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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Tweddle medal hopes dashed
Beth Tweddle
Tweddle had led Britain's gymnastic hopes in Athens
Beth Tweddle's hopes of becoming the first British woman to win an individual Olympic medal were ended by an unfortunate early draw on Sunday.

The 19-year-old had hoped for a top-three place in the asymmetric bars.

But, with more than 50 gymnasts after her, the judges gave Tweddle a harsh 9.575, only good enough for 13th.

Britain also failed to make it into the team final but Tweddle and Katy Lennon will feature in Thursday's all-round final after finishing in the top 24.

British Gymnastics spokeswoman Vera Atkinson reflected: "Had Beth performed in the second or third group, I'm convinced she would have made the (bar) final.

"Everyone knows starting in the first division is challenging.

"The judges were a bit too strict with the scores. Every gymnast suffers a misfortune with the draw. Unfortunately for Beth, it was on the biggest stage."

The disappointment was too much for the young Cheshire gymnast who broke down in tears but did not blame the judging.

"We've all had it stored up and it all came flooding out," she said.

"I did my routine on the bars but it probably wasn't my best performance."

Tweddle's additional marks of 9.300 on the floor, 9.012 on the vault and 9.025 on the beam left her 17th in the all-round standings.

Lennon finished in 28th but was pushed up the order after some of those above her missed out because their country already had the maximum number of two qualifiers through.

Carly Patterson
America's Carly Patterson leads the overall standings

But realistically the pair have only a slim chance of medal success in that final.

That competition is likely to be dominated by a duel between the United States and Romania - with America's Carly Patterson leading the qualifying standings with a total of 38.337.

In the team qualifying, the roles were reversed with Romania edging ahead of the US.

The defending champions grabbed top spot on the final rotation with a combined score of 152.436 - pipping the Americans by 0.588 of a point.

China made a strong start, but faded into third with a total of 151.085 with Russia finishing in fourth on 149.420.

They will be joined in the team final by Ukraine, France, Spain and Australia.

But Britain finished well below the top-eight qualifcation standard in 12th out of 13, with a total of 245.797, and their overall campaign is ended.





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