GB gymnasts stay in medal hunt

01 August 2012 / 18:34

Great Britain gymnasts Daniel Purvis and Kristian Thomas were still both in medal contention at the halfway point of the men's individual Olympic all-around final at the North Greenwich arena.

Thomas, who qualified ahead of three-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, was in seventh place with Purvis in fifth after they had competed on three of the six pieces of apparatus.

Japan's Uchimura was leading the competition ahead of team-mate Kazuhito Tanaka and Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev at the halfway stage, with the traditionally high-scoring vault still to come for Thomas.

Wolverhampton-born gymnast Thomas, often nicknamed 'Mr Consistency' due to the regularity of his high-scoring routines, was the first gymnast on the floor and had a dream start, scoring 15.566 which put him in second place after the first rotation.

Purvis, who narrowly missed out on a place at the podium in last year's World Championships when he finished fourth, began his quest for all-around gold on the pommel horse, ahead of favourite Uchimura. The Liverpool-born gymnast went clean with a solid routine of 14.266, well up on his score in qualifying.

Uchimura punched the air after landing his pommel horse routine with a mark of 15.066 - two-and-half marks above his below-par qualification performance. The 23-year-old did not make the same mistakes of four years ago when he fell from the horse twice on his way to Olympic silver.

Russian contender David Belyaskiy, the second in qualification and in the same group as Thomas, scored 14.466 on the floor with a shaky routine before top-qualifier, American Danell Leyva, wowed the crowd with a 15.366 score on the same apparatus.

Purvis then moved to rings and competed a routine packed with difficulty to score 14.800 with a step on landing while American John Orozco fell off the pommel horse, Germany's Fabian Hambuchen also struggled and Leyva faltered on his landing from the apparatus to leave them well down the rankings.

Thomas had to wait until last in the group to perform and defied all of the pressure to score 14.566 on arguably his weakest piece of apparatus. Purvis then moved to vault and watched as Uchimura nailed a precise two-and-a-half twisting leap to score 16.266 to take the lead before he landed his own 16.000-scoring vault to move briefly into third place.

On the still rings, Thomas completed a fantastic routine to score 14.633 - a good result and an improvement on all three pieces from qualification, with both British gymnasts in the top eight with three pieces of apparatus remaining.