the growing public opposition to holding them.

Adams said: ‘We are now very much in an implementation phase with 78 days to go and fully concentrated on delivering the Games.

‘When the Games happen and the Japanese people are proud hosts of an event that will be an historic moment, I think I am very confident we will see public opinion hugely in favour of the Games.’

Adams’ assurances came at the same time a Japanese website reported that Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike was having doubt about staging the Games. Even though the IOC have the ultimate say, any wavering from the local Tokyo government could be significant

There is fierce protest in Tokyo to the staging of the Games, given the rise of coronavirus cases

There is fierce protest in Tokyo to the staging of the Games, given the rise of coronavirus cases

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Tokyo 2020: Sir Mo Farah to earn spot in Team GB squad in 10,000m trial next month

Sir Mo Farah to earn spot in Team GB’s Tokyo squad by competing in 10,000m trial in Birmingham next month as four-time Olympic champion returns to race format for first time since 2017

  • Sir Mo Farah will race for his spot in Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 squad next month
  • The four-time Olympic champion will feature at the 10,000m Championships
  • He’s making his first return to 10,000m since winning his sixth world title in 2017

Sir Mo Farah will look to book his place for Tokyo 2020 at the British Athletics 10,000m Championships next month.

The four-time Olympic champion is making his first return to the 10,000m since winning his sixth world title in 2017.

The first two athletes in the men’s trial event who hold an Olympic qualifying standard will automatically qualify for this summer’s Games with Team GB.

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah will race for his spot in Team GB’s Tokyo squad

Farah will be joined in the 12-strong team at the University of Birmingham on June 5 by Marc Scott, Eilish McColgan and Jessica Judd.

Team leader Rob Denmark said: ‘We are pleased that we have been able to select a strong line-up for the European 10,000m Cup.

‘We will be looking to achieve the highest possible placing in both the men’s and women’s team standings and we are confident that the athletes selected can deliver successful results on home soil.’

Farah is making his first return to the 10,000m since winning his sixth world title in 2017

Farah is making his first return to the 10,000m since winning his sixth world title in 2017

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Britain targeting ‘greatest decade’ of sport with hosting 2030 World Cup and 96 other major events

It’s coming home! UK Sport eyeing 2030 World Cup bid along with hosting 96 other major events for Britain’s ‘greatest decade’ of sport… but there are no discussions about bringing Olympics back to London

  • Plans for until 2031 have been revealed for Britain’s ‘greatest decade’ of sport
  • The proposals are led by a bid to bring the FIFA World Cup to the UK in 2030
  • UK Sport’s hosting aspirations document features 97 events across 44 sports
  • However, there are no active discussions about bringing the Olympics back

Plans have been revealed for Britain’s ‘greatest decade’ of sport, with bids under consideration for almost 100 international events between now and 2031 – but there are no active discussions about bringing the Olympics back to London.

Led by proposals to bring the FIFA World Cup to the UK in 2030, funding body UK Sport has released its hosting aspirations document, which features 97 events across 44 sports and spanning 46 world championships.

Those include suggested bids for the 2025 women’s Rugby World Cup, the 2031 Ryder Cup, the hockey World Cup, the Grand Depart of the Tour de France and also the 2026 European Athletics Championships, as previously revealed by Sportsmail. 

Plans to host Britain’s ‘greatest decade’ of sport have been revealed, which is being led by a bid to bring the FIFA World Cup back to the UK for 2030

There are further discussions around bidding for the 2027 or 2029 athletics world championships on the back of the success of London 2017, with a 2029 bid understood to be more likely.

Pointing to the 97 events, 22 of which have already been secured, including the 2024 Champions League final and the Commonwealth Games next year, UK Sport estimate they would boost the UK economy by £6.83billion and attract more than 13 million fans.

UK Sport chair Dame Katherina Grainger said: ‘We are clear that by the greatest decade, we mean one that is still characterised by world-leading medal success. 

‘But we have to do much more with that success not just around the Games. High-performance sport has a unique capability, and therefore a unique responsibility for inspiring and uniting the nation.’

Despite claims from London mayor Sadiq Khan ahead of Thursday’s election that he wanted to bring the Olympics back to the capital in 2036 or 2040, UK Sport’s powerbrokers confirmed it had not even been discussed at this point.

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Becky Downie’s hopes of making Team GB’s team for Tokyo Olympics take hit in row over equipment

Becky Downie’s Olympics hopes suffer blow following row with British Gymnastics over the equipment being used at selection trials with fears athlete is being ‘sabotaged’ after speaking out on abuse in the sport

  • Becky Downie’s hopes of making Team GB for Tokyo Olympics taken a big hit
  • Row over equipment to be used at the final trials has proved to be a setback
  • Insiders fear Downie is being sabotaged for speaking out on abuse in the sport
  • The 29-year-old is a medal prospect and is likely to retire after the Games 

Olympic medal prospect Becky Downie’s hopes of making the team for Tokyo have been hit after a row with British Gymnastics over the equipment being used at this weekend’s selection trials.

Downie, who won a silver medal on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships, is fighting to be one of the four women picked by Team GB for the Games when she performs at the all-important behind-closed-doors trials in Cardiff.

However, the 29-year-old has suffered a setback after British Gymnastics controversially ruled that Gymnova equipment must be used at the final trials rather than Spieth, which had been an option at other selection competitions this year.

