BBC Sport gymnastics

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 20:08 UK

British women qualify third at European Championships

European Gymnastics Championships
Venue: National Indoor Arena, Birmingham Dates: Women's finals 1-2 May
Coverage: Live on the BBC red button on Saturday and Sunday (Full coverage may not be available on Freeview) ; Live then short highlights on BBC Sport website (UK users only); Extended highlights on BBC2 on Tuesday 1300-1415 BST

Beth Tweddle

Live BBC coverage of the European Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham. Available to UK users only.

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport in Birmingham

Britain's women will bid to match the GB men's team silver after qualifying third for Saturday's team final at the European Gymnastics Championships.

Beth Tweddle, who is defending two titles, qualified first in the uneven bars and floor for Sunday's individual finals in Birmingham.

She said: "The boys did a magnificent job and hopefully we can replicate it."

Becky Downie qualified on bars, senior debutante Niamh Rippin on floor and Nicole Hibbert on vault.

Great Britain's men won three individual medals and team silver last weekend at the National Indoor Arena.

This weekend the focus is on women's gymnastics, in which in Britain has traditionally been far stronger.

It is rare for the women's team to be under pressure to match their male counterparts but 25-year-old Tweddle rose to that challenge superbly in her two events on Thursday.

She delivered commanding routines to far outstrip her nearest rivals in both the floor and uneven bars.

OLLIE WILLIAMS' BLOG

Opening her challenge on the floor, she scored 14.850 with a confident routine similar to that which brought her the world floor title in London last year.

However, she surpassed that with a mammoth score of 15.950 on the uneven bars, a far less successful event for her at the 2009 World Championships, where she fell from the apparatus in qualifying and crashed out.

That left her a clear 0.750 points ahead of Russian national champion Aliya Mustafina in second, who had herself dominated qualifying until Tweddle's arrival.

"I just came out to do qualifying, I needed to do what I needed to do to get through to the finals and help the team qualify," added Tweddle.

"But I'm pleased with my results today. I'll have a chill down on Friday and see what I can do at the weekend. It's a case of keeping it going and keeping myself concentrating.

"I'd love to say we've got a chance at a team medal - everyone has, at the end of the day."

Ksenia Semenova, another Russian competitor who had been Tweddle's only serious challenger for last year's European uneven bars title, pulled out of qualifying for the bars, saying: "I have had some injuries so, for the moment, it's best not to perform it."

Beth can definitely get medals; it'll be tough as a team - it could happen, we need some more strong performances and the possibility is there

Niamh Rippin

However, the 18-year-old Semenova will meet Tweddle in Sunday's individual floor final alongside Mustafina, who also reached the beam final.

Both will go up against the Britons in Saturday's team final after an impressively strong Russian team qualified in first place.

Russia scored a combined 168.325 as a team, 1.525 points ahead of second-place Romania, whose gymnast Ana Porgras led qualification for the beam, and 3.025 points ahead of Britain.

British coaches will be pleased that their charges made barely any major errors on Thursday, form that could hand them a team medal chance if it is replicated on Saturday, with the team event the focus of these European Championships.

Reaching the team podium would represent real improvement for Britain, who finished sixth at the last European team event in 2008, and narrowly failed to qualify for the Olympic final in Beijing later that year.

Downie, 18, conquered her nerves and her reputation as a gymnast liable to lose focus as she reached the bars final alongside Tweddle, qualifying in sixth.

Beth Tweddle
Tweddle recorded a fine score of 15.950 on the uneven bars

"I'm happy with today, the team did a really good job. Hopefully we can up our game a bit at the weekend," she said.

"I missed one of my connections which I'll go back and work on, and we'll see how it goes.

"I'm trying not to think too much about what the men did, and more about what we've still got to do."

Rippin and Hibbert, both making their major championship debuts as senior British gymnasts, showed glimpses of the sport's future with two years remaining for them to snatch places in the team for London 2012.

An expressive, dramatic floor routine earned Rippin, 16, a berth in Sunday's individual final, while 15-year-old Hibbert proved solid across all four sets of apparatus and squeezed into the vault final with a score of 13.800.

"I was really proud of my floor because it was my first one and I was on my feet," said Rippin, the sixth floor qualifier.

"I've not been involved in anything with a home crowd and an important championships like this.

"Beth can definitely get medals. It'll be tough as a team - it could happen, we need some more strong performances and the possibility is there."

On Wednesday, the British juniors came fifth in their team final as a dominant Russian team won European junior gold with ease, finishing nine points clear of second-placed Romania.

Of the British team, Leilah Mackenzie qualified for Sunday's junior beam final, while Mackenzie and Laura Mitchell will compete in the all-around final on Friday.

The senior team final takes place on Saturday, with senior individual finals on Sunday following their junior equivalents. There is no senior all-around event at this year's European Championships.



Print Sponsor


see also
Gymnastics results
23 Aug 05 |  Gymnastics
Keatings beats Smith to Euro gold
25 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
Keatings eyes success at Olympics
26 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
Junior GB gymnasts win gold and silver
24 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
GB gymnasts delighted with medal
24 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
GB junior gymnasts retain title
22 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
Volcano fails to halt European Gymnastics
22 Apr 10 |  Gymnastics
Keatings secures historic silver
15 Oct 09 |  Gymnastics
Gymnastics on the BBC
05 Oct 11 |  Gymnastics
Get involved in gymnastics
23 Sep 10 |  Gymnastics


related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Liverpool Echo All eyes on Beth Tweddle as she leads Great Britain at the European Championships in Birmingham - 6 hrs ago
British Olympic Association Gymnasts Qualify for Team Final at Euro Champs - 22 hrs ago
Sporting Life TWEDDLE ON FORM AS GB QUALIFY - 31 hrs ago


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.