Matt Baker presents highlights of the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships from Bulgaria, where much is expected of the GB gymnastics men.
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Last weekend saw the women take centre stage in Sofia, Bulgaria, and
what a couple of days it turned out to be.
COMMENTATOR: Greg written, silver medallists! Becky Downie is the
European Championship can hello and welcome to our second weekend of
action from the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships. I am
joined once again by six time European champion Beth Tweddle.
Lovely to see you again. Obviously you have spoken to the team since
they got back? Yes, when you are out there, it is a bit of a blur.
Whether you can achieve your goals is another thing, but the British
team achieved amazing results, obviously. I spoke to Amanda, and
she has gone from being my personal coach to being the national coach,
being in charge of it all. I think she breathed a sigh of relief. She
had seen them doing all of the hard work in training, she had prepared
them how she wanted to, and it was just a case of, would it work? The
first thing she said was, I have got to work harder, with the
Commonwealths coming up. But a bit of a break for a key Downie, who got
the gold, and her sister as well in the juniors. Yes, it was a double
celebration. Rebecca has had her ups and downs over the past couple of
years, missing out on London, but I am sure last weekend will have taken
over that little bit. I think they have had a couple of days chilling
out, and her focus will now turn to the Commonwealth Games. And a good
feeling for you, then bastion mark we all wondered what would happen to
the women's British team when you did retire. Yes, obviously, people
were thinking, where is the next medal going to come from? We always
knew that we had the talent. I was never worried about them at all. It
was nice to see those results, through next weekend. Without a
doubt. As we say, an outstanding performance from our women. The
pressure now transfers to the men, who have had plenty to smile about
at these Championships over the past couple of years.
COMMENTATOR: That is good work. That was a massive routine!
Perfect. Daniel Keatings's gold medal position... ! Great routine,
job done. Sam Oldham, silver on high bar. Max Whitlock takes gold. What
of performance from our British gymnasts. And no doubt plenty of
good bits to look forward to this afternoon as well. Let's see what is
in store. Next we will have highlights of yesterday's men's team
final. Great Britain looking to defend their title from 2012. That
will be followed by... Well, this GB team have a lot of
international experience between them, so let's hear from the famous
five that are aiming to retain the European team title.
We have all been training together for years. We have had really good
preparation, we are all experienced gymnasts, we know how to handle the
pressure. We are all looking forward to the final. We bounce off each
other so well in training. We are all so close, and training together
at Lilleshall before major competitions helps a lot. In London,
when we got that bronze, that team aspect of everything is always, for
me I think there is more depth in the squad. Obviously, we had Lewis
Smith, who was amazing, but if there was an injury, in this team, we have
people that can cover. In 2012, the French team, one of the guys got
injured on the vault, and they did not have any cover. But if one of us
got injured, anybody could step up and cover. This might not be quite
as important, but for the World Championships, there will be five up
and four scores to count, and I think that is when we can show how
much depth we have got in our country. Not many countries do that
any more, really. Individually, they are very, very strong. But for us,
we know that we are a really strong team as a unit together. We have
seen them training day in, day out, and they have got some big skills.
It is going to be close. Coming into 2012, we knew we had a shout of
winning the gold medal, but that was not the aim. This time around, our
aim is to retain that title. We know how everything is going to go, we
know the order off by heart. We are really confident going into this.
The last Europeans I did was 2010, when we got the silver medal. I have
not got the team gold yet, so I want to get that and defend the title.
For those that are new to the scoring of this, it is made up of
two things, difficulty and execution. As far as that is
concerned, we have some of the most difficult routines in Europe, but
how do you maintain that consistency? It is difficult, you
are thinking, do I go for the extra difficulty, and accept the risk? But
our lads are experienced, they have all been in this three up, three to
count situation when the pressure is on. It is a question of what is best
for the team, who do we put up, what order do we put them up? And it is a
long way around, when you have got six pieces, 18 performances in
total. Yes, if there is one mistake, it is about getting the team spirit
back together and sorting it. Talking of which, the only
difference really between the Olympic team and what you see here
is the replacement of Lewis Smith with Daniel Keatings. We know that
Lewis is back in training and aiming for a place on the Commonwealth team
for England. This was him just a couple of months ago, and looking
good. But like the lads were saying, if you do pick up an injury, you
need another member on your team to be able to cover that. And
unfortunately, at the moment, Louis is not able to cover all of those.
Well Daniel has six European medals, is a good man to have in the team!
This is how it is going to work. You have got eight teams, great Britain
qualified top, almost three marks ahead of Russia, a very strong team
in themselves, but who made a few errors on the day. Ukraine qualified
third, and the Netherlands qualified sixth, making their first team
final, ahead of Germany, who were team champions back in 2010. Let's
have a look at the five gymnasts who are competing for Russia and
Ukraine, Team GB's biggest rivals. The most powerful gymnast I think in
Europe, Ablyazin, he will be outstanding. You have got lots of
others is well, like Belyavskiy. Really making to look their mark.
Then, Ukraine, well, they were pushed out of the medals in the
Olympics in 2012, with Britain getting the bronze. It was touch and
go whether this team would make it, because they were short of funding,
but they managed to get the money together, and here they are. The
countries are working in pairs, with Ukraine competing alongside Britain.
They are going to be starting on wings, and that is where we will
begin our highlights. Over to Christine Still and Craig Heap in
our commentary box. CHRISTINE STILL: Up first for Great
Britain, Max Whitlock. CRAIG HEAP: Into the swinging
elements, very nice, into the crucifix position. Held for the
required team. Time. Forward long swing. Great style in
the handstand. Working well. Just need to hold the form. Double
twisting, double back! Oh, a roll on dismount, that will be costly for
Max Whitlock. That will be very expensive one hallmark deduction for
the fall. It was such a shame, it was a lovely routine. He is the
current British champion, and he was the previous year as well, and he is
usually a really solid competitor, as he is showing here. Very good
style, very good control. But this, the double twisting double Tuck, a
very difficult dismount and he just did not open up in time to land. .
That is the fine balance on the rings, being able to control, and
then it is the swinging element. That puts the others under pressure.
From Holland, Jeffrey Wammes. Highest ever guilty, very powerful
gymnast. And coming to the pommel horse, for Russia,
Nikolai?Kuksenkov. Straight into the single legwork. Good control into
the handstand. Into the Wendy swing. This is great
difficulty, travelling along the horse. Travelling back down the
horse. Keeping the momentum. Well, great start from the young Russian.
Very solid performance. Never really looked in danger at all, looked
totally confident. Really good work here. Clearing the pommel horse
easily, showing good amplitude, good extension. Good start. And Jeffrey
Wammes, a good piece to start on, the vault, it is quite high-scoring.
The final gymnast for Russia. He gets on with the job. A bit of a
loss of form. Again, travelling down the horse. Down and up across the
handles. Combining the travels, to build the difficulty. Up into
handstand. A little bit laboured on that dismount. Not the cleanest
routine. Good style, feet well locked together. Very happy gymnast.
Anything over 14 is a good school, anything over 15, exceptional. Next,
the big rings specialist Igor Radivilov. Look at this for
strength. Flat as a pancake. Into the Malteseno deviation in the
shoulders whatsoever. And without salute these. Suddenly and with
absolute ease. Solid in the handstand. Great into the inverted
crucifix. He wind it up. Double twisting
double back. Nailed to the floor. What a routine! Almost unbelievable
strength, to just lift and hold your body like that. Then the double
double, really cleanly performed. Great stuff. Radivilov, fantastic
performance. The Netherlands are top, they started an vault ahead of
Ukraine. Daniel Purvis on the end of the
runway. He knows Great Britain need a steady showing here.
Very nicely done indeed. Beautifully down the centre. Stratospheric vault
for Dan Purvis. I think he struggled in qualification with the vault, but
that was spot-on. Two and a half twists, nearly nailed the landing.
Dead in the middle, one step to the side. He will be delighted with
that. He made a bit of an error on the vault in qualification. That's a
good start for the British guys. Sam Oldham is the next gymnast out
for Great Britain. 5.6 difficulty. Good two and a half. Just
shuffle on landing. Lovely style. This is what vaulting is all about.
That was absolute textbook technique and quality. Really difficult to do
the two and a half twists. It's a blind landing. If you don't get your
head round in time... Just look at this, powers on, wraps in, legs
glued together. Superb! Look at the height. Spot the flaw. We will have
some of that! Not too many deductions on that.