British gymnast Becky Downie suffered a blow to her Olympic hopes in an equipment row

The 29-year-old won a silver medal on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships

The 29-year-old won a silver medal on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships

The late and unexpected change is significant for Downie as Gymnova’s uneven bars are straight, whereas Spieth’s are angled like the Senoh ones being used at Tokyo 2020.

Downie had been training on angled bars in preparation for the Games, but on Gymnova apparatus she will be unable to perform the potential gold medal-winning routine she had been working on for weeks and must learn a new one instead.

Insiders fear that Downie is being ‘sabotaged’ because she spoke out about her and her sister Ellie’s experiences of abuse in gymnastics when the scandal first broke last summer.

A source told Sportsmail: ‘It feels as if Becky is being set up for failure. Coaches are not happy with them for speaking up and those coaches are still in positions of power.

‘The refusal to bring the Olympic equipment that they have to their final trial, impacting Becky more than anyone, is utterly petty and indicates clear intent.’

Hinting at her frustration in a tweet, Downie wrote: ‘With this one, you broke me.’

Insiders fear Downie is being set up for failure after speaking out on abuse within the sport

Insiders fear Downie is being set up for failure after speaking out on abuse within the sport

In another post, she said: ‘Torn between training incredibly well and feeling in the shape of my life vs having to deal with the most difficult scenario that affects everything I’ve worked so hard for.’

There are also fears that British Gymnastics’ selection policy for the Games, which states ‘potential to medal at Paris 2024’ as a factor for nomination, favours younger gymnasts over Downie, who is likely to retire after Tokyo.

She faces competition from 17-year-old Amelie Morgan, who won bronze in the bars at the European Championships in April, and 20-year-old Alice Kinsella, a former European beam champion.

Downie’s sister Ellie, 21, is also hoping to gain selection, as are 16-year-old Jessica Gadirova, who won three medals at the recent Europeans, and her identical twin sister Jennifer.

British Gymnastics and Downie were approached for comment.

17-year-old Amelie Morgan recently won bronze in the bars at the European Championships

17-year-old Amelie Morgan recently won bronze in the bars at the European Championships

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Nick Skelton admits seeing son Harry become champion jockey at Sandown eclipses his own triumphs

Nick Skelton admits seeing son Harry become champion jockey at Sandown eclipses his own triumphs as he states: ‘I was getting more agitated than him’

  • Nick Skelton was jubilant his son Harry was named champion jockey at Sandown 
  • Skelton Snr stated that the achievement even eclipses his own triumphs
  • Harry was denied  chance to crown his title success with victory in the Gold Cup

Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper Nick Skelton says seeing his son Harry presented with the trophy for being champion jockey at Sandown gave him more pleasure than any of his own triumphs.

Skelton Snr was one of the most decorated showjumpers in the sport’s history, capping his career with a gold medal at the age of 58 at the Olympics in 2016.

But even as a sportsman used to pressure, Skelton admitted he felt the tension as Harry battled out the title race with Brian Hughes.

Harry Skelton (second right) celebrates with his Champion Jockey trophy for the national hunt season 2020-21 with Dan Skelton (left) wife Bridget and father Nick (right)

Nick, whose elder trainer son Dan supplied the majority of Harry’s wins, said: ‘I was getting more agitated than Harry because I wanted him to win!

‘The Olympic Gold was five years ago and was a great day but when the boys do it I feel greater pride. We are a tight-knit family and I think we are good at what we do.

‘Dan and Harry work brilliantly together. They were always around me when I was going to the shows. They grew up with horses and have taken it on into racing.

‘I think they get their determination from me. We don’t give up, we are not quitters. You have to keep fighting. That’s what I did and it is what I instilled into them.’

It was a bittersweet finale for Harry on Saturday as he was denied a chance to crown his title success with victory in the Gold Cup when Enrilo lost the race in a stewards enquiry after veering left on the run-in and checking the finishing run of third-past-the-post Kitty’s Light.

Harry Skelton's father Nick admits that he was anxious watching his son battle for glory

Harry Skelton’s father Nick admits that he was anxious watching his son battle for glory

The race was awarded to Alan King-trained Potterman, who passed the post in second and was not involved in the interference.

Enrilo’s trainer Paul Nicholls, crowned champion for a 12th time, confirmed that after a discussion with the gelding’s owners there would be no appeal against the stewards’ decision.

A four-day careless riding ban means Skelton Jnr will start the defence of his title on the back foot, especially as he was already facing a six-day suspension for two infringements picked up in the final few days of his championship season.

Tom Cannon riding Potterman (left) won the Gold Cup as Skelton's Enrilo lost in a steward's enquiry

Tom Cannon riding Potterman (left) won the Gold Cup as Skelton’s Enrilo lost in a steward’s enquiry

Before that Harry rides his brother’s Nube Negra in the William Hill Champion Chase on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival on Tuesday. Opposition includes Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi, one of three rides on the day for Paul Townend on his return from a foot injury that has kept him sidelined since April 4.

Townend goes into the final week of the Irish jumps season four wins clear of Rachael Blackmore, who has five rides on Tuesday including Mullins-trained Allaho in the Champion Chase.

Mutasaabeq, twice a winner at Newmarket and a son of 2009 1,000 Guineas winner Ghanaati, is set to be supplemented for Saturday’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas by trainer Charlie Hills.

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