Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Team GB golden girls bid for medals

Rebecca Adlington will start her Olympic campaign by trying to defend her 400m freestyle title

Two of Britain's golden girls will bid to get the country off the starting blocks in the hunt for Olympic medals.

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington's attempt to defend the two titles she won in Beijing four years ago will begin in the Aquatic Centre while reigning Olympic road race cycling champion Nicole Cooke will also look for a repeat of her 2008 heroics in China.

Cooke and fellow British riders Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley will be aiming to make up for the disappointment of Saturday's men's race, when Mark Cavendish missed out on a podium place.

Across Sunday's programme of events, Games organisers will be hoping the hundreds of seats left empty on Saturday will be filled. Locog has launched an investigation while the Government has expressed concern as to why the seats were not taken despite events being apparently sold out.

If British fans are wishing for a brighter outlook for the medal table, with Team GB having so far failed to register, they may face disappointment on the weather front.

Saturday's sunshine is predicted to give way to darker clouds with rain set for the Olympic Park and around London as the women's road race leaves The Mall at noon. Forecasters say there will be heavy showers across central and east London, with hailstones a possibility.

Rain will not deter triple Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie as he begins his quest for another crown or rowers Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter as they start the defence of their lightweight double sculls title.

In another potential highlight, Team GB's men's football team will take on the United Arab Emirates at Wembley stadium this evening in a bid to follow the women's team into the quarter-finals.

Adlington will start her Olympic campaign by trying to defend her 400m freestyle title - the first of three events she is participating in.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday's empty seats, some of which were at the Aquatic Centre, were "very disappointing" and suggested they could be offered to members of the public. He said: "Locog are doing a full investigation into what happened, I think it was accredited seats that belonged to sponsors, but if they're not going to turn up, we want those tickets to be available for members of the public, because that creates the best atmosphere. We are looking at this very urgently at the moment."

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