Downie makes British history with European all-around title
Gymnastics Artistic

Downie makes British history with European all-around title

21 April 2017 / 19:13

Ellie Downie was struggling for words after the 17-year-old made history by becoming the first ever British gymnast to take all-around gold in any major international championship by winning the European title.

The Nottingham gymnast, who made her Olympic debut in Rio last summer, put in four superb performances across the vault, bars, beam and floor to finish with a total of 55.765.

It rounded off a highly successful day for the British team with James Hall having won all-around bronze in his first major senior competition.

Downie was in medal contention from the off after a strong start on the vault and bars before a nervy moment on the beam where she had to fight to stay on her double spin.

But she held her nerve, leaving her just 0.4 off first place going into the final rotation, with Downie performing on the floor.

And after a nervous wait post-routine, Downie was crowned as champion, with Alice Kinsella also finishing a credible tenth in her first year as a senior.

“I can hardly speak; I don’t even know how to start to describe how happy I am,” said Downie, who won three bronze and one silver medal at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

“It was the hardest competition I’ve ever done, after qualifying yesterday to pull it together and put in another four routines isn’t easy.

“My beam was a bit shaky and that got me worried, I didn’t watch anyone else’s floor routines I was just in my own world.

“Then once I got on the floor I just went for it, it wasn’t perfect so I was really nervous looking at the scores at the end.

“When my name came up in gold I just broke down crying. As soon as I walked out of the arena Becky ran and hugged me and she had my family back home on the phone, I couldn’t say a word I was crying so much.”

Competing alongside the likes of multiple Olympic medallist Oleg Verniaiev as well as teammate Joe Fraser, Hall showed poise and maturity through his six pieces.

English all-around champion earlier this year, Hall began strongly on the floor and pommel, before further impressive performances on the rings, vault and parallel bars.

He finished on the high bar, his strongest piece, to clinch bronze with a total score of 84.664 behind Ukrainian champion Verniaiev on 85.866 and Artur Dalaloyan of Russia in second on 85.498.

Hall said: “I’m struggling to speak right now; I can’t believe what’s just happened. I’ve performed my best-ever gymnastics when it matters on the biggest stage of my career, that’s just crazy, it’s hard to get my head around to be honest.

“My first major championships, I wanted to show the world what I could do and I can’t describe the feeling having done that. I thought to myself beforehand, ‘I’ve qualified third and I know I can be better, nothing is impossible go for it’ and that’s what I did.”

Fraser also performed strongly to finish fifth on 82.982 in his first year as a senior gymnast.

Sportsbeat 2017

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