Kristian Thomas. He really needs to be controlled here.
Just a tiny bit short. Just perhaps a little bit too controlled. He will
have crunched his ankles a little bit there. Walking just a bit
gingerly back. That will be a costly mistake for Christian. -- Kristian
Thomas. The same start a lot of gymnasts are
favouring. Circle to Maltese, back-up to Maltese. The highest
difficulty we have seen so far. And he can swing. Look at that.
Yamawaki, back up rise to the top plunge. And another circle round to
the crucifix. This is unbelievable strength. Great
line in the handstand, locks out there. There is a backward long
swing. Double twisting, double back
straight. Well, what a performance! A really solid routine there. Really
powerful performance. He is the second gymnast up for Russia. The
first gymnast scoring high. This is a very strong piece for the Russian
team. They qualified top on it. Lovely dismount. Kristian Thomas,
very disappointed with himself. Abliazin, a massive score, the
highest we've seen today so far. Here we see Alexandra Balandin.
Great strength, straight through the crucifix.
Yamawaki, back-up to the Maltese. A lifting of the head there.
Can he control the handstand? A slight flicker. Full twisting double
straight. Slight hop back on the landing but another fantastic
performance from the Russian team. Wow, Russia have linked together
three scores all over 15. After two rotations, Russia have taken the
lead. Unfortunately, we didn't see the vaults from the Ukraine, but
they pushed on and vaulted well into second place.
David Belyavskiy knows he needs to fault really well here.
He does it beautifully. The Tsukahara, the double Tsukahara. He
came out of that exactly the right time. Look at the power. Strikes the
front of the horse, wraps in two and a half, opens out, perfect! That
should go well into the 15s. It does. That won't harm the Russian
total at all. Abliazin nominating a six difficulty.
Slightly off-line, but look how long and high that vault was. That was
into the rafters! Technically better than the one before.
15.366. Abliazin really superb vaulting. Sam Oldham for Great
Britain. He is to settle his nerves and keep composed. Come on! Into the
handstand. There is the under somersault with a half turn. Under
somersault again. Into the upper arm, back up rise to the handstand.
Long swing double back, highest difficulty. Great height above the
bars. Another Healy turn. Come on, hold it
steady. Double pike. Just what we needed. Good routine from Sam
Oldham. Steadied his nerves, there were just a couple of occasions
where a little flutter... But he fought on through. He is such a
stylish gymnast. Really controlled himself well. He fought well.
Epke Zonderland for the Netherlands. Olympic champion goes to the high
bar. Full twisting straight over the high
bar. And talked. And into the Gaylord. Combine in these skills
gives you the maximum bonus that the squat half. Into the
handstand. One and a half Rob Balko. Beautiful line.
He's winding up. Launches into a double twisting double straight.
Fantastic! So difficult to link all these difficult moves one after the
other. That was the double twisting
dismount. He is so aware of where he is. And delighted! Epke Zonderland,
15 point 633. A massive score. Daniel Keatings, our first look at
Daniel Keatings today. Dare I say it, one of his favourite pieces of
apparatus. Front somersault from upper arm,
into the handstand. Under somersault, under somersault
half-tone. Into the long swing. Under somersault to one railing
handstand. Beautiful control. He needs to stick the dismount.
Fantastic performance there from Daniel Keatings. Absolutely
delighted. He can actually do a more difficult routine, and I'm just
wondering if the coach has said, we need this one in the bag. He's a
really beautifully stylish gymnast, legs locked together, extension
through the shoulders in all the handstand phases. The Healy finish
really well. Big, strong dismount. What a team performance just when it
was needed. For Daniel Keatings' 15.2 on parallel bars. A super
score. Straight into the front somersault,
swinging into the hands aren't. -- handstand.
Gymnasts must perform moves above and below the bars.
Nice, solid, clean routine. Not the highest difficulty we will see
today, but a very steady and assured performance. This is very classy
work. The gymnast from Ukraine are always very well-prepared. Big
history of gymnastics in their country. They've always got lovely
technique. They are building on their score.
Verniaiev for Ukraine. Strong start, using the same front
somersault. He did well there. Into the Healy.
Massive difficulty. Double front half term dismount.
Originality and difficulty to boot! Here we are, Russia top, Ukraine
into second place. The Netherlands leapt ahead of Great Britain. We
have two marks to make up if Great Britain want to defend their title.
The first gymnast on the high bar for Great Britain, Max Whitlock.
There is the Healy turn, using different grips. Needs a good
discount. Step forward on the landing. Will be costly, half a
mark. On the parallel bars for Russia, Nikita Ignatyev.
Into the front up arise double back. Very difficult. Double back from
support. Really packing in the difficulty. That is the Diamadov.
Stutz. Front our prize. Double front somersault to finish. Very unusual
dismount. Very laboured routine. Max Whitlock, 14.266 - costly, but not
disastrous. Onto the parallel bars. Straight in, very clean. Under
somersault, slight wobble, controlled it well. Settling into
the routine, high difficulty work. Into the handstand. A little bit
early on the Stutz. Double pike front. Hop forward on
landing, not the cleanest routine we have seen from young David
Belyavskiy. I continue that Kristian Thomas has performed well on the
high bar, for 14.866. Sam Oldham for Great Britain. Final gymnast on the
high bar. 15 in qualification. We need it now. Lovely stretch into the
long swing. Full-time, fantastic! Come on, hold this together. Into
the straight catch. Lovely height. And there is another. Catch and half
turn, Healy turn. Good solid performance. Linking those moves
Ford difficulty. Winding up into the dismount. Kicks up high above the
bar! Double twisting double back straight! Great performance from Sam
Oldham, just when it was really needed. Russia are keeping their
nerve. So, Maksym Semiankov knows he wants to give a really good
performance here. Style and easy swing he has started with. Oh,
lovely high half-time. Takes the extra upstart rather than trying to
swing out. Really understands that position well. Swung beautifully
from it. Gymnasts swing forwards and backwards. Pops the full pirouette
very nicely indeed. Increasing the speed so that he can do a lovely
double straight with full twist. Very classy, very nice, but not the
hugest difficulty, and that is obviously their problem. Yes, super
there, Christine. Needs a good performance.
Originality is nice to see. Forward long swing. Slightly off-line,
recovers well. Very difficult in the mixed grip. Winds it up. Happy with
that. Good difficulty, not quite such great style as his team-mate.
But he is an exciting gymnast. In fact, exciting work here. That I
liked very much. Spots the landing well. Has defied to hold it, but he
saw the floor early, you could see that. Semiankov, the judges liked
his style. Not a bad set of scores. Much better than in modification
therefore Ukraine. -- than in qualification there for Ukraine.
And here, Dan Purvis, the first gymnast on the floor exercise for
Great Britain. Double twisting double back, as nonchalantly as you
like, made it look easy. One and a half in two double twisting front,
little bound on landing. Lots of energy. Double twisting front. He
spun it so well. And then the two and a half into the front room. --
into the front full. This has been a really good piece over the years for
Daniel Purvis. He knows he has got to be precise. That's the trademark!
The roll-out, without having to put his hands down. We have had some
great tumbling. You can see him really harnessing the concentration.
This final. Needs to be successful. There is the squat half, very nice.
Into the Katchev with half-time. Into the Markelov, showing nice
distance from the bar. Interesting swing, backwards around the bar. And
out. Showing great originality. There is the hop full. Full twisting
double back. Nailed the dismount. You can see why he is such a great
all-round gymnast. And he will build on the score put down by his
team-mate, I expect. He catches in that mixed grip and creates a
half-time. Quite a quiet finish, just a full twist in the double
straight, but he gave nothing away on the landing. 14.6 four Sarcevic.
-- for Belyavskiy. From South Essex, Max Whitlock. Can he
reproduce his qualification form? What a fantastic full twist into two
and a half twists forwards! And another really difficult twisting. .
This a bit of pommel horse on the floor. A little bit of break dancing
as well. Lots of virtuosity lifts that routine! All that activity, and
then the control of the handstand. You can see the focus. So difficult,
all these tumbles. Some any twists in this routine. -- so many twists.
