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GBR junior girls win historic silver
Great Britain’s junior women's artistic gymnastics team have claimed their first ever team medal, winning silver at the European Championships in Sofia.
Ellie Downie, Catherine Lyons, Amy Tinkler, Rhyannon Jones and Teal Grindle all produced superb, composed performances combining for a team total of 165.005 points, enough for silver ahead of gymnastics powerhouse Romania (164.972) and behind Russia (168.262).
The girls showed great character to complete clean routines under pressure, demonstrating high difficulty and some eye-catching unique skills which captured the judges and the audience’s attention.
It was Ellie Downie – younger sister of Olympian Becky Downie – who led the way alongside Catherine Lyons. Both gymnasts competed on all pieces of apparatus and qualify through to Fridays “all-around” final, Ellie scoring 54.941 to place 4th and Catherine 54.932 for 5th.
The girls have plenty of apparatus finals to look forward to on Sunday morning with Ellie topping the vault rankings and joined by Amy in the final, Ellie also making the bars final with Catherine and Teal competing on beam and on floor.
Catherine summed up the teams emotion after the competition “We are all so happy and proud. To win the first ever junior team medal for the girls is a huge achievement and down to the hard work that all the girls, the coaches and support staff have put in. Our preparation was brilliant and it showed in the way we performed today. We are all just overwhelmed to have won the silver medal.”
Ellie adding “Everyone did a job for the team today. We are all so close and supported each other all the way, to hear the senior screaming for us in the crowd and see all the GB support was amazing.”
GBR women’s national coach Nick Ruddock “I’m hugely proud of the kids today. They showed a great mental toughness, particularly ending on beam and they proved they could deliver under pressure and rise to the challenge. They thrived in front of the crowd and the huge support for the GBR fans really spurred them on. It was a privilege to lead them round the competition and great credit must go to all the personal coaches, support staff parents and clubs, the team behind the gymnasts, who have done so much and worked so hard to make this result possible”
Rhyannon Jones began the competition in style for GBR, completing a clean and stylish floor routine to score 13.600. Ellie Downie powered through her high difficulty routine 13.633, executing superb tumbles with great confidence.
Catherine Lyons brought pure elegance to the floor in her beautiful routine that caught the attention of the crowd and the judges who gave her 13.800. Amy Tinkler completed a superb opening round of performances for the British girls with an equally exceptional routine, packed with difficulty to score her 13.733.
Again it was Rhyannon Jones to begin proceedings as the girls moved on to vault with a solid pass for 13.533. The remaining GBR girls all preformed two vaults as they looked to not only contribute to the team scores but also make the vault final. Catherine Lyons scored 14.066 and 14.133 with Ellie Downie and Amy Tinkler then showing incredible power to execute highly difficult vaults a class above the completion scoring Ellie 14.8 and 14.233 and Amy 14.666 and 13.9 the top two scores of the championships.
Ellie Downie and Rhyannon Jones continued Britain’s clean and composed competition as the girls moved on to bars, Ellie starting up scoring 13.600 with Rhyannon scoring 13.233.
Catherine Lyons followed suit to score 13.366 with Teal Grindle last up suffering a slight loss of swing but composing herself really well to score 12.533.
Rhyannon Jones again took the lead for the British girls on to the final piece. She had to fight all the way through her routine to control some wobbles but managed to battle through to stay clean and score 12.433. Ellie Downie grew into her routine, staying composed throughout with just a small step forward o her dismount to score her 12.908. Catherine Lyons again showed great style in her routine, scoring her an impressive 13.700. Teal Grindle finished the competition off for GBR with a superb display, very controlled under pressure with an unfortunate side step on landing to score her 13.500.
The championships continue on Thursday 14th with the senior women’s qualifications.
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Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
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photo David Cannon/Getty images