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Sports digest

athletics

Eilidh Child pulled off a double victory in her first two outings of the season at the weekend but the Scot admits she still has ample room for improvement, writes mark Woods.

The Commonwealth Games silver medallist won the 400 metres hurdles in 57.37 seconds in the UK Athletics test event at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, but well outside the qualifying time for London.

Child also came first in the elite 400m flat in 52.71 but was denied an early crack at her chief hurdles rivals after Meghan Beesley was disqualified and Perri Shakes-Drayton withdrew.

"I'm happy enough with the win but I would have liked a much faster time," Child said. "I suppose it didn't help getting the first hurdle with the wrong leg."

American-based Scot Dave Bishop produced a late burst to win the 3000m in a personal best of 7:56.37 to maintain his push for Olympic consideration, and with the test event doubling as the BUCS Championships, Eilish McColgan was the sixth fastest qualifier for today's 1500m final while Lynsey Sharp breezed into the 400m final. "I just want to use this to sharpen up my speed after the winter," Sharp said.

Child's training partner, Lawrence Clarke, gained the UKA Olympic A qualifying standard in winning the 110m hurdles in 13.50sec. Robbie Grabarz won the high jump with a best effort of 2.26m while world indoor pole vault bronze medallist Holly Bleasdale suffered a rare defeat, losing to former UK champion Kate Dennison on countback after both cleared 4.35m.

"It was a really good thing to come here," Bleasdale declared. "It's made me more excited to aim harder and to make sure I am back here in August."

Elsewhere, former Great Britain international Hayley Haining took victory in the Lillebaelt International Half Marathon in Denmark in 75min 29sec, with fellow Scot Gemma Rankin in fifth. However, Claire Gibson's gamble on making a 72-hour round trip to Japan failed to pay off as she came eighth in the IAAF World Challenge in Kawasaki in a disappointing 2:12.38.

bowls

Scotland did not get the start they had hoped for in the Dutch International Open at the Ons Kinnehim club in Haarlem yesterday as they were surprisingly beaten in their opening mixed fours game, but they more than made up for that in the afternoon, when they took the points in both the men's and women's pairs events, writes Anne Dunwoodie.

Ex-pats Lynn Greenland, Yvonne Briden, Steven Pearson and John Breslin, representing Spain, upset the odds to edge out Scots Becky Craig, Lauren Baillie, Robert Grant and Neil Speirs 17-13 in the mixed. That result leaves the Scots in ninth place with the US leading the table.

In the men's pairs, Grant and Speirs beat England's Robert Palser and Graham Robinson 22-16 and are currently in fourth place. Ireland lead the standings with 30 shots to their credit while the Scots have 6.

Craig and Baillie also produced the goods, seeing off the local challenge from Esther de Groot and Saskia Schaft 18-14 and that currently leaves them in seventh spot behind leaders Spain with 23 shots.

cycling

Mark Cavendish recorded the eighth Giro d'Italia win of his career when he sprinted to victory in yesterday's second stage over 206 kilometres and finishing in Herning in Denmark, writes Colin Renton.

The Team Sky rider edged out Australian Matt Goss (GreenEdge) and Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe (Francaise des Jeux) in a frantic finale.

Taylor Phinney, of BMC, will wear the leader's pink jersey in today's third stage over 190 kilometres after finishing in the main bunch yesterday despite having to battle back after losing his chain with only eight kilometres left to ride. The 21-year-old American was an impressive winner of Saturday's time trial, taking top spot by nine seconds over Welshman Geraint Thomas, an impressive margin in an 8.7 kilometres ride.

n Evan Oliphant was the leading Scot in yesterday's Tour of the Reservoir in Northumberland, finishing in ninth place, five seconds down on winner Scott Thwaites, who took the honours for the Scottish-based Endura Racing Team ahead of Peter Hawkins (IG Sigma Sport) and another Endura rider, Russell Downing.

motorsport

IScotland's Allan McNish finished fourth in the latest round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Six Hours race in Spa, Belgium, writes Neil Drysdale.

The Dumfries-born driver, who was working alongside his regular Audi colleagues, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, put in an efficient display in changeable weather conditions, but admitted afterwards he was disappointed not to achieve a better result after starting from pole position.

The Audi trio eventually ended a lap down on their rivals, Marc Gene, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval, an outcome which has seen McNish slip to second in the title battle.

"Spa throws up a lot of things and we knew this race was going to be tricky with the weather, and that it was going to be a learning curve for our R18 e-tron quattro car," said McNish.

"Unfortunately, it was more difficult than we had expected, in terms of the balance of our Audi. We tried various things to overcome a performance disadvantage, but today was a big difference from Friday [qualifying]."

n Scotland's David Coulthard and Susie Wolff finished well out of the points in the latest round of the DTM Series at Lausitz, writes Neil Drysdale. The race, which was won by BMW's Bruno Spengler, with Gary Paffett in second place, was one to forget for the Caledonian duo, who ended in 12th and 21st positions respectively.

Squash

Scotland's men had to settle for fourth place after losing 3-1 to hosts Germany in their bronze medal play-off at the European Team Championships in Nuremburg, writes Lorin McDougall.

Alan Clyne lost the opening tie to Simon Rosner and Greg Lobban was also beaten by Rafael Kandra, but Chris Small then crushed Jens Schoor in three straight games. Stuart Crawford needed to do the same against Andre Haschker to level the match, but Haschker prevailed in five games.

Scotland's women grabbed their first win of the week, beating Switzerland 2-1 to finish seventh overall. Frania Gillen-Buchert lost match one, but Lisa Aitken beat Sara Guebey before Alex Clark defeated Julia Schmalz to secure a result which came too late to avoid relegation to Division Two.

volleyball

Great Britain men opened their season with a 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 win over Switzerland in Zurich as they began the final countdown to the Olympics. Scottish middle player Mark McGivern did not make the trip as he was recovering after a hard season helping Avignon to the French Pro B league title.

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