Great Britain have made history winning three silver medals on the final day of the 2015 artistic gymnastics European Championships to mark a record breaking medal haul at any major championships.
Silver medals for Becky Downie on beam, Sam Oldham on high bar and Claudia Fragapane on floor added to all-around bronze for Dan Purvis and Ellie Downie, pommel gold for Louis Smith, floor gold for Kristian Thomas and bars silver for Becky Downie bring the medal tally to eight, a historic performance from the British team
The medal charge on the final day was led by Becky who having taken bars silver on Saturday looked very relaxed heading on beam. Her performance was beautifully controlled and precise, a step forward landing her double-piked dismount one of the few things the judges could deduct from as she scored 14.300 points to take the silver, Britain’s best ever beam result at a major championships.
Becky was elated afterwards saying "I knew it was possible to medal and I tried to stay calm back in the warm up back gym. I had to stay focussed and make sure I went through my routine cleanly and to take silver is amazing, I really couldn't have asked for anything more in these championships. It's been an incredible European’s for the whole GBR team were all so proud of what we've achieved, I’m so happy for everyone"
Claudia Fragapane’s smile on completing her floor routine lit up the arena. Her routine full of energy and her difficult tumble landings very well controlled, breakdance style artistry impressing the crowd and judges she scored a brilliant 14.633 to take European silver.
She was clearly delighted after "I'm really, really happy a bit overwhelmed it’s the most amazing achievement. I thought I had a chance but I had to put in good performance which I did plus I had a lot of fun. I’m so grateful for everything and to everyone who has supported me, it’s amazing I can't stop smiling"
Reigning silver medallist Sam Oldham looked confident heading on to high bar. His routine was packed with difficult skills, impressive height from the bar on his release and catch elements, the tiniest of hops on landing his dismount scored him 14.766 for his third European high bar silver.
He said after “I’m really happy. Coming in to this a final I felt a bit tired but just kept saying to myself stay focussed, go for it. For me this championship has been all about the end of a journey, from injury at the Commonwealth Games I’ve worked hard and been supported by so many people and to have this medal is amazing. Competing in the all-around was a big moment for me on Friday and this was a bonus, more than I could have hoped for considering the last 8 months, I’m really happy overall.”
The finals began with Kristian Thomas who took floor gold on day one of the apparatus finals and was looking to be amongst the medals on day two starting on vault. He took a big step forward landing his first vault scoring 14.433, whilst his double front second pass was landed well for 14.566 and an average of 14.499 for fifth place.
Joining Becky in the beam final was Claudia Fragapane who qualified for three apparatus finals at these championships. Her performance was very strong as she showed high skill level in executing her flips and leaps across the beam, one wobble and a hop on landing scoring her 13.900 to just agonisingly miss a medal placing in fourth.
15 year old British champion Amy Tinkler had waited since qualification on Wednesday to compete again in her debut major championships and she didn’t disappoint on floor. Her tumbles were hugely powerful and well controlled she looked to be revelling in the atmosphere of a full house to score 14.000.
On high bar Kristian Thomas was competing in his third final, he performed tidy release and catch moves but had to fight hard to keep momentum in change of direction near the end of his routine, dismounting with a step forward to score 14.033 for sixth spot.
With the conclusion of these championships the focus for our artistic gymnastics teams will now turn to Glasgow and the 2015 World Championships. The World Championships, taking place from 23rd October to November 1st, is the crucial qualification event for places at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As in London 2012 and the Commonwealth Games last year the home crowd support could make all the difference to our top gymnasts, tickets for the championships are on sale now at www.2015worldgymnastics.com