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Around The Uk

Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
British women join gymnastics elite
Annika Reeder competed in the Atlanta Games
Annika Reeder competed in the Atlanta Games
Great Britain received a huge boost last year when the women's team finished in 11th place in the World Championships in China, earning a place at the Olympics for the first time in the modern era.

The team includes Lisa Mason, who finished 26th in the all-round event in China, British All-Round Champion Annika Reeder, Sharna Murrey, Natalie Lucitt, Rochelle Douglas and Holly Murdock.

British champion Emma Williams will also be making the trip after her recent win in the national championships.

The team will be working hard to give a good account of themselves in Sydney, but a medal would be expecting too much.

Lisa Mason
British star Lisa Mason
Russia and China are the favourites to take the team crown, though Ukraine will be pressing hard.

Individually, look out for Anna Kovalyova of Russia and China's Ling Jie and Liu Xuan in the all-round competition, though Ukraine's reigning gold medal holder Liliya Podkopayeva will not relinquish her crown without a fight.

Unfortunately, Britain's men failed to qualify, and only one gymnast from Britain will attend the Games.

Romantics will hope it is Craig Heap, 32nd in the all-round competition in China.

Craig fell during the 1996 Olympic trials and failed to make the Games, nearly forcing him to quit the sport. Now he is back and in with a real chance of representing his country.

Once again, Russia and China should dominate, though Ukraine, Belarus, USA and France could all do well.

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