Commonwealth Games 2002
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Gymnastics Friday, 26 July, 2002, 19:42 GMT 20:42 UK
England grab team title
England's gymnasts shows off their gold medals
The English team show off their gold medals

England's men's team successfully retained their gymnastics title in front of a sell-out crowd in Manchester on Friday.

The squad of five held off tough competition to win the opening gymnastics event of the Commonwealth Games.

After taking an early lead, the English athletes never looked back, leaving Canada and Australia to fight over silver and bronze popular spectator event.

They clinched the title with 162.075 points, while three-time gold medallists Canada claimed second with 161.350, and Australia trailed 2.250 points behind.

open quote
To win gold here in Manchester, in front of everybody was amazing
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John Smethurst
The triumphant team contained three of the gold-winning line-up from four years ago - Ross Brewer, Craig Heap and John Smethurst.

They were joined by Kanukai Jackson, 2002 European Championship vault bronze medallist, and Cuong Thoong, who who were in impressive form on the first full day of competition.

Smethurst sealed the win with a fine performance on the high bar, and was greeted by his jubilant team-mates moments after landing on the mat.

"It's got to be one of the best feelings of my life," said local boy Smethurst afterwards.

"Kuala Lumpur was great because it was my first major competition, but to win gold here in Manchester, in front of everybody was amazing."

Philippe Rizzo, who finished 29th in the all-round competition at the Sydney Olympic and won Australia's first ever World Championship medal, was in fine form for his country, but could not take them all the way.

South Africa, whose squad included 1998 vault gold medallist Simon Hutcheon, failed to mount a strong challenge and settled for seventh place.

It was even more disappointing for Wales, who clearly hampered by all-round champion Dave Eaton's knee injury and finished eighth with 142.525 points

The teams competed in two sessions on Friday, rotating through the six gymnastic disciplines - the horizontal bar, pommel horse, rings, floor, parallel bar and vault.

Competitors are marked by a panel of judges on their performance in each discipline.

The top 24 gymnasts from the men's team competition, up to a maximum of three per nation, have qualified for the men's all-round final on Sunday.

Qualified for all-round competition:

1. Kanukai Jackson (ENG) - 54.950
2. Philippe Rizzo (AUS) - 54.250
3. David Kikuchi (CAN) - 53.375
4. Alexander Jeltov (CAN) - 53.000
5. Baz Collie (SCO) - 51.900
6. Craig Heap (ENG) - 51.475
7. Vikas Pandey (IND) - 51.100
8. Shu Wai Ng (MAS) - 50.850
9. Dewald Laubscher (RSA) - 50.700
10. Yik Siang Loke (MAS) - 50.400
11. Jon Mutch (SCO) - 49.925
12. Wei Siang Ooi (MAS) - 49.875
13. Damian Istria (AUS) - 49.650
14. Shane de Freitas (BAR) - 49.300
15. Steve Frew (SCO) - 48.975
16. Mayank Srivastava (IND) - 48.850
17. Julian Witbooi (RSA) - 48.825
18. Christian Brezeanu (RSA) - 48.350
19. Courtney Orange (ZIM) - 48.200
20. Gareth Davies (WAL) - 48.000
21. Daniel Good (NZL) - 47.950
22. Constantinos Aristotelous (CYP) - 46.350
23. Dean Manning (WAL) - 45.375
24. Ross Brewer (ENG) - 44.300

BBC Sport's Caroline Davison
"England took the title in style"
Watch the England team
celebrate their win
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See also:

15 Jul 02 | Gymnastics
05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
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