- August 10, 2018
- Posted by: Katie Ellington
- Category: News
As qualification season begins for Tokyo 2020, athletes in all corners of the world are bringing their best to the table.
There’s still lots of European Championships action with athletics, gymnastics and diving on the docket.
Swim giants Australia and the USA will battle it out at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
And the Rogers Cup continues without big names Serena Williams and recent Wimbledon victor Angelique Kerber.
Champions in action
The first European Championships wrap up this weekend, with athletics in Berlin and all other competitions in Scotland.
World record holder Renaud Lavillenie wants a fourth European pole vault title this Sunday.
The London 2012 Olympic champion won continental crowns in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Poland’s Robert Sobera dethroned him two years ago.
🔛 C’est parti.
Qualifications des Championnats d’Europe à Berlin 🇩🇪 dans peu de temps. Début du concours a 10h30 !
👀 Retransmis sur France TV et Eurosport 🖥, même si ca sera bref j’espère, ne manquez pas ca!
Nous serons 3 français 🇫🇷 ce matin 🤙🏼
— Renaud LAVILLENIE® (@airlavillenie) August 10, 2018
In the men’s gymnastics finals, Olympic talents like Epke Zonderland and Eleftherios Petrounias promise to impress.
Both are pioneers for the sport in their respective nations. Zonderland won the Netherlands’ first Olympic medal on the horizontal bar in London 2012.
In an exclusive interview with the Olympic Channel, Petrounias said that his goal is to be undefeated through Tokyo 2020.
David Belyavskiy of Russia will be looking for his sixth European gold. Last year, he captured world silver on both pommel horse and parallel bars.
Rivals team up
Wimbledon men’s singles champion Novak Djokovic goes for Rogers Cup doubles glory with Kevin Anderson, who he beat in the final at SW19 last month.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) August 7, 2018
Djokovic earned his 13th career grand slam title when he defeated his new South African partner to win on the famous grass courts.
It was an impressive comeback for the former world number one, who missed most of the 2017 ATP Tour due to an elbow injury.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) August 5, 2018
“The injury of my right elbow was so severe that I was forced to be out from the Tour for 6 months,” Djokovic wrote in an open letter after his Wimbledon win.
“Injury was one of the issues, the other big one was any motivation. I didn’t have problems to practice and to enjoy the tennis court but I had mental hurdles when I had to compete.”
But the Serb has suffered a setback, being dumped out of the singles in Toronto by unseeded teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
Halep targets return to winning ways
Also at the Rogers Cup, world number one and top seed Simona Halep hopes to bounce back after a surprise early exit at Wimbledon.
The Romanian won on clay at Roland-Garros but was shocked by Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei in the round of 32 in London.
Halep has ranked in the top five every season since 2014, but this is the first year she’s reached the very top.
Rising American star Sloane Stephens also hopes to continue her ascent.
Stephens won last year’s US Open, becoming the fifth unseeded woman in the Open Era to claim a grand slam title.
She’ll be looking to avenge a loss against Halep in the French Open final.
Trial run for Tokyo
The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships are underway in Japan, giving competitors an ideal test run for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Katie Ledecky leads the USA squad.
— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) July 30, 2018
But Canada’s Taylor Ruck stunned the five-time Olympic champion in the 200m freestyle on the opening day of the championships. Ruck’s 1:54.44 was the world’s fastest since her American rival’s 1:53.73 to win gold at Rio 2016.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Cate Campbell continues her comeback after taking home three gold medals at April’s Commonwealth Games.
The three-time Olympian took a year-long hiatus after her unexpected defeat in the 2016 Games, where she failed to reach the podium in both the 50m and 100m free.
It will be the first time she faces Simone Manuel since the American denied her a medal in Rio.