McKeever lands psychological blow

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Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Olympic champion Ed McKeever struck a significant psychological blow to his rivals ahead of his bid to land Great Britain’s second gold medal at the European Games in Mingachir on Tuesday.

McKeever stormed to victory in his semi-final heat of the K1 200m to qualify direct for the final, but the man he pipped to win gold in London – Spain’s Saul Craviotto Rivero – missed out.

“Qualifying straight for the final is more of a psychological advantage over my opponents than a physical one,” McKeever said. “I had a good start and felt good, and followed on from there.”

Team-mate Rachel Cawthorn will also bid for a British medal on Tuesday after safely qualifying for the final of the women’s K1 500m final.

Meanwhile, the boxing competition gets under way in Baku’s Crystal Hall with Bury teenager Muhammad Ali hoping to make a name for himself in the flyweight division although he has a tough start against Alexandr Riscan of Moldova.

A low-key British schedule on Monday saw both men’s and women’s gymnastics teams miss out on medals while wrestling hope Yana Rattigan crashed out in the first round of the women’s 48kg event.

Austrian twins Anna-Maria and Eirini-Marina Alexandri won an emotional sychronized swimming silver medal on Monday, four days after an incident which left one of their team-mate seriously injured.

Vanessa Sahinovic is in an induced coma in a hospital in Vienna with serious spinal injuries after she was hit by a bus in the athletes’ village. Two other members of the team were also injured.

The 17-year-olds embraced their coaches and team-mates at the pool-side and dedicated their medal to Sahinovic, who is expected to remain in a coma for at least a week as doctors assess the extent of her injuries.

Eirini-Maria Alexandri said: “Of course, this is for Vanessa and Luna (Pajer, who had her arm broken in the accident). We are proud of what we’ve done – it has been very difficult but we have had very big support from our Olympic committee and Austria.”

Coach Albena Mladenova said the team had considered withdrawing in the wake of the accident, but the Alexandri sisters had insisted on taking part. The least injured of the trio, Verena Breit, also stayed to compete.

Mladenova said: “I am very proud of them. What they have done is amazing, remarkable. I am a coach who wants perfection (and) I think they have helped put a smile back after some bad days.”

Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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