Smith silences critics as England take double team gold

30 July 2014 / 00:21

Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith insisted he had proved a point after marking his international comeback by helping England take men’s gymnastics team gold at Glasgow 2014.

Smith took a break from the sport after winning pommel horse silver and team bronze at London 2012, and only returned in January this year with the news he was aiming to make the England team for Glasgow.

Back among the international set up once again, the 25-year-old showed he was in good form in the first day of competition on Monday, scoring an impressive 15.700 on the pommel horse.

Bettered only by teammate and European champion Max Whitlock, it helped England lead at the half way stage going into today’s vault, parallel bars and high bar action.

And while England were dealt a blow when Sam Oldham injured his ankle after his vault, the team, which also included Kristian Thomas and Nile Wilson, rallied to finish on 266.804 points, over nine clear of second-placed Scotland.

And for Smith, whose return had been criticized by some as a publicity stint, the win was particularly sweet.

“I think I’ve answered my critics – it has been a brilliant experience despite what happened to Sam,” said Smith.

“We had to concentrate on what we needed to do and it put a bit of pressure on a few of us with three scores to count but we did the job and we’ve had fun doing it.

“We love the Commonwealth Games and it has been a great experience.”

Victory handed England their first team competition win since Manchester 2002 while Scotland, made up of Dan Keatings, Dan Purvis, Frank Baines, Adam Cox and Liam Davie took home their first ever team gymnastics medal with a score of 257.603 points.

England women’s team matched the men’s achievement later in the evening, taking gold ahead of Australia with Wales taking bronze.

The team, made up of Rebecca Downie, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, Hannah Whelan and Kelly Simm, had also led at the half-way stage before holding on to gold with a score of 167.555 points.

London 2012 Olympian Whelan, 22, said: "We did have a few shaky moments out there but we have worked so hard," said Whelan.

"Coming off the back of a Europeans and going into a Worlds, we have done as much as we can do training-wise and we all felt ready.

"The way Claudia (Fragapane) finished it off was fantastic. We have all pulled our weight and I'm really proud of the way everyone has performed."

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