Finishes with the big triple. What a routine! British guys are really
coming into their own on the floor exercise. So, Kuksenkov. Jumps up
without the coach. Winds up. Great catch, full twisting. This is great
work. Hop full one and a half, but of a loss of form in the legs. That
is the Katchev half-time. Full turn on one arm. Into another release
Markelov, little bit late there on that one. Needs to keep it going to
the dismount. Full twisting double back straight. Very nice work from
Kuksenkov. Interestingly, he was part of the team for the Ukraine in
the 2012 Olympics, and has moved nationalities, now working for
Russia, strengthening their team considerably.
And Max Whitlock, 15.7. Wow! That is some score. And 14.833 four
Kuksenkov. Coming to the floor, Igor Radivilov, a really powerful
gymnast. We are used to seeing him very successful on the rings, but he
can. Good awareness in the air. Super height.
This should be easy for him. So wide, his arms, his head could only
just creep under for the roll. Are difficult, big final tumble.
That was a very nice half in, half out with a full twist, he made that
look very easy. Radivilov there. Very clean opening. The roll-out
smooth. And very well double twisting double tuck. The gymnasts
performing such difficult tumbles on this lovely floor.
Two and a half twisting forwards. He's showing good versatility. Good
twisting, good multiple somersaulting.
The specification of the floor, springs under the floor have been
changed a little bit recently. It is very bouncy. The trick is to control
the landings, though. The triple twist. They are almost
becoming commonplace. Really very nicely flighted. Good routine.
Ukraine putting the pressure on. So, Britain are pushing up there.
They are chasing the Russian Federation.
It Mutai starts proceedings on the floor.
Quick, fast, exciting. A tough gymnast. He has been really
workmanlike throughout this competition.
Double twist, quite simple. Needed to be perfect in landing. It was. A
little bit more difficult finish. Two and a half, a little bit
quieter. He was pleased with that but not huge difficulty there. He
powers in. That's the double twist into the full twist. Foot out and on
the line. That will be a deduction. Lovely flair work, great extension.
Dan Purvis, our first gymnast up for Great Britain.
Great Britain handing a mark on those first two performers. Daniel
Keatings steps to the pommel horse. He can be brilliant on this but he
can be edgy as well. Still the current European champion on this
piece of apparatus. We need that performance right now.
There is the Stockli work. Steps down into the triple Russian between
the handles. Very difficult. Up into the handstand. Yes!
Fantastic performance, thrilled for Dan Keatings to produce that.
Faltered in qualification and hasn't made the final, but that was a
routine when needed. Belyavskiy from Russia, the top
individual gymnast around. Can he do the job for the team as well? Double
straight with full twist. A little bit of a hop, not quite sure if the
flag went up for the foot out. A little bit bouncy in the
handstand. He kicks out of that very well
indeed. Two and a half twist into front full
and jumps out. He's really been very good on the landings. This is final
challenge. Triple twist, fantastic performance from Belyavskiy. They
are fighting hard to get their title back, these young Russian gymnasts.
The final gymnast in this team final for Great Britain, Max Whitlock.
On the one handle, he's gone for the most difficult start possible. Great
control. Up into the handstand. Back down into a spindle on the end. Full
spindle, there it is. Great technique. Look how close his hands
are together. Into the triple Russian. Circling up into the
handstand. With the pirouette. What a performance!
That is a big score for Belyavskiy. Abliazin, the final gymnast for
Russia on the floor in this team final.
Double twisting double straight. You won't see much more difficult than
that. All that! Two and a half twist into
double front somersault. The code requires balanced to the
routine, not all just dynamic tumbling.
Double Arabian, big step. He rushes along to the next tumble. Two and a
half twist into full turning front. He has packed so much in, he's
worked so fast. An immaculate triple twist. They
think that is enough to take the title back from Great Britain. Max
Whitlock, 16.2. Wow, that is an immense score!
15.833. It's enough. Russia in first place. Great Britain in second at
the moment. Russia feel fairly confident no one is going to catch
them. Their best pommel worker, 15.2 in
qualification. A very powerful gymnast, lots of
control, circles well. There is the Stockli. Flock sequence.
Travels along the horse. Stockli into the handles. Wind it up into
the handstand, full pirouette. Solid performance there. Smiles all round.
Very nice, controlled work. Lovely style. I like this guy is a gymnast,
he's quite complete, he's good on every apparatus.
Silver medallists, Great Britain. Fantastic team. We had a few errors
at the start and left ourselves with a bit too much to try to catch
Russia. It's the character we've shown to fight back and get even
into medal contention after a pretty rough start to the competition, that
shows the true character and grit of the team. We will use this as a
stepping stone for the World Championships at the end of the
year. Good on the P-bars today, I got the feeling you might have
expected a better score on the pommel, though. Yeah, I would have
liked a higher mark. You just have to take it. It wouldn't have made a
difference to the overall outcome of the school today. I've just got to
take it on the chin. Today we showed what a team we are. We can have
mistakes individually and those mistakes are as a team. When we
win, we win as a team. I'm really proud of everyone today. We know
what mistakes we made, we will use this as a stepping stone to get
back-in the gym and work on what we might have done. When the next
European comes around we can fight for that gold again. Dan, a silver
is still a great result for the team. It's fantastic. Fighting back
from a bit of a rough start, it showed great determination. Going
into the competition, it's been the first time all the expectation has
been on us, so that the something that is really good and we will have
to learn from it going into the World Championships. That is the
very point, experiencing something that they've never, ever experienced
before. It's a very different ball game when
you are going into the competition after racing -- reigning champion.
What is the key, because you learnt that very young? It is very
difficult, it's trying to put the pressure out of your mind. Those
guys were focused on going for gold. It wasn't a case of just going for a
medal. The one thing they wanted, and you can tell by their
interview, they were quite disappointed they hadn't picked up
the gold, even though it's such an amazing result. Russia would just
outstanding. Thinking of that on the world stage, they would have medals
at the World Championships easy with that. They had their mistakes in
qualification and turned it round in the team final. Unfortunately, we
did it the other way round. It's the best I've seen Russia for a long
time. Britain has still got to be so proud of themselves. Exactly. There
is still plenty to look forward to from Bulgaria this afternoon, as we
turn our attention is to the apparatus specialists.
British double-header, can Daniel Purvis improve on his 2010 bronze
medal and will Max Whitlock retain his European crown? Max circled his
way to the top of qualifying, but can he beat six time European
reigning Olympic champion? Look out for...
The most decorated gymnast in parallel bars history, can he make
at five European titles? A mouthwatering finale. Ambush and
takes on the gold medallist, Epke Zonderland. But can Britain's some
old spoil the party? So, lots to look forward to. Me way be watching
hot competition among the European elite today, but the grassroots
scene is thriving as well. Britain's only gold medallist from Sochi,
Lizzy Yarnold, went to London to investigate.
Growing up playing sport can mean immense joy. But getting teenagers
involved can be difficult. British gymnastics are putting the emphasis
on sport with a smile. What we decided to do inset temblor
was to introduce eight club within a club, it
was to introduce eight club within a teenagers, and they take ownership
and empowerment over what happens in the sessions. It is social, it is
fun, they have a say in what they achieve. The coaches are more
friendly, you can relate, it is like you meet friends and you can
socialise. A lot of them, if they were coming to a normal gymnastics
session, I do not know how their personality would be suited to the
session. We try to be something a bit different to the club. People
are expecting a lot more structured classes, more strict, so I try to
have a bit of banter with the kids, try to get on their level little
bit, have a bit of fun, and that normally works well. That is really
good, I am really enjoying it. I come every Friday. The children tend
to come from the local estates, some of them also come from quite
affluent backgrounds, so there is a mix and balance, which is what
creates the community. It makes me want to have a go! Just have a go,
that is what it is all about. I might split my trousers!
A lot of the fun here is, it is pretty much work and fun at the same
time. It is amazing watching these guys. I remember back when I was
training in village halls, doing the horrible circuit training, but
knowing that it would make you a better athlete. They are
inspirational. Do they do adult classes? That is
what we want to know, isn't it? You are never too old to start. It is
good to see that relaxed approach to gymnastics. Yes, obviously, you do
not have to be at the elite level. Without the grassroots level, you
will never pick up the future champions. It is so nice to see kids
going out and having fun, and you can use it for any other sport.
