British gymnasts qualify first

24 May 2012 / 20:12

Great Britain's men's team enjoyed a superb day as they qualified in top spot for the team final at the European Championships in Montpellier.

The quintet of Daniel Purvis, Max Whitlock, Ruslan Panteyleymonov, Louis Smith and Kristian Thomas scored a total of 265.718 points, the top score of the day.

The competition got off to a rocky start as Purvis landed his vault and fell off the podium on to a judge, although the 2011 all-around bronze medallist revealed illness had restricted him to just three hours sleep on Wednesday night.

The fall seemed to spur Purvis on with a superb all-around display, his score of 86.764 the highest of the event, while Smith posted his highest score in any major competition when he was awarded 15.900 in the pommel, in which he is Olympic bronze medallist.

Purvis said: "I had a really bad night's sleep and was quite ill so I didn't even know if I'd compete this morning.

"On vault I had to battle to keep myself focused, I landed and ended up on the floor, I didn't know what had happened but actually it woke me up a bit.

"My team-mates, coaches and the physio were great and stuck by me and that filled me with confidence and drive to carry on and I'm really happy to have battled back and contributed to the team results - now I need rest and an ice-cream."

Smith said: "I'm quite happy and relieved with my routine but the focus is on the team, it's nice to complete it for them.

"Dan was the hero for us today, he looked like a ghost this morning and he's just smashed out his routines, he's an unbelievable guy. For the pommel final I feel good and am in good shape so let's see what happens."