Britain’s male gymnasts continued their build up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with an impressive silver in the European Championships team final in Bern.
Despite being without pommel horse World Champion Max Whitlock – absent due to a viral illness – the quintet of Nile Wilson, Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Courtney Tulloch and Louis Smith all stepped up to the mark with a string of clean routines.
They had qualified through to Saturday’s final in second spot narrowly behind Russia – and while the Russians upped their game to take the title, so did the Brits to ensure they added to the silver won two years ago in Sofia, with hosts Switzerland in third.
“It was a great competition with lots of positives for us all individually and as a team,” said Thomas. “The main focus at these championships is to use them to help us be at our best for Rio and I think we can all be happy that we have done that and of course it’s great to have a medal for our country.”
Wilson opened proceedings up first on the floor with Thomas and Purvis also in action as they all bettered their qualifying scores.
Purvis and Wilson then continued on pommel alongside Smith who earned a strong 15.966 for his routine, while impressive showings on the rings from Purvis, Wilson and Tulloch saw Great Britain sit second at the halfway stage.
Thomas was the highest British scorer on the vault with 15.400 while Wilson excelled on the parallel bars with 15.966, to leave the Brits trailing Russia by just over three marks going into the high bar.
Wilson, Purvis and Thomas all dug deep but they were unable to haul in the Russians who finished on 271.378 while Britain scored a total of 268.427.
“It’s incredible and means a lot to me personally to have won the silver medal with these guys,” added Smith.
“For us to have completed 18 clean routines in qualifying and the final shows we are on track. This is very much a build-up event to Rio and we all still have more to give which is a huge positive.”
The men’s championships finish on Sunday with the apparatus finals with the women’s European Championships getting underway on Wednesday.
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