Our Olympians – progress report
London 2012 Day 13 (August 9): Check in with our region’s London 2012 Olympics competitors to find out when they are competing and how they are faring…
• NICK DEMPSEY – SILVER medallist
(Sailing – Men’s RS-X windsurfing) Mulbarton, 31
Dempsey was one of the first to gain selection, a full 11 months before the Games, and he has been able to spend the last few weeks getting perfectly acquainted to the Olympics water at Weymouth – where the 2009 world champion has lived, trained and competed for 10 years. He admits his fourth in Beijing is firing him for medal success this summer, while it has also been announced that windsurfing will be dropped from the Olympics after London – another subject stirring Dempsey’s emotions. He has been in decent form, and took silver at a weather-affected World Championships in Cadiz earlier in the year. Dempsey also took bronze at the Athens Games in 2004 – Team GB’s first ever windsurfing medal. While Dempsey left Norwich after school to chase his sailing dream, his parents still live in the area.
Results (Weymouth and Portland): Race 1 (July 31) – 5th, Race 2 – 7th; Race 3 (Aug 1) – 5th, Race 4 – 1st; Race 5 (Aug 2) – 10th, Race 6 – 1st, Race 7 (Aug 4) – 2nd, Race 8 – 3rd; Race 9 (Aug 5) – 9th, Race 10 – 2nd; Current standing – 2nd.
Schedule: Tuesday, August 7 – 1pm Medal Race.
• ANTHONY OGOGO – guaranteed BRONZE medallist
(Boxing – Men’s middleweight 75kg) Lowestoft, 23
A monumental effort from the former Lowestoft ABC fighter saw him earn the berth at the European Championships final in April that officially booked his place at this summer’s Games – and all after having to undergo shoulder surgery just five months ago and then working his way back to fitness. The former Under-17 world champion and Commonwealth silver medallist is joined by a supremely strong Team GB boxing squad and he will take his place with the men’s middleweights. Ogogo’s mother, who still lives in Lowestoft, has been ill leading up to the Games – but the fighter’s family want him to keep fully focused for his tilt at Olympics glory.
Results (Excel Arena): (July 28) Round of 32 – beat Junior Castillo Martinez (Dominican Rep) 13-6, (Aug 2) Round of 16 – beat Ievgen Khytrov (Ukraine) 18-18 (52-52 on countback, won on majority decision), (Aug 6) Quarter-finals – beat Stefan Hartel (Germany) 15-10; Guaranteed bronze medallist.
Schedule: Friday, August 10 – 3pm Semi-final v Esquiva Falcao Florentino (Brazil); Saturday, August 11 – 9.45pm Final.
• BARBARA PARKER (Athletics – Women’s 3,000m SChase, 5,000m) Pott Row, 29
The City of Norwich Athletic Club distance runner, now based in Atlanta, is in good form and primed for an Olympic double. Having sampled only the 3,000m steeplechase heats in Beijing, the Pott Row runner will take on that event once again in London – followed by a stab at the 5,000m. Due to her strong claims for a berth in the former, Parker ran only the latter at the UK Trials in Birmingham – finishing second behind Jo Pavey. Parker is world number seven at the steeplechase and broke the British record in June. Now she hopes everything is in place for a serious medal assault on home soil.
Results (Olympic Stadium) – 3,000m steeplechase: (Aug 4) Round One – sixth in heat four (9:32.07, 17th fastest overall, 15 qualified for final). 5,000m: (Aug 7) Round One – ninth in heat one (15:12.18, 20th fastest overall with new personal best, 15 qualified).
• JAMES DASAOLU (Athletics – Men’s 100 metres, 4x100m relay) Croydon, 24
Croydon’s 100m sprinter has his own fan club in Norwich, with parents Akintola and Abosede running Steve McDonald News in Witard Road, north Norwich. Dasaolu has trained at the UEA Sportspark, but in truth his base is in the capital – where he and youn sprint sensation Adam Gemili will be joined in London by Dwayne Chambers. The 24-year-old will also take part in the 4x100m relay with Christian Malcolm and will be aiming to compete in two finals, and hopefully run under 10 seconds for the first time.
Results (Olympic Stadium) – 100m: (Aug 4) Preliminaries – bye, Round One – 3rd in heat four in 10.13 seconds (season’s best, qualified for semi-finals), Semi-final one – 7th in 10.18.
Schedule – 4x100m relay (to be selected): Friday, August 10 – 7.45pm Round One; Saturday, August 11 – 9pm Final.
• ANNA BENTLEY (Fencing – Women’s foil: individual, team) Bergh Apton, 31
The long-time Norfolk Academy of Fencing star and former Norwich High School for Girls pupil is a three-times national champion, Commonwealth silver medallist and Team GB number two. Her main goal in London will be to help GB’s team collect their first Olympic fencing medal since 1964, although no doubt she will also hope to cause a surprise in the individual foil event too. Born in Aberdeen and a London resident since leaving school, Bentley is a Norwich City fan and her parents now live in the city after moving from Bergh Apton.
Results (Excel Arena) – Women’s individual foil (July 28): Round of 64 – lost to Monica Peterson (Canada) 10-9 aet; Women’s team foil (Aug 2): Round of 16 – beat Egypt 45-34, Quarter-finals – lost to Italy 42-14, 5th-8th classification – lost to Poland 43-20, 7th-8th classification – lost to Japan 30-21. Final ranking: 8th.
• EMMA POOLEY (Cycling – Women’s road race, time-trial) Norwich, 29
The former Norwich High School for Girls pupil and Beijing road time-trial silver medallist is in Team GB’s four-strong London squad, meaning another stab at the time-trial and the road race – where in Beijing, Pooley helped Nicole Cooke to gold. Pooley’s form since her Beijing success and turning professional has been outstanding, elevating her to one of the top women’s road riders in the world. And while she admits the London courses don’t suit her style, she has ensured she is ready to compete at the front of the field. Expect the former world time-trial champion to ride in support of a GB colleague in the road race, before bidding for her own medal in the race against the clock. Pooley’s parents still live in Norwich, while she is now based in Vienna.
Results – Road race (The Mall, July 29): 40th (in support of Lizzie Armitstead, who finished 2nd); Time-trial (Hampton Court, Aug 1): 6th.
• COLIN OATES (Judo – Men’s under-66kg) North Lopham, 29
The Diss fighter had to wait for his place to be confirmed after the squad’s announcement was delayed for what were thought to be appeals over omissions not involving Oates. He took bronze at last year’s European Championships but suffered an injury scare on missing out at the British Open in May – however, he will be fine for the summer. After something of a recent Team GB judo crisis, Oates is in a select band of genuine medal hopes. He lives in North Lopham, where dad Howard and brother David help operate the Kumo Judo Club.
Results: (Excel Arena, July 29) Round of 64 – bye, Round of 32 – beat Ivo dos Santos (Australia) 2-0, Round of 16 – beat Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar. (Mongolia) 1-0, Quarter-final – lost to Lasha Shavdatuashvili (Georgia) 1-0 GS, Repechage – lost to Jun-Ho Cho (South Korea) 2-0. Final ranking: 7th.
AND THE COACHES…
• DANNY KERRY (King’s Lynn) – Team GB women’s hockey head coach
The former KES pupil used to play for Lynn club Pelicans and has been GB head coach since the start of 2005. And while bronze at the 1992 Games in Barcelona represents Britain’s last Olympic hockey medal for either men or women, this year the women represent a genuine medal hope. Taking silver at this year’s Champions Trophy after losing to Beijing bronze medallists Argentina backed those thoughts, while the difficulties of naming his squad saw Kerry choke back the tears. But, unlike some of us, at least this summer’s British weather is not dampening Kerry’s outlook – quite the opposite. “The weather and rain will allow us to play in a very fast, high pressured and intense manner,” said Kerry. “We have the physical capability to do that and it is whether the opposition can live with that. When you’re playing in Delhi and it’s 44C it is pretty difficult to play like that, so yes, a typical British summer will be good for us.”
Results: Pool A – (July 29) GB 4-0 Japan, (July 31) GB 5-3 South Korea, (Aug 2) GB 3-0 Belgium, (Aug 4) GB 1-2 China, (Aug 6) GB 1-2 Netherlands, Semi-final (Aug 8) – GB 1-2 Argentina.
Schedule: Bronze final – Aug 10 v New Zealand (3.30pm).
• TIM NEWENHAM (Norwich) – Team GB shooting performance director
One medal is the hope from GB’s shooting squad – and if anyone can help them on their way to that goal, it’s Newenham. The elite sports coach has had a hand in most of the sporting success stories to have emerged from this region, including Hevingham’s British Cycling starlet Vicky Williamson and young javelin hopeful Oliver Bradfield. Earning his stripes in throw coaching, Newenham has coached the very best Britain has offered in javelin in recent years, as well as helping Tim Henman with his strength and conditioning work. China will be the nation to beat, having won 12 golds at the last three Games, while a gold and silver in Sydney represent GB’s only shooting successes in the last five Olympics. But given Newenham’s past record, anything will be possible at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Results: Team GB’s target was to win one shooting medal – and that happened to be Peter Wilson, who won gold in the men’s double trap (Aug 2).
• NEIL EMBLEN (Former Norwich City midfielder) – New Zealand men’s football head coach
During his playing days a £500,000 move to Carrow Road was injury-ravaged, as he made just 14 appearances between 2001-03. Not before long, Bromley-born Emblen was finishing his playing career in New Zealand – and after taking on his first management role with Waitakere United he was soon taken on as New Zealand’s Under-21 manager. So the logical progression from there was to take the Oly Whites and their Under-23 squad to London for this summer’s Olympics. Expectations are modest – not particularly helped by the side’s 4-2 warm-up defeat to UAE in Austria on Friday. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall midfielder Emblen will get a Midlands return when New Zealand kick off their campaign in Coventry against Belarus the day before London 2012’s opening ceremony. New Zealand’s Group C games also include Egypt at Old Trafford on Sunday, before taking on gold medal favourites Brazil in Newcastle the following Wednesday.
Results: Group C – (July 26) NZ 0-1 Belarus, (July 29) NZ 1-1 Egypt, (August 1) NZ 0-3 Brazil; New Zealand eliminated from the competition at the group stages.