Sometimes it is so difficult, isn't it, to motivate teenagers. It is a
difficult stage in your life, your body is changing, peer group
pressure... In the past few years, at least we have got role models
now, the younger generation have got people to look up to, and it is
constantly in the eye of the public. And it is sport as a lesson for
life, you put in the effort and you will get a result, which is an
important message, isn't it? It is, and not just in sport. If you work
hard, you will get the results. I believe I would not be where I am
today if it was not for gymnastics. And who knows where the future goes
for you, hey? On the floor, we have two representatives, Dan Purvis and
defending champion Max Whitlock. two representatives, Dan Purvis and
am really looking forward to the floor final. To win it for the first
time last year was amazing. You have moved it on a little bit from last
year's routine? Yes, I have changed it just slightly, to make it more
risky, but hopefully I can pull it off. All round I have done pretty
well over the years. It has been great, but also trying to get a name
for myself on the floor has been a dream of mine. Individually, you
will be up against the defending European champion, Max, how much are
you looking forward to that? It is good, Max's routine looks so
consistent, with a slightly higher start value than mine as well, so he
has got a good chance. Anything for me would be a bonus, to get even a
bronze would be fantastic, just to get my name back out there on the
floor. So, Max and Dan are the last two gymnasts up in this section. It
is worth mentioning that Kristian Thomas would also have made that
final, but you are only allowed two gymnasts pro country. We have got
the Russian in doubt, who upped his qualification score from the team
final. A reminder that Max is the current joint European floor
champion, and he shares that's title with the first gymnast we are about
to see here, Alexander Shatilov. Over two Christine Still, Alison
Mitchell and Craig Heap. Mitchell label and here is. You can
just see the second tumble was higher than the first, and he gave
himself plenty of time to complete all those twists. Lovely double
double, saw the floor, met it perfectly. Two twists, another full
twist, using every centimetre of the floor area. Quite a tour gymnast.
And that is lovely work, isn't it?! A little bit of virtuosity. Is one
of the few gymnasts but when he rebounds from one tumble to the next
really lifts higher each time. One-and-three-quarter, the only
error really, he did not extend his legs fully there. Not really an
error, more a style thing. Here he comes, big final tumble.
error, more a style thing. Here he little bit deep on landing. But such
fabulous work. Some really quirky originality in there. Into the
two-and-a-half, linking those moves. Double double with lots of height.
As you say, Christine, spots the floor well in advance. There is the
double twist. 15.233 in qualification - will he go better?
15.4 puts him at the top of the leaderboard, the person to beat.
Now, Denis Ablyazin of Russia, something of a vault and rings
specialist. But he was a medallist on the floor at London 2012.
CHRISTINE STILL: And he is a really busy gymnast, he really races around
the floor. He makes an enormous number of tumbles. That was one of
the most difficult tumbles you are likely to see. And that was a
fantastic combination. Jams his toes in there, not giving
anything away. Like the rings specialist he is,
makes that look easy. Powerful and dynamic.
Big double Arabian offer jump. We are seeing such enormous tumbles
here. Every single one landed with ease. He just needs to concentrate
right through to this finish. Triple twist, just a step back, but that
was fabulous floor worked. So dynamic, so exciting.
CRAIG HEAP: Phenomenal floor work there from the young Russian,
absolutely jam-packed with difficulty. He runs into a
two-and-a-half twist. Stratospheric! And this tumble here, well, back in,
double twist out, the highest difficulty. Unbelievable tumbling.
And then again, there is the double twist,
And then again, there is the double front. To connect those tumbles
gives the gymnast massive, massive points. And then finishes,
two-and-a-half, easily. For me, that is the one to beat. Well, all that
power has earned him a 15.7, rocketing him into first place -
what a performance. Next up, from Greece, former world champion on the
floor in 2010 Kosmidis, European champion in 2012. He specialises in
the floor exercise. Good combination to start with.
And another super tumble, one and a half twist, Punch, double front.
But he gave a little push of his feet there.
And that is a little deduction the judges will not have missed.
Two-and-a-half twist, front full. The gymnasts practice their landings
so much, and you can see the reason why. Under pressure like this, they
need to be sure they know exactly where the floor is. What is he going
to show us at the end? Full twisting double back, and he held that really
excellently. Wow, that was a battling performance. What a floor
final this is turning into. A really well-controlled routine. He pushes
into the double twist, into the one and a half - not a murmur. Into the
double front, kicks out. There we go, that is the two-and-a-half
twist. If anywhere, he snatched a little bit into that full twist, but
yet again, perfect landing. It is not enough to put him top of
the leaderboard, but he goes into second. I think he well, Max
Whitlock became Great Britain's first-ever European floor champion
when he won joint gold last year. Can he defend his title? He has
watched the opposition, he knows he needs a big performance here. He is
a fabulous twister, see if you can count them. Front somersault, into a
two-and-a-half. Already pushing the way. Three and a half, into a front
half, and he landed with one foot out, and that will be costly. Lovely
work on the floor, very exciting. Super control. Good body shape.
One-and-three-quarter, rolls out smoothly. Another big tumble here.
Two-and-a-half, into one and a half. This is how he increases his
difficulty. The combinations added together, needs this big finished on
it triple twist, that was clean, that was great! -- needs this big
finish. That was a hugely complex tumble. He really can twist. Look at
this, three and a half. Fantastic flexibility in the flare work as
well. He really does pack in the difficulty, combining the twisting
elements, really great kick out there in the roll-out. The judges
will be looking for that. He nails the landing.
Not enough for a medal today for Max Whitlock. The penalty stepping out
has cost him. All eyes now on Dan Purvis. Can he get in amongst the
medals? Super start, super landing. One and
a half into the double twist front. He opened out really well of the
double front. What a landing that is!
Daniel, a very good, all-round, strong gymnast.
That is beautiful. He doesn't need to use his hands on the roll-out.
Everyone knows this is a very complex, difficult tumble.
Into the double Arabian, blind landing and he nailed it. Superb
routine. That might just be his performance of the championships on
the floor. Fantastic. Double front, there. There was a step but that's
only 0.1. Two and a half, full twist. There is the roll-out, great
control there. No deductions and a massively difficult final tumble,
the Whip salto into the double tucked Arabian. He needs 15.4. More
to get into the bronze medal position. He's there!
There will be a medal for Great Britain in the floor final. Dan
Purvis with a joint bronze. Great to see Dan Purvis back on the
podium. His first major medal on the floor since he took bronze at the
world and euros on this apparatus in 2010. I'm really pleased with it.
Hopefully I can sustain it for the World Championships. If I was on the
British team I would want him beside me.
He bangs it out in training and he does the same in competition. He has
had a couple of years where he is maybe not been at the forefront of
the team but still picked up those team medals. It's nice to see him
getting that individual medal. And it is one up for Scotland, looking
ahead to the Commonwealth Games. Slight disappointment for Max, with
his foot out on the floor. But he was hoping to add to his medal
tally. Let's look at it, it's remarkably impressive on the
international scene. He is not just picking up one medal
at a time at a Championships, he's got the potential for the all-round
team. He is a massive potential for 2016. 21 years old. His target is
Lewis Smith's medal tally of 13. He still got quite a way to go to beat
yours of 20! But he still got a lot of years left in him. We will see.
The future is looking incredibly bright and strong for Great Britain.
Dan Keatings is the current European pommel horse champion. In fact, he's
won that title twice. But in qualification things really didn't
go according to plan. This is his equivocation routine.
He ended up qualifying in 13. You just saw then he had the leg
separation, the bent leg. Unfortunately, that can be enough to
put you out of a final in this top-level game. Unfortunately, you
can see he was very disappointed with that. He knew he had to carry
on fighting for that team but that face says it all. It's the story of
what could have been, so no transfer him to retain his title. But Great
Britain do have the highest qualifier in Max Whitlock. In the
team final he posted an enormous 16.2. Here are Dan's thoughts on
Max's difficulty. It's the hardest in the world, 17.4. There's quite a
big difference between the next guide to him. If he goes through his
routine like we've seen him in training, he's got every chance of
taking the title. It's a really long routine, he's worked really hard on
his fitness and stability. It's looking really good and I'm quite
excited for the final. This routine, it's hard. Guess, it's a
hard start and the skills are risky in there. I'm going all out. I want
to keep that up for the final. You have to have a high start score to
compete with these guys, Krisztian Berki, Olympic gold medallist. They
are world-class. There are some strong people in that final. Let's
look at the strong gymnast in this final and see where everybody is
going. First up on pommel is Bertoncelj of
Slovenia, bronze medallist in the Europeans in 2010. Start
straightaway into the single legwork.
A very nice move on one handle there. Building up into the
wendeswing is on the one handle. Really build the difficulty there.
Wu travel into the full spindle. Nice start.
they are going to have to do something special, when you start
with a good performance it often goes right the way through the
final. Lovely style. I love that on the one arm.
The aim is to hold the body as straight as possible, with the heels
up hide behind, hands in line. You can see he's really got a good
style. All these finalists will have good style, they won't have got
through to the final without. A little bit of a bend of the elbows,
there will be a deduction. He does improve his qualifying
score, he'll be pleased with that. Now we have a former Olympic silver
medallist. It is Ude, 27 years of age. Straight into the single leg
scissor work, great extension there. Lots of amplitude on the circles, up
into the handstand. There was a pause there. The highest difficulty
work there. There is the wendeswing in the middle between the handles.
Really difficult pommel work here. There is the Wu travel. He's off!
What a shame! That was such a virtuosity and amplitude there. He
was going for broke in that routine. Packed with difficulty. He can be
temperamental on these big occasions. He qualified in second
place, he was a real medal chance. Back-in there. Fantastic extension
on those circles. Lots of clearance on the Magyar travel. There is the
full pirouette. Real disappointment there because some of that work was
really very special. It is such a taxing apparatus. You
have to keep absolute control of the body all the time through. All the
great work is spoilt by the fact that if you fall off, the judges
just take one mark away. There are no ifs or buts about it.
Not what he was hoping for today. Could this be the man, then, to
challenge for gold? The living legend of the pommel horse, six time
European champion, two-time world champion and the reigning Olympic
champion, Krisztian Berki. This will be phenomenal.
The amplitude in the legs there, up into the handstand, back again.
Beautiful line. This builds the difficulty. A little
legs split on the Wendy swing. -- wendeswing. Onto the end, into the
womb. He's going for the difficulty. There's the Magyar travel. It's
slightly laboured. He's having to fight this. Up into the handstand.
There is the pirouette. But fight he did. That was a really
exciting routine to watch. Such amplitude. Look at the height of the
legs. No problem clearing the pommel, is there? There's no chance
of the legs hitting. Right up into the handstand and lovely swing the
whole time. Really exciting stuff. He didn't
have the highest start of value in qualification but he looked like he
added a bit in there and made it much more difficult. Fantastic work
on the one handle and between the handles.
He had a couple of little deductions when his legs splayed apart. You can
see he's just tiring a little bit, closer to the handles now by the end
of the routine. It was a very difficult routine. He
fought right to the end. I expect this will be a very big score. But
beatable, I feel. It has taken him into first place.
Terrific work from Krisztian Berki, putting him into the gold medal
position. Straight onto Macs. Single legwork,
onto the one handle. That's the big difficulty skill. Back onto the one
handle there with the Stockli. Into the circle. This is a difficult
Busnari. Fantastic, come on, Max. There we go. Winds up the circle,
into the full spindle. He needs to travel along the horse, compose
himself. Magyar, into the Wu travel. Into the triple Russian. Keep it
going. Up onto the one handle, into the handstand. Full turn dismount.
Well, what about that? Fantastic difficulty. You can see the Brits in
the crowd cheering away. He really went for all his difficulty. It's
those fantastically difficult moves all crammed in together that make
the difference. Here, he also shows lovely amplitude. This very
difficult work, just a tiny flicker of bent knees at that point, but
this is so difficult. He was well into the sevens on difficulty in
qualification. This is powerful stuff indeed. Look at this here.
Wonderful work. He is such a composed gymnast as well. Quite
relaxed sort of person. Right from a young age he's always been able to
produce the goods when it has mattered. That is one of those
skills, as a coach, you can do lots for your gymnasts and help them
improve, but it is a little bit something that is in a gymnast,
being able to soak up the pressure and perform on the moment. Max has
certainly got that ability. 16.166 puts Max Whitlock into the
gold medal position, and that surely will be enough to make in European
champion! There is confirmation, Max Whitlock takes gold, he is the new
European champion on the pommel horse. And the Silver ghost of the
reigning Olympic champion Krisztian Berki. The bronze goes to Saso
Bertoncelj. Max Whitlock is the European champion on pommels for the
very first time. He takes the congratulation from his fellow
gymnast, and a score of 16.166, the only gymnast in the final to break
16 points. A tremendous performance from him. He keeps that European
gold medal within British gymnastics, taking over from Dan
Keatings. Max, European pommel horse champion,
that must have a nice ring to it wanted yes, I am really happy, I put
everything into that routine, and to beat somebody like Krisztian Berki,
who I really look up to in this sport, it is a real achievement for
me. You did not just beat him, you destroyed him, which sends out a
massive message. Yes, I am really happy for the team, and to get
through it, every routine that I do, I try to up it more and more. How
tough is this routine been to learn and to perfect? It is really tough,
the hardest bit has been building up that stamina, in the build-up to the
competition. Once you get that, it is all about cleaning the Scot
worked really hard to get and managed to pull it off on the day.
What can you say?! I think he took a lot of that fight and disappointment
from the floor and put it into that Rommel 's routine. Yes, he qualified
first on pommel and floor, and he had the disappointment. Sometimes
you do take it onto the other routine, as you say. He does take
the risks, and he will be working towards the world's, wanting to put
it out there. He did not hold back, he wanted to do it in style. Yes, I
think he already knew what plan he wanted to do, trying the difficult
routine, hunting for the future, not just for gold on this occasion.
Let's have a look at the routine. As Max was saying, 7.3 difficulty, so
the whole routine was marked out of 17.3... Max has got such clean
lines, there is not a lot for the judges to take. He is so fast, and
he knows exactly what is going on. That was the new skill which we just
saw there, which really builds up his difficulty. One thing he has
struggled with this season is that it is a lot longer, and he has found
the stamina hard, so he has spent a lot of time just building that up.
And he does not do all the difficult stuff at the beginning, when he has
got the muscle power, does it the middle as well. You could hear the
British crowd in the background, they knew that if he went from a to
be at the end there, that he would have that title in his pocket. If
you were with us last week, you will have seen how brilliantly our junior
girls performed. So, how have the junior boys got on in Sofia? Nick
Pope will let you know. Having won the team title three times in a
row, there was expectations rather than hope that the British junior
squad would succeed again. The Russians had other ideas. Despite a
clean rings routine by J Thompson, great return were trailing their
rivals early on. But Gianni then delivered big. The parallel bars
brought out the best in Nile Wilson. Bryn Bevan impressed on the
high bar, eating Great Britain a clear lead heading into the final
rotation. GB edged ahead of Russia to secure gold. It was going to be
close between us and Russia but we managed to stay strong as a team and
encourage each other. Wilson returned for the all-round final.
Bevan had a less dramatic day, consistent throughout, with a solid
display on the pommel horse, claiming bronze. Wilson put in a
powerful performance on the floor, landing the 18-year-old his first
individual European title. I had a bit of an error on the parallel
bars. I thought, what am I doing, grit my teeth, big heart, went
through the rest of it and absolutely smashed every
routineextraordinary, Nile got himself three golds. A super
dismount. And look at the release on the high bar here. Just remarkable.
And Gianni as well, on the floor, he got a gold. Just strength in depth
with this team, Beth? Yes, they have come away with a lot of medals.
Barry Callier has been working really hard with them. Four times
consecutive team champions, what an achievement from our junior boys.
And there is another page, it does not stop there. They took six out of
the eight gold medals, a few years ago, you would not even have
believed that British gymnastics would be able to do that. When you
compare the girls to the boys as well... Yes, the girls took the
lead, then the boys took over, and now the girls are coming back into
their own. British gymnastics is looking really bright, the prospects
for 2016 are amazing. Going back to the men, and our next final, which
will be the rings. It will be some time before those juniors make their
mark at a senior level on this particular piece of apparatus. No
British interest, the highest was Dan Purvis, who was in 14th. The
Netherland competitor, now 31 years old. But we are going to start with
the highest qualifier, Denis Ablyazin. Let's see how the strong
men get on in this European rings final.
ALISON MITCHELL: Here is someone who is built like a classic rings
gymnast, floor champion Denis Ablyazin, let's see what he can do
on the rings. This is his piece of apparatus.
Qualified in first place. Down and back up. Highest difficulty work.
Laying into the Yamawaki. And straight to that flat top planche.
