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Manchester’s Olympians Shine In London

David McCourt rounds up the region’s best in the capital

Written by . Published on August 2nd 2012.


Manchester’s Olympians Shine In London

AFTER making history by being part of the first ever Great Britain handball team to play at the Olympics, Salford’s Ciaran Williams’ Team GB were comfortably beaten by Sweden in their second match.

The hosts’ inexperience showed against their superior opponents – ranked second in the world – and Williams and co could do little to halt a 41-19 defeat.

However, Williams told Sportsbeat: “Just walking out in front of that crowd gave me Goosebumps and I nearly had a tear in my eye it was so good.”

The second successive defeat leaves Williams’ team bottom of group A.

Withington’s women’s hockey star Kate Walsh missed this morning’s victory over South Korea after fracturing her jaw in Team GB’s opening game victory over Japan.

Walsh_Break_2293157BGreat Britain captain Kate Walsh has suffered a broken jaw

The Great Britain captain was struck by a stick and had to undergo surgery on Monday to have a plate fitted.

There is still a chance the 32-year-old defender will be able to play later in the tournament, but coaches say her place will be reviewed after she is released from hospital.

15-year-old gymnast Rebecca Tunney, of Ashton-under-Lyne, earned a respectable sixth-placed finish this week in the women’s team event.

Stockport’s Hannah Whelan was also part of the five-woman team who, despite watching a surprise Canadian team pip them to fifth, could have few complaints in losing to the phenomenal USA team that took gold.

Warrington's Olivia Whitlam has helped her country qualify for the Olympic final of the women's eight rowing – finishing fourth in the repechage to take the sixth and final place in Thursday's showdown at Eton Dorney.

Tameside’s Maria Bertelli and Bolton’s Jenifer Taylor were involved in Great Britain’s maiden Olympic victory in the women’s volleyball this week.

The British underdogs came from behind to beat African champions Algeria to record a historic victory.

Team GB’s next match in Pool A is against the 2011 World Cup winners – Italy.

Rebecca+Tunney+Olympics+Day+2+Gymnastics+Artistic+Ry4s_Plnphol15-year-old Rebecca Tunney earns a team sixth at London 2012

Stockport’s Julie Page will have to reamin optomistic after Great Britain lost their second match of the games 73-65 to Canada.

The hosts, who enjoyed a successfully build up to the games – including a victory over the eighth highest ranked side in the world, France – have struggled in the competition so far, also losing to Australia.

And it doesn’t get any easier for Team GB, as Page and her teammates will now have to face reigning European champions Russia in their next game.

City of Manchester’s Angie Winstanley-Smith was the star of the show as Great Britain played their first ever women’s water polo match at the Olympics – scoring a hat-rick.

Despite losing their first game of the tournament, the rookie Brits pushed Russia all the way – conceding the winning goal just three minutes from the end.

Here’s hoping 26-year-old Winstanley-Smith can take her form into the next game against Australia.

And finally, Macclesfield’s Ben Ainslie is back in the fight for his fourth Olympic sailing gold medal after climbing back up to second.

Ben-Ainslie_2292033BBen Ainslie - not given up on gold yet

The 35-year-old recovered from a frustrating start to the competition to claim a fourth and third place on a windy day in Weymouth – moving him within 10 points of surprise leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark.

Ainslie, who was touted as a certainty for gold in the build up to the games, is yet to beat the Dane, but admits he has not given up hope of catching him.

He said: "Jonas is sailing really well, he's having the regatta of his life. All I can do is keep pushing hard and hope he slips up along the way.

“It's still a long way to go but at some stage I've got to start getting some points back."

There are four races of the opening series left to sail.

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

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