An emotional Becky Downie insists all her hard work has paid off after her uneven bars gold capped a fine European Championships in Sofia for Great Britain’s women gymnasts.
Downie, 22 scored 15.500 to finish ahead of reigning Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina to become the second British woman after Beth Tweddle to clinch an individual European title.
Her last individual medal came at the Commonwealth Games eight years ago – a bronze on the beam – and Downie admits it had been hard to bounce back after a succession of disappointments.
“I still can’t believe it, it hasn’t sunk in I’m just really, really happy,” she said. There was a doubt in the back of my mind going for the big routine but I knew if I pulled it” off I could win the gold medal.
“To beat the Olympic champion is unbelievable but I knew it was possible; I’ve worked so, so hard on this.
“You can see the emotion when is stuck my dismount, I knew it was going to be a medal.
“Every final I’ve missed I kept having to pick myself up and sometimes you wonder if it will ever come and today it has, it’s worth very moment to have this medal.
“I can’t believe what I’ve done and what this whole group of girls have achieved this week is absolutely amazing.”
There were also other promising performances to add to Downie’s gold and the team silver on Saturday, as Rebecca Tunney finished just out of the uneven bars medals in fourth.
And 16-year-old Claudia Fragapane, at her first European Championships, placed an impressive sixth in the vault.
Now attention turns to the men’s European Championships, which will start on May 21.
© Sportsbeat 2014