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Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 15:58 UK

Tweddle claims superb World gold

Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 13-18 October

Beth Tweddle

Highlights - Tweddle wins floor gold

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport at the O2 Arena, London

Beth Tweddle produced an extraordinary performance in the floor event to be crowned world champion in front of her home crowd at London's O2 Arena.

The 24-year-old Liverpudlian performed a routine too difficult for her rivals to challenge to take the title.

"I was renowned for bars - this is my first medal in floor and it's the best feeling ever," said Tweddle, world champion on uneven bars in 2006.

Australia's Lauren Mitchell won silver while China's Sui Lu took the bronze.

Victory may persuade Tweddle, already late in her gymnastics career, to press on towards the London Olympics in 2012.

Floor gold delights Tweddle

She has consistently stated she will review her progress "year by year" with a view to the Olympics, but Sunday's performance proved she can still hold her own with the world's finest gymnasts.

It is already unusual for someone of Tweddle's age to have remained in the sport this long.

But, having fallen so disappointingly in qualifying for the uneven bars final earlier in the week, then struggled in floor qualifying, she found it within herself to deliver a commanding, confident performance.

Starting first in the competition seemed to cause fellow Briton Louis Smith problems in Saturday's pommel horse event, but proved a blessing for Tweddle as she set a high standard for her rivals to follow, to a huge cheer from her supporters.

Having been almost inch-perfect throughout her first tumble, which had given her a major problem in qualifying, she never looked back.

The whole routine exhibited control and certainty in her ability, something many gymnasts at this week's Worlds appear to have lacked, and was rewarded for a difficulty level beyond anything the seven remaining finalists could reach.

Ollie Williams

"It makes up for my disappointment," Tweddle told BBC Sport, referring to her failure to reach the bars final.

"My coach gave me the day off, let me chill out, then I went back to the gym and worked for today.

"The fans got me through the other day when I was really upset, and it made me feel like I had to come out here today."

Tweddle's anxious wait was lengthened when Colombian gymnast Jessica Ortiz, second to compete, suffered an injury early in her routine which required treatment for 10 minutes.

Ortiz, stretchered from the arena as a precaution, is believed not to be badly hurt and is recovering in hospital.

The wait may have unsettled the remaining floor competitors, but none were able to cope with the sheer difficulty level of Tweddle's routine.

The City of Liverpool gymnast scored 6.10 for her difficulty, alongside 8.550 for execution to give her a final score of 14.650.

Celebrating gymnast

World Gymnastics - sights & sounds

Anna Myzdrikova's difficulty level of 5.90 was as close as any other finalist could come, but the Russian gymnast finished fourth.

Australian 18-year-old Mitchell received a higher score than Tweddle for the execution of her routine, but her lower difficulty mark cost her the gold, finishing with a score of 14.550.

Sui of China executed a comparatively easy routine to perfection to claim bronze with 14.300 points.

Romania's Ana Porgras received just 14.125 for her performance, completing a miserable week for the 16-year-old, who had been hailed as a medal prospect.

The crowd booed the judges when Porgras' mark was announced, placing her joint fifth alongside United States gymnast Rebecca Bross.

Sunday is the final day of the World Gymnastics Championships, the first in the UK since 1993, and they will go down as the finest experienced by British gymnasts in many decades.

Tweddle's gold medal adds to the silver medal-winning performance of Corby 19-year-old Daniel Keatings in the men's all-around final on Thursday.

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see also
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World Gymnastics - Saturday finals
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Sloan beats Bross to World gold
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Keatings secures historic silver
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Shock fall for Tweddle at Worlds
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