A great start for the British Seniors in Bern, they top the standings after qualification ahead of Russia. It was very tight at the top, just over 0.1 in it, it’s going to be a nerve jangling final on Saturday!
Some absolutely fantastic performances from both teams, and both teams counted a fall, and had areas where they can improve, so it really will be a case of who can hold their nerve on the day. What is so impressive about the British team here, is firstly we are now vying with Russia to be the top team in Europe, secondly, alongside Russia, if you look at the scores, there is a huge gulf between these two teams and the remainder of the field.
Bars first for the British team, Gabby up first in her first major championships since 2014. A great routine, hit the first handstand, and the toe full, then Van Leeuwen to high bar. Blind in to Jaeger caught on perfectly straight arms, really strong toe on Tkatchev. Pak to low bar, Maloney back to high bar, then a lovely in bar Gienger. Double straight to finish, the tiniest adjustment on landing, what a routine to return to major competition with, and a place in the final the reward.
14.566 (6.2 D, 8.366 E)
The feed missed Ruby and Becky’s bars, just showing a part of each.
I read one report that said Ruby had trouble on her Bhardwaj, but haven’t seen it myself, so will wait for confirmation. Hopefully footage will emerge, the feed showed the end of the routine, shoot to high bar, toe half to Jaeger, then double front with a very small hop.
14.003 (6.6 D, 7.433 E
Becky hit her 6.4 set, plenty of difficulty to get into finals. The feed joined the routine on her Ricna, then upstart handstand, good toe full in to her own skill the Downie, straight into the Pak to low bar. Maloney back to high bar, top turn, and a stuck full out dismount. Job done, and ready to challenge for another medal in finals having qualified second.
15.033 (6.4 D, 8.633 E)
Beam next, and Gabby‘s second test of the day. A great routine for her, if this was a test, she absolutely passed it. Front to W jump opener, then she brought back the three element acro series with flick flick layout, without a flicker on landing. Double spin, change to ring, then free cartwheel, a little pause, sissone linked to straddle jump. Change leap, not linked to the change half, but no problem. Strong double pike with a hop to finish. After so much, what a come back under the pressure of European competition.
14.00 (5.8 D, 8.2 E)
Claudia brought out her big upgraded routine, going for everything. She has been very solid on all the upgrades so far, just not to be today. Starting well with the standing Arabian, an adjustment needed, but well controlled. Change leap, a pause, then sheep jump. Unfortunately Claudia fell on the flick to full twist, there really wasn’t much of a chance to save it, as you know she would have fought her hardest. Free cartwheel, then a loss of balance on the standing full, but this time she brought it back under control. She made the leap connection, but was quite short of split on her split jump, finishing strongly though with a great flick to one, flick to two, double pike stuck on landing. Not her day today, I imagine we’ll see her fighting back on this piece in the final.
13.366 (6.2 D, 7.166 E)
Becky was absolutely solid on her opening front somi, then again on the free cartwheel layout, great start. Change to change half, unusually for her a little short in range, but safely through. Becky took a pause from the sissone to back spin before the free walkover, but added the split jump for the connection. Side somi no problem, then she missed the change to ring, performing a change leap instead which she had already done, and which explains the lower D score for this routine. Good double pike to finish, a safe routine, with no major errors, and a place in the final with the potential to score much higher should she get the change ring and the other connections she is capable of. Good job for the team here though.
14.333 (5.8 D, 8.533 E)
Half way through, and the British ladies were leading. On to floor with Becky Downie done for the day, and time for younger sister Ellie to take over.
Ruby started the team off with a brilliant routine. Unfortunate to be knocked out of finals by the two per country ruling, she was awarded the 5th highest score of the day. Memmel spin to illusion to open, then a really well done double Arabian with a great landing. Dance passage of change to ring through to tour jete full, then one and a half to straight front full with a split jump added on the end. Change full to split jump, and a strong finish with double twisting straight front with and a back spin tucked on the end. Ruby traditionally gets stronger as the season progresses, and this year seems to be no exception. Strong choreography suited to her performance style makes this an enjoyable routine to watch.
14.20 (5.7 D, 8.5 E)
Ellie opened her European championships by qualifying in 4th place to the floor final. Good routine as ever, and room to score even higher to challenge for a medal here on Sunday. One and a half to double Arabian with a skip to the side to start, big double piked Arabian second tumble, with a small step that took her out the area. Change to ring to change full , then into the corner, and being watched VERY closely by the Russian coaches over at the vault. Two and a half to punch front with a hop, tour jete half, and a strong double pike to finish. Really good routine, with the potential for even more.
14.266 (6.0 D, 8.366 E)
Claudia was the best on floor of the whole day, and you can’t ask more than that. Qualifying to the final in first place, can she upgrade last year’s silver to gold? The opening full twisting double straight is so strong now, a small slide back on landing only. The new piked double arabian, a little knee bend coming into land, and a hop, but great work. Change to ring, split leap with one and a half turn. Butterfly into the corner, full rotated triple twist third tumble. Full twisting split leap, double spin, and finishing with a great double straight to W jump. Great routine, great score.
15.00 (6.4 D, 8.6 E)
For the final piece, Russia went to bars where they are strongest, Great Britain to vault.
Ruby vaulted a strong double twisting Yurchenko for 14.80
Claudia vaulted into the final with 14.733 for her double twisting Yurchenko, and 14.366 for her Lopez which was much improved from the British. Average of 14.549
Ellie vaulted a strong double twisting Yurchenko for 15.033, then a really good Lopez for 14.70. Average of 14.866, into Sunday’s final as the second highest qualifier.
So a great opening competition for the British Seniors, the teams are so close that the gold is there for the taking on Saturday. Seven finals out of a possible eight on Sunday, the British gymnasts really are right up the top of the European standings now, and it’s so good to watch these hard working athletes rewarded so well, and appreciated so highly on the European stage.
Apparatus Final Qualifiers