By Glenys Furness

  • Ellie Downie first Brit to claim All Around title
  • James Hall claims Bronze in the male All Around
CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA – Ellie Downie makes history in Cluj-Napoca to become the first Brit to win an All Around title at a major event. James Hall takes Bronze in the men’s.

 

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Ellie Downie first Brit to claim All Around title

Ellie Downie became the first British gymnast to win all around Gold at a major championship today, as she took the title in Cluj-Napoca in the European Championships.

Downie had qualified in first place in the All Around, along with qualifying first on Floor, and Vault. The Brit also qualified for the Bars and Beam finals with sterling performances. Today saw the All Around final and Downie was not the favourite for the title.

Following on from qualifying the Brit started strongly on the vault scoring an impressive 14.566 and in early medal contention, as she placed second out of the gymnasts on this piece. Downie followed this up with another good performance on the uneven bars. Improving on her score from qualifying the Brit again scored well with 14.300.

There was a heart stopping moment on the beam as Downie fought hard for her double spin, importantly the Brit managed to say on the apparatus and then nailed the dismount and landing. The wobble cost her in terms of score, but 13.066 was enough to keep her in silver medal position going into the final rotation.

With the small gap of 0.4 to overhaul on the floor Downie went into this apparatus as the favourite, she had qualified for the final of the apparatus in first place. The Brit had the advantage over the other medal contenders. By no means would anything be a foregone conclusion, anything can happen in gymnastics. Downie needed a strong routine to keep up the challenge. Nailing the first big tumble and with full crowd clapping along to every beat, it looked to be going well.

Downie once again had to fight to hold on with the second tumble, but the third was about as perfect as you can get as she stuck the double pike. There was a wait of what seemed like years before the score came in, and when the confirmation that Britain had their first all round Gold medalist, Downie was overcome with emotion.

Alice Kinsella also took part for GB in the all around, and finished an impressive 10th in her first year as a senior and her first major event. Kinsella nearly finished in the top eight, but a fall on the beam put paid to that, a good showing at your first International regardless.

James Hall the 2017 English all around champion proved that British Gymnastics is still growing. Starting well on floor and pommel Hall saw others falter, giving him a glimmer of a medal. Calmly and confidentially the Brit performed on all the pieces. With consistent scoring on rings, vault and parallel bars Hall found himself in real medal contention.

The Brit finished with one of his strongest apparatus, the high bar. Hall went for broke, with several daring release and catch elements in the routine. Aided by his other performances, the Brit found himself on the podium in his first major international. Mixing it with the likes of Oleg Verniaiev (GOLD) and Artur Dalaloyan (SILVER) Hall was almost speechless about what he achieved.

Joe Fraser had also qualified for the all around, another in his first year as a senior. Going in with no pressure and just looking to improve on qualification, Fraser impressed as another with no mistakes on the pieces, and finished a very respectable fifth.

Individual apparatus finals continue tomorrow – coverage on BBC2 from 13.30.

 

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