Circle round again to the crucifix. Showed a little flicker in the
face. Only difficult work. Must show control on the swinging elements. He
is winding up. It is going to be a big dismount. Double twisting double
back straight! Slight hop on the landing. Fantastic routine there
from the young Russian. . Really special work. Are we going to see a
double gold medallist? White and usual, floor and brings together.
Such a powerful gymnast, but he swings nicely as well. Kills it into
a strength element. That is really wonderful. Shoulders in line with
the hand. He was the bronze medallist on the rings in 2012. Big
score on execution. This is the joint defending champion, from
France. CRAIG HEAP: Very strong gymnast,
straight up to the top planche. Swing into the Maltese, pressing
into the invert. Shoulders flat. Highest difficulty work. Circle
backwards into the hands stand. Into the swinging elements, that is the
double pike. Circling round to the Maltese. He is
having to work now. Beautiful crucifix.
Layout up to the handstand. Half in, half out dismount. Nailed the
landing. You can see a well strapped shoulder, that is the danger for
these ring specialists, they do so much strength work. You have to
circle as well, and he just gets a little bit of movement at the top of
the rings. He controls it well. Into the double front somersault. Now,
that is a lovely position, really good, straight body-line. And look
at him stretches fingers out, not even gripping the rings. A little
bit of virtuosity. The full twist in the double straight, it was a little
bit piked again, but it was a strong challenge. You used the word
virtuosity there, is that almost an element of showboating? Look at that
school, it puts the defending champion up into second place. Yes,
a little bit of showboating, I can do this easily. No effort at all!
Now, this man from Armenia qualified in third. If he can repeat that all
better, he will be up in the medals. If rates strength, through to the
top planche, back to the Maltese. Onto the crucifix. But alignment
with the shoulders, good body position.
Nice swing, into the handstand. Swinging straight to the Maltese.
Circle background to the crucifix. Back prize to the top planche. --
back prize. Now that is more like it. That was a nailed dismount, full
of confidence and determination! Full of difficulty, this routine.
Needs to lock out through the shoulders into a pure line, just
holding a slight shoulder angle. Here comes the swinging sections.
And this, the excellent dismount, not a flicker. That is how to land.
Has he done enough to get himself up into the medals? He looks excited -
and he is out there, 15.7, he is in the bronze medal position! Fabulous
marks for execution. Aleksandr Balandin of Russia. Former European
champion on the rings. In 2012. spot, it will be this man. Look at
that strength. That is Balandin, spot, it will be this man. Look at
that is his move. Circle round to Maltese. Very flat. This will be his
second move. That is also his own move, absolutely packed with
difficulty, and great swinging elements.
Slight lift of the head to say, this is easy!
There's a slight wobble there. He's got to hold on. Full twisting double
straight. Much better on the dismount. Will it be good enough?
Well, he had the highest difficulty in qualification. A 6.9 difficulty
score. Even with a tiny waiver, that looked really impressive work.
Such strength and style. We've seen good execution scores on the rings
being awarded today. That was a lovely shape.
If he can match the others on execution he certainly will be the
work -- the winner. He makes the landing. He thinks that's good
enough. He gave a little view nonchalantly nods to the judges. He
has done it. He's up there. It equals the score of Abliazin. There
will be not one but two European champions on the rings this year.
We are moving on to the vault. Kristian Thomas won a bronze medal
at the worlds in Antwerp. There were high hopes for him but could he go
one further? It didn't quite work out.
His first vault was fantastic, just a small hop at the end.
Unfortunately, it was the second one. It was a blind landing, he
didn't get his block and didn't get enough height to get around. This is
the thing with the vault final, you get two and the average is taken. It
is, but they are so difficult and there is little room for error. If
you don't get it quite right it is the end of the game. It is
effectively one move, it's over in the blink of an eye. If you don't
quite get that block right, which was the case in the second one...
And it's also very difficult in the finals, you have no time to get
yourself warmed up. And judging your adrenaline as well. The run ups are
so different, because some gymnasts don't want to overrate it that much.
You've got that excitement which can give you the extra height, it can be
crucial on the landing. Millar having had experience in the final,
it really helps with wanting to get those medals. Some of the names in
this final have been there, done it and know exactly how to control that
adrenaline. Let's have a look at the top eight who made the final.
Let's get down to the end of the runway and watch the final.
The gymnasts have to do two different vaults. Here we see a
scuttling run. Big double front with a half turn out. A fantastically
difficult vault. He landed in quite a good, straight line and then
hopped to the side a little bit. That was good execution of a hugely
difficult vault. Yes, it blocks up. That's a double front somersault,
half turn out, favoured by some of the gymnasts.
Two somersaults off. Really fantastic vault. He did very well
not to bound forwards and put his hands down.
There was nothing nonchalantly bout this approach. Powers in, rats into
the double pike back. Very lucky not to bounce forward. Just look at the
front on push. Plenty of length, opened out at the right time. Just a
little kickback. Two and a half twists, lovely
spatial awareness. He planted his feet down very well indeed. He won't
have too many deductions there. Beautiful vault.
Very difficult to land, it's a blind landing. He locks his legs together.
He hits the floor. Very difficult to be done from that vault.
He's just 18. 15 for that first vault, very good start.
The challenge for all these gymnasts is the second vault.
Very good indeed. Straight front with double twist. Very difficult.
That same super spatial awareness and meeting of the floor. Yes, the
mass appeal draft from the springboard, blocks of the top, the
double twist in the straight position, very difficult to create
so much rotation. A little bit down on execution for
the second one, but two very strong vaults from the youngster. Tuuha of
Finland steps up. The former European champion himself on this
apparatus. Willed that power, lifts, two and a
half twists, nice big, long vault. Just that little hop on landing.
Very tidy, very well performed. Nice acceleration. If anything, slightly
higher than the previous vault. A little bit longer as well.
The judges doing the execution score have to decide whether there was any
lack of height, lack of length. There was a little hop. They quite
liked it. A good start for his first vault.
Double twisting front, but he went well off line when he landed. A big
jump across. He is obviously thrilled to have made the landing
securely but there will be directional faults. A very difficult
vault with the blind landing. Did very well to control that. He
could have easily sat down. He really holds a lovely shape.
This man already has a floor gold and a rings gold to his name. He is
the defending vault champion. He's going to do one of these big,
huge vaults with a six star value. Super-speed, super height, super
landing. Two and a half somersaults off the hand. He just makes it looks
like he stood on the top and done back somersault to in training. Just
look at the power. He attacks, wraps in, almost the double straight off
the vault. Huge faulting. Only one tenth on deduction therefore the
landing. Great height. Very powerful indeed.
9.2 for the execution, 15.2, a strong start from Abliazin.
Unusual, the second vault harder than the first. The mat in front of
the board shows he's going to make around off action. Fantastic!
Straight front off with two and a half twists. That is really massive
difficulty. And he only just squeezed it in. Look at this. The
half term, wraps into the two and a half. Just about kept his knees
there from the mat. With such difficulty, he might just
be good enough. What a Championships he's having so far, this young man
at 21. It has put him into first place.
Verniaiev has never won a gold medal at the European Championships. A
slight but technically perfect gymnast.
The floor didn't come and hit him, he landed on it. That was very
impressive. Yes, he performed much better there. " landing. He had
plenty of time. Wraps in, half turn, open out. One step back on the
landing. The nominal faulting. Cashback vaulting. His chest was
right up. He rubbed his Achilles a little bit
because he bent his knees and took a landing. A few of them land on
straight legs and just bounce. He really gave a textbook landing.
This has to be almost perfect for a medal. His knees touch. He just lost
a bit of direction. Huge twist. He didn't quite get the block off the
top. Ouch! He went round the side, lost form in
his legs, stepping out over the zone there. He twisted very early,
forcing him to bend the legs, losing control on the landing. It was
almost a cross between a half arm and a handspring. I think it will be
deducted quite heavily. There will be deductions but... It's
putting him up there into the medals.
It is a third individual gold medal for Abliazin.
No doubt Verniaiev will be getting strapped up, he's in the parallel
bars final next. The next major competition for our gymnasts will be
the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with the opening ceremony taking
place on the 23rd of July. There's going to be a very interesting
battle within the British team, with the two Dans representing Scotland,
and Max and Sam flying the flag for England.
To be in Glasgow, in the home arena, I cannot wait. It is great to
compete for England. There is already banter going on in the gym.
The national coaches will sometimes shout out, after we have done a
routine on the pommel horse, 2-0 to Scotland! It will be interesting
fighting against each other. There have been a few jokes already. There
are rivalries between team-mates, so it is even better. In the training
camps, we are all going to be at Lilleshall together, the different
teams. Scotland have never got a team medal before, and that will be
one of our main targets. I am sure we will have plenty of English fans
supporting us as well. You want to be facing someone from England,
don't you? It would be great! Well, all the gymnastic events are in the
same venue as where the 2015 world gymnastics Championships will be
held. Craig Heap is joining us now, having just popped out of the
commentary box. The reason you are here is that you won two golds in
the Commonwealth Games. We have got some footage, which
the Commonwealth Games. We have got the archives! This is you on the
high bar, Craig! A packed crowd as well. I mean, this is top-level
gymnastics, you do not get much better than that, to be honest! I
should be at the Europeans this weekend, to be honest, but old age
got in the ways! There is a very squeaky bar, I did not know if that
was your knees, or the apparatus! What a dismount, look at that! It
was a massive decision, to be honest, to carry on after the Sydney
Olympics, two more years. But actually being given the opportunity
to compete in your own country, representing your own country, is
something that will probably stick with me for the rest of my life,
something that I am really glad I did. And we have talked about this
competition within the British team, England and Scotland - what are your
predictions? Well, I like the underdog so I am really rooting for
Scotland. It was the same for us back in 2002, we trained with some
of the guys in the Scottish team. Even though they were qualifying for
individual, they were not at that level to push for a team medal, so
it is really exciting. There is also a rivalry between the coaches, isn't
there? Eddie will be looking after the England team, and Paul will be
looking after the Scotland team. Yes, I think there might be a few
bets going on. Definitely, the coaches are really put that stiff.
-- the coaches are really competitive. It makes for
interesting debate in the bar afterwards. I think we found out
where your loyalties are lying last week! It is England for you wanted
should definitely. Most of the British team at the moment are
English. And I will be supporting team England, I am an ambassador for
them. Within the boys team, it will be a massive battle. It is nice to
see that Scotland have got that strength and depth to content for a
team medal. Moving onto our penultimate final of the day, we are
looking at the parallel bars final. Let's have a look at the top eight.
The highest qualifier is the one we just saw, this is his third final.
And Mitja Petkovsek is now 37 years old. And if bars are involved, Epke
Zonderland will always be in with a shout. Let's find out what happened.
ALISON MITCHELL: To get us under way, on parallel bars, the European
silver medallist from 2012, Oleg Verniaiev.
CRAIG HEAP: Straight into the handstand. Very precise, under
somersault with the half-time. Under somersault, into the Healy turn. Top
difficulty. Another under somersault, looking out those arms
that is the under bar skill. Straight up to the handstand. Healy
turn, reverse pirouette. That is the Stutz. Front uprise. Double front
half term, nails the landing! What a performance.
CHRISTINE STILL: Well, that was a great routine, he is a real
no-nonsense gymnast. Beautiful work, beautiful body shape. Lovely
extension through the shoulders in the handstand position. Feet locked
together, and this is a very difficult skill, right at the
beginning of the routine. Very clean in his pirouetting work, and this,
so high, swings up to the handstand. Beautiful body-line at all times.
And then, for good measure, he adds in a really difficult, interesting
dismount. Bronze on the vault, he really wants to be top dog on this
apparatus, doesn't he? First to go in the final, and he was delighted
with his dismount. A very good score to start this final.
Here is a legend of the parallel bars, Mitja Petkovsek of Slovenia.
Two-time world champion, four-time European champion on this apparatus.
Straight to work, up into the handstand. And he has made a
mistake. Under somersault straightaway. Off the bars. Looked
like he was not happy with the grip there. Whether he slipped
underneath... He has 30 seconds. Starts from on one rail. Beautiful
now front somersault, nice and high to catch. Half-time. Into the
Tippelt, come on, this is more like it. Healy turn.
Cuts the routine short. That is the end of his European Championships.
It has been a long way since qualification, and always
disappointing if it finishes without success. A bit of a bent leg on that
catch. Lovely lift off the bars. Double pike, finished easily. There
is his score. So, a disappointment for Mitja Petkovsek. David
Belyavskiy of Russia, 2013 bronze medallist. Can he go better here?
Under somersault to handstand, to one bar. Front uprise Diamadov,
straight into the Tippelt. Very difficult gymnastics. That is a
front somersault to catch. Straight into a handstand. Healy turn.
Slight flicker of the lakes on the Stutz to one rail. Into the Stutz.
Front uprise. Double pike front dismount, great routine from David
Belyavskiy. Fabulous pace to this routine. He is crisp. Fast and
dynamic. Very strong gymnast. And here, lifts
up high, double pike front, just that little bit more difficult than
the doubletalk front. Body a little bit slower through the air. Coach,
highly delighted. Oleg Verniaiev is really the only gymnast to really
put in a score so far, so he should be right up there. And indeed
Belyavskiy goes up to second place. Epke Zonderland, he should be able
to challenge for a medal. Hugely talented gymnast, last man to go
full very original. It is a beautiful move. Healy turn, straight
in to the front somersault. Really difficult combination. That is the
Diamadov. Back into the bar. Needs a strong finish. Double pike back.
Well, he just needed a good dismount, Epke Zonderland, better
known for his phenomenal high bar work, but he has always been a good
parallel bars work as well. In fact, in 2011, he got a silver on
this apparatus, and just like his high bar work, it is full of
original combinations, difficult terms. He is wonderfully spatially
aware, he knows just where his body is. And he has become over the last
few years a really stylish performer. He was always exciting,
but look at this. Pirouettes along the rail, along the bar, smooth...
Looking in very good shape. His lines are improving. There, the
double pike, chest beautifully up on landing - good stuff. He has had a
silver and a bronze at the European Championship 's in the past. It will
take an almighty effort to top the score of Oleg Verniaiev. Yes,
probably not enough to top the table, but certainly enough to get
into the medals, I really hope so... . Well, he has got bronze. He
is up into the medals, and it means the European Championship is
Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev, who takes home the gold medal. He improved on
his qualifying score. A deserved winner, in what turned out to be a
low scoring parallel bars final. There is the confirmation.
Thank you, Alison. Now, the last of the individual apparatus finals, and
what a way to finish. It is the high bar. If you are watching this on
your own, just get everybody around the telly, because two of the
high-flyers to look out for, the former world champion, as well as
Epke Zonderland. He is such a performer under pressure, Fabian.
There was a lot of pressure, because after the Olympics year, you have to
prove that you can do it again. The preparation was not that long
because I spent a lot of my time on my study. For these Europeans, more
time to prepare, and I expect more of myself. Studying to become a
doctor? Right now, I have to do internships, in hospitals, but I can
do it part-time. Both of us, we are always in touch. We both wanted to
be in the final. We are good friends, we have known each other
for more than ten years. We always say in touch and he is a nice guy.
We will have a nice battle. Both of us are going to raise up the
difficulty in the final, so we will see. Six weeks ago, he was in doubt
if he could compete because he had some trouble with his shoulder. It
was disappointing to me because he is that good, that I have to do the
best that I can to beat him. That is a big goal to compete with him, so I
am really happy that he is healthy right now, healthy enough, and I can
trust that he will do very well in this competition. We will have
another battle, which starts at zero points, so the best one will win. I
have improved a little bit on high bars, so hopefully I can get closer
to him this time and maybe I can beat him. That is a big motivation,
but I just want both of us to hit our routines and just have a good
battle. Here is Fabian Hambuchen. A highly
decorated gymnast. A really talented high bar performer.
Gymnasts are allowed to be lifted up. He winds up with the big full
twisting co-Fach in the straight position. Oh! That was a nasty Cain
under the bar. You have such speed, he caught the bar. He obviously
didn't quite get over. That was a bit of a nasty fall. He's definitely
winded himself. The speed he was coming through the bottom there. He
was going for full stretch catch, lovely hide.
He must have severely winded himself. Not wise to continue under
those circumstances. He looks OK but he will be stiff and sore. He
wouldn't get back on and do himself any justice at all. The most
important thing he -- see was able to get up and walk away from the
apparatus. It is the turn of Great Britain. Sam
Oldham stepping up a little earlier than he thought he might have to
Hambuchen's fall. A silver medallist in Moscow.
Here comes the big release. Full twist in the co-Fach in the tuck
position. The Tkachev, he's working out of these elements. The half-tone
very smoothly up into the handstand. That close element. Now winds up,
changes the swing again. Uptight, two twists, beautiful landing. Very
good work. British gymnasts delighted up there. You can see the
juniors who freely stormed this Championships. Fantastic, Junior
European champion on the high bar. To go up after the first ball and
deliver a routine like that was as good as he could do. Just look at
this, straight from the start. That is the marker love, catching on
straight arms. That is the straddle Tkachev with
half-tone. -- turn. He winds up, kicks high into the
air, wraps in, double twist in, double back. He's happy with that.
It is a little down on his qualifying score.
For Switzerland, here is Oliver Hegi. 21 years old, in his first
major final. Very nice. The extra full twist.
Release the bar, one and a half twists... He stalled it likely on
that full turn. -- stalled it slightly. Just a
little bit short on control on those couple of elements. Regained his
composure now. Single twist in the double straight
with a step. Some great work there but a couple of little areas where
you can see... You can see he is relieved. The release, with one and
a half twists to re-catch, something you used to do, Craig. Yes. Very
difficult. It's called the DEET double F. Really difficult to keep
your legs jammed together, which he did. He was slightly laboured. The
judges will be looking out for that. There's the Healy turn. Not just
flat in the shoulders on the invert. Winds up nice. Kicks up and hide.
Just the full twist in, double back straight with a step back on the
dismount. Sam Oldham still leads the way.
Could Kristian Thomas beat that? I'm sure he will be very keen to give a
great performance. Into the straight Tkachev and the
Tkachev to mixed grip. Lovely swing. All important to maintain the swing
as you work. Full turn out of the endo. Straight into... Really good
swing. He's got to give it everything on the dismount. Just a
little pace, but that was fabulous work from Kristian Thomas. It would
be good to see a smile. That was packed with the highest difficulty.
That straight Tkachev with full twist is absolute top drawer. Really
did nail everything in this routine. Hop forwards, squat, bang into the
handstand, so precise. That's the straight Tkachev, catching on
straight arms, straight arm out. Then we see again, there's the
straddle Tkachev with a half turn. Then he winds up into the dismount.
Nice, straight legs, kicks high above the bar. Nice extended full
twist. One step back on the landing. Well, I think we might just have a
new leader. I think you could be right. He goes
into second place. Sam Oldham keeps his place in the gold-medal
possession, but it's silver at the moment for Kristian Thomas.
Epke Zonderland aiming to go straight in at the top year if he
can. Zonderland without doubt the most
exciting gymnast on the high bar. He's so fast, he swings round this
so quickly. Look at that, straight into the
front somersault over the bar. That is two of the most difficult moves
in the code linked together. That's where he gets his enormous
difficulty score from. Really got lots of energy, lots of
speed. Double twist in the double straight. That is really special.
This was just absolute classic gymnastics. Beautiful line. Really
accelerates and works the bar. The full twist in, double straight, the
casino. Then he does another one for good measure.
Straight into the Gaylord to over the bar. Hop full turn, bang into
the handstand. We have said in the past he has lost a bit of form, but
he has really tarted up his routine. Double twisting, double back. Will
it be a 16? 15.866. The rockets into the gold medal position. He's the
world and Olympic champion. No doubt soon to be confirmed European
champion. First of all stepping up, Kristian
Thomas, his first individual medal at the European Championships,
taking the bronze. Kristian Thomas would probably have expected it to
be a vault medal, if anything. Delighted with these medals.
Kristian Thomas, from the girls gymnastics club, Sam Oldham, from
Huntingdon. Repeating his feet of silver from last year. No doubt we
will have further accolades coming his way in the future. Epke
Zonderland, such a tremendous high bar gymnast, so exciting to watch.
Up on top of the podium, European champion again. He adds it to his
world and Olympic titles. Bronze and silver for Great Britain on high
bar. Standing alongside one of the great high bar gymnasts, Epke
Zonderland. That is going to be a photograph to savour.
You made it look easy today. Daily it's definitely not easy. On high
bar, my biggest rival fell down. I felt really sorry for him but also
for the competition, because when he sets a good score, it triggers me to
do my ultimate best. But now it is sometimes even harder to do a good
routine because sometimes even harder to do a good
you know you don't sometimes even harder to do a good
best. I know that I have to focus and try to show my best routine.
Congratulations, your first European individual medal. Yeah, it was a
pretty close call. I finished fourth two or three times in finals, so I
was praying that wouldn't happen again. Fortunately for me I
delivered the goods today and came up with the bronze medal. I'm over
the moon. I'm pretty speechless. I thought that Bible, I was training
in the other gym, my big routine. I was going to put out a 6.9 or seven.
As soon as that happened, the first ball, a serious injury, I
straightaway switched my tactics and went with the routine I've done all
this week. That's a lot of experience I've had in the last few
years. But I'm incredibly happy and proud to be on the podium with this
man, Kristian Thomas as well. He's been a team-mate of mine for a long
time, team captain, and we've been roommates for this trip as well.
Such an amazing competition, we've won so many medals, to finish it
with two medals both on the podium, it's an amazing day. As a former
European silver medallist, he did look
European silver medallist, he did gym. Maybe I would have been tempted
to bang it out there after that final because somebody has got to
try and push Epke Zonderland a bit more, I think. He was streets
ahead. It's remarkable. You see various different things. Where is
ahead. It's remarkable. You see the ceiling for this? Epke
Zonderland is always pushing the boundaries. You have always got to
have that one person that is pushing, and the others will follow.
I think I would go with what Sam decided, he saw that Fabian had had
that fall, and obviously, he knew that he could get a medal. He had
qualified in fourth, so it was a safe play. Let's have another little
luck at Epke Zonderland, let's treat ourselves. He used to be a lot more
wild with his actual form, Craig? Yes, he has really tidied up over
the last few years. I like the way he catches. That is a full twisting
Kovacs. In the past, he has been really close on the bar. There was
just one part in the routine where he was a little bit wild. If you
look here, from the Stalder, that was the only bit. He absolutely bang
that dismount. And you are sitting in Mitch Fenner's seat at the
moment, and he is now the performance director for the
Netherlands, and doing a great job. I know that he has been mailing him
for his leg form, if you like. Let's have another little look at Sam's
routine, the easier one! When I say that, I use that term loosely. What
he has done, he has executed it really well. It was probably the
most sensible thing for him to do, once Hambuechen was out of there. He
had a real medal opportunity all of a sudden. And he delivered. There
was probably some questions back at home about, should he be in the
team? And he did really well. It is worth mentioning, just as Sam
absolutely nails that landing, that the word is that Fabian Hambuechen
is all right. He was winded but he is all right. Obviously Kristian
Thomas got bronze on the high bar, but we are now going to have a look
at Dan Purvis, the first of the individual apparatus finals. This
yes, much better than the qualification. He has already won
runs medal in the European Championships before on the floor.
For a couple of years he has been really pushing to get amongst the
medals and just been a little bit short, but today, he was dead on the
money. Could not be more happy for him. We talked about difficulty and
which routine to go for, Max went for a very difficult one? Yes, up
against Berki, trying to push for that European title, absolutely
fantastic to go all out. He has worked really hard, and full credit
to him. What a Championships it has been. There is still plenty more
sport coming up for you on BBC Two. Next a documentary on the young
golfing sensation who helped Europe win the Solheim cup last year. If
you are in Scotland, you can see that on Wednesday. That is then
followed by more golf, from Wentworth. But it is goodbye from
what has been the most successful European Championships ever for
British gymnastics. Everything is on target for the worlds in October,
with the joy of the Commonwealths in between. There will be coverage
across the BBC. We hope you can join us then four more medals. Goodbye.
MUSIC: "Kickin' It Up" by Virus Syndicate
# Because I do what I want I be kickin' it up
# I be livin' it up Kickin' it up
# Cos I be livin' it up And never give it up... #
Matt Baker presents highlights of the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships from Bulgaria.
Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle and Baker will review a busy week's action from Sofia, where much is expected of the GB gymnastics men.
Great Britain's men claimed team bronze at London 2012 - the first Olympic team medal in 100 years - and were among the gold-medal favourites in the continental team event.
There is also much expected in the six individual events from a GB squad that claimed five medals - including two golds - at 2013's European Championships in Moscow.
Commentary by Christine Still and Craig Heap.