Team GB’s star of the European Games James Heatly wins his third medal in as many days in Baku. Shooter Amber Hill secures gold and Olympic qualification after a nail-biting shoot-off, while gymnast Brinn Bevan adds a bronze medal to the cause. Here’s our round-up of day eight in Baku.
Hat-trick hero Heatly completes the set in Baku
Skeet gold and a Rio quota spot for Amber Hill
Brinn Bevan comes of age with pommel horse bronze
Joe Joyce makes light work of super heavyweight opener
Archer Slater targets the top 16
Heatly completes the set with 3m springboard gold
James Heatly saved the best until last today, adding European Games gold to his silver and bronze after triumphing in the men’s 3m springboard in Baku.
Heatly had already taken 1m springboard bronze, 3m synchronised springboard silver from his time in Azerbaijan and his confidence was evident as the 18-year-old from Edinburgh ended on 541.65, more than 18 clear of the rest of the field.
Heatly said: “At the beginning of the event I didn’t think I would do it. But when he (Ilia Molchanov) dropped that dive (fourth dive) I thought there was a chance.
“I didn’t think I was going to win anything. I’m over the moon to win three medals, especially as I didn’t expect it.
Team GB’s Jordan Houlden finished an agonising fourth, ending with 511.90, just behind Molchanov in bronze with 520.35, while the two Millies, Hafferty and Fowler, finished ninth in the women’s 3m synchronised springboard final.
Skeet gold and a Rio quota spot for Hill
Teenager Amber Hill revealed her ability to get in the zone was the secret to her gold-medal winning performance in an astonishing women’s skeet final against Italy’s Diana Bacosi.
Bacosi hit a world record 75 out of 75 targets going into the final, but Hill, shooting second throughout, was unfazed as she forced a shoot off with the pair missing just one clay each.
What followed was an astonishing test of nerve as both performed faultlessly until Bacosi missed her 30th clay and 17-year-old Hill took full advantage to claim Team GB’s fifth gold medal of the Games.
“I’ve never known anything like it. She is an incredible shooter, she shot 75 out of 75 and to then do that in the final was incredible,” said Hill, who has consequently secured a quota place for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
“But I wasn’t going to let her win this time because I’ve been fighting so hard for this and I can’t believe it has finally happened after a bit of a rocky start to the year. I am absolutely buzzing.
“In training I get myself into a focus mode and I was just lucky that I found my rhythm. I had confidence in myself and my ability and that I had done everything I need to do in training and it paid off.
Earlier in the competition, last year’s world silver medallist Elena Allen has finished 14th in qualifying with a score of 67 – missing out on a semi-final place by four points.
In the first day of qualification in the men’s skeet competition, two-time British champion Mike Gilligan shot 72 to place 16th, while 25-year-old Jeremy Bird scored 66 and lies in 30th position.
Bevan comes of age with pommel bronze
It’s been quite the birthday week for Brinn Bevan after the gymnast capped off his Baku 2015 experience with bronze in the men’s pommel horse today.
Bevan, who turned 18 on Tuesday, is in just his first year in the senior ranks but showed no sign of inexperience when completing a stylish routine and scored 14.200 to take the bronze.
“It’s a fantastic feeling, it was a nervy final but I managed to keep it together and stay on I’m so happy,” said Bevan.
“It caps of a memorable week for me, good qualification, good all-around final and my birthday as well – a really good week all together.
“Coming in to this I didn’t expect a medal, it’s my first senior international and I’m up against the big names in our sport so to get this bronze, I’m really chuffed with that.”
Elsewhere Kelly Simm placed sixth in the women’s vault final after falling while attempting a difficult second vault and scoring 7.166.
Georgina Hockenhull was then the last Team GB gymnast to compete on day eight, finishing sixth in the beam final with 11.833, regrouping well to finish the routine after an earlier fall.
Joyce sends out a message with dominating display
Super heavyweight Joe Joyce was keen to make his mark on the European Games during his first round match and did so in style, stopping Alexei Zavatin of Moldova in the first round.
The Londoner fights again on Monday against Lithuania’s Mantas Valavicius and is in confident mood as he looks to make an impression on the other fighters in Baku.
“Everything went as planned today,” said the 29-year-old. “Hopefully everyone else will be shaking in their boots now.”
“I don’t think he (Mantas Valavicius) will cause me too many problems. He has an orthodox style.”
However, it wasn’t such good news for Team GB’s Muhammad Ali and Luke McCormack, who both saw their runs at Baku 2015 end at the last 16 stage today.
McCormack was defeated 3-0 by France’s Sofiane Oumiha, while Ali’s fight ended in misfortune when the Yorkshire boxer was forced to retire with an eye injury sustained after a clash of heads with Italy’s Vincenzo Picardi during their opening round.
Slater eyes top 16 after elimination win
Kieran Slater has his sights set on a top-16 finish when he steps back into the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium on Monday, after making light work of his first-round opponent, Russia’s Alexander Kozhin.
The 21-year-old, ranked 119th in the world, will face Turkey’s Yagiz Yilmaz next who won three bronze medals at the European Youth Championships in 2010 and admits it would be a fine accomplishment to progress further.
“I’m looking forward to the next round,” he said.
“I would love to get into the top 16, but we will have to just wait and see how far I can go.
“I was fairly confident today. I have been shooting well in the last couple of days. I just went in to enjoy it and that’s what happened.”
© Sportsbeat 2015