Apparatus finals for the British Seniors, seven out of a possible eight spots achieved after a strong qualification round.
Vault first, and Claudia first of the two British Seniors to compete. First vault the double twisting Yurchenko, and I believe the highest score Claudia has ever been awarded for this vault. Certainly the highest from 2015 and 2016 when I’ve kept a record of the scores up on the blog. SO close to the 15 mark, and she can definitely get there. Yes there are still areas where she could extend even more, which would bring in the 15+ score, but yet again, as she has in previous years, Claudia has started to maximise this vault when it matters, getting cleaner and more precise heading toward the most important event of her competitive year.
For her second vault, she was awarded the 5.6 for the Lopez vault, the judges feeling she maintained the straight shape well enough. There are more deductions to be taken here, she is arched coming off to initiate the rotation, and did pike down, however, having had the vault downgraded to a Pokopayeva the piked version earlier in the year, she has clearly improved enough to have been awarded the Lopez both times at this championships.
5th place in Europe for Claudia.
Ellie Downie at still only 16, is already the most successful vaulter Great Britain has produced. Junior European Champion, 4th in the World, and now second in Europe. She’s just getting going. Maybe or maybe not this year, but I think we will see her medal at world level.
Double twisting Yurchenko to start with, so consistent on this vault now, and consistently scoring just over 15. Good block, great form as ever, and landed straight down the middle for the second highest E score of the final.
Lopez second vault, so high off the vault, completely stretched into the somersault and the half turn. Straight down the middle again, with a hop back. Third highest E score of the final this time, and the highest of the second vaults.
14.800 VT 2
Looking at the results, Ellie was only 0.050 from the gold, and yet had 0.6 lower D score than gold medalist Giulia Steingruber, high quality vaulting.
The question I get asked the most, every time Ellie is listed as competing anywhere, is ‘Do you think we’ll see the Amanar?” Ellie has spoken of upgrading her vaults, Christine Still on the BBC commentary spoke of her upgrading both in training. As as well as the Amanar which is the focus of the questions on her vaulting, have a good look at that Lopez and the time she has on it, for me that is the vault looking the more likely of the two to upgrade first. Whenever she is ready we’ll either see the full twist ‘Mustafina’ or the Cheng
For what it’s worth, I think Amy and Ellie both aim ideally to upgrade their vaults in Rio if selected , but they could just as easily both stick to the DTY. There is no point at all risking a vault that isn’t completely ready just for the extra D score, especially a twisting vault such as the Amanar, knees are far more important than D’s!
On to bars, and another two Brits in the final. Becky up first, and the choice for her was whether to stick to the 6.4 D routine for pretty much a guaranteed silver or bronze, or go all out for the gold medal and put the big 6.9 D routine out. With Russia substituting Melnikova out, and World and European champion Spiridonova who was unlikely to miss her connections again in, going big was the only option for gold.
This is a huge routine, I am only aware of one other gymnast in the world with a higher D score, and that’s China’s Fan Yilin with 7.0.
After the Chow to high bar, Becky did the Shang, and that was it she was going big. Toe full right on top of the bar linked to the Downie, straight to the Pak. Maloney to high bