Team GB swimmers made a strong start to the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) winning five of the six medals available in the first swimming finals session with Abbie Wood’s (Buxton) gold medal in the 400IM the 1000th EYOF medal.
That is very lucky!” said Wood. “It could have been any number. I worked really hard to have this medal, and got a personal best by four seconds. I knew my rivals would step up in the final which really spurred me on.”
Silver medals came from Duncan Scott (Alloa) in the 400IM and Laura Stephens (Wix) in the 200m butterfly, whilst the girls and boys 4x100m freestyle relay teams finished off the session with a bronze medal each.
Scott said “I'm delighted with how it has gone so far. It was a great swim, I took almost four seconds off my personal best which is massive and tells me I'm swimming well.
“The crowd out there were amazing and to follow up the individual silver with the relay bronze straight after makes me very happy.”
Suleman Butt (Aberdeen) competed in the 200m freestyle finishing just outside of the medals in fourth place.
“It was very disappointing to finish fourth in the 200m but at the same time I swam close to my personal best,” said Butt.
“If I swim close to my personal best then I cannot be too disappointed with the end result. But third is a lot better than fourth so I'm pleased that in the relay we got a medal, although on the anchor I was not that delighted with my swim.
“That gives me a nice confidence boost to take into the rest of the week because I have a lot more events to come and I want to build on this.”
Bethany Newton (Bridgewater), Luke Gunning (Oprington), Charlie Attwood (Bridgewater) all qualified for their respective finals which take place tomorrow evening.
Gymnastic trio Nile Wilson (Paignton), Brinn Bevan (Benfleet) and Jay Thompson (Torbay) held off a strong Russian team to secure gold in the men’s artistic gymnastics (MAG) team competition. It is the first time Team GB has won gold in the MAG team competition in the festivals’ history.
“It was great fun today we started off well and just tried to keep the momentum going,” said MAG team captain Wilson.
“We’ve been training together for the last month and training really hard. We came into the competition expecting to do well, so there was a bit of pressure on us deliver. To win the gold medal feels amazing.”
GB debutant Bevan thoroughly enjoyed the experience, speaking after the competition he said: “It felt amazing to compete for Team GB, it was just brilliant.
“Having the Olympic rings on my chest added a bit of pressure because this time I was competing for Team GB not just gymnastics.
“All our hard work has paid off, we’ve been training together for the past month and the Russians are really strong, so to beat them was really good."
Thompson also made his Team GB debut after he missed the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in January due to injury.
“Today was a really good experience; the floor was my best piece today which was the one I really wanted to get right,” said Thompson.
“I had a few falls on a couple of pieces but the guys backed me up; they did a really good job of making it solid. I couldn’t have asked for anymore from my teammates Nile and Brinn."
At Jaabeurs Utrecht, the competition venue for judo at the 2013 EYOF, European Cadet bronze medallist Peter Miles (Bristol) picked up Team GB’s first medal of the festival winning silver in -55kg category.
Miles faced Georgian Erekele Arkhozashvili in the gold medal match and lost by ippon.
“The Georgian was very strong. I fought him well but I just got caught doing a technique and got held down. It’s a bit unfortunate but I gave it my all, I gave it my best shot,” said Miles after the contest.
“I was slightly nervous but also excited going into today’s competition, but it is good to have a bit of nerves. I was really looking forward to competing and getting a medal, which I managed so I am really happy.
“I had great support today; my teammates really cheered me on. So tomorrow I will be doing that for them for the rest of the week.
“My next big event is the World Championships in Miami in August. I am ranked quite high in Europe now so I am looking forward to testing myself against the Asians and Americans, hopefully I can get a good result out there.
GB’s tennis players Thomas Wright (Beckenham) and Harry Simpson (Hull) returned to the Den Hommel Tennis Centre to play their second round matches of the EYOF. Wright lost 6-0, 6-1 to the number one seed, whilst Simpson lost 6-3, 6-1.
“It was a close game and it was definitely a winnable match,” said Simpson.
“But to be fair to him he played well and probably deserved to win the match in the end.
“You learn a lot more from defeats than wins though and I will definitely be better for the experience when I go back and discuss the match with my coach.
“It was a tough game but these are the sort of matches I want to be playing in against the best players, that’s the level you want to be at to improve.”
The boys then paired up in the doubles to take on Ingimar Jonsson and Egill Sigurdsson of Iceland winning 6-1, 6-2. Unfortunately, in the girls double Eden Richardson (Ellesmere Port) and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (Reading) lost to the Polish pair 3-6, 3-6.
Team GB cyclists all competed in the EYOF time trial at the EYOF venue of Het Lin. The girls took to the roads first with Abbie Mae Parkinson (Liversedge) recording the highest place GB finish of the day finishing ninth. Teammates Grace Garner (Leicester) and Charlotte Broughton (Leicester) placed 23rd and 31st respectively.
“I'm so happy that I was in the top ten because that was my target coming into the race,” she Parkinson.
“The time trial is one of my preferred events so I wanted to do well and show what I could do and I think I did that.
“The time trials we normally do in England are a bit longer than that and we did not have time trial bikes.
“But it was great to see the level of competition, it is so strong, far stronger than I expected and some of these girls are so tall!”
The boys took to the course in the afternoon with Joe Fry (Potters Bar) finishing just outside the top ten in 11th place whilst Joe Holt (Llanelli) and Ellis Kirkbride (Carlisle) finished 36th and 43rd respectively.
“I was pleased with how it went out there, I put in a good performance considering this was not an event I expected to do well in,” said Kirkbride.
“I flagged a bit in the middle but picked myself up to finish strong and to place in the middle of the field is good.
“The standard here is very strong so I have to be pleased with how it went and will now look to Thursday.
“The road race will depend a lot on what tactics we choose for the team but it is a great chance for us to put in a good performance for Team GB.
“If we work for one of my teammates in a sprint then the podium would be great, regardless of who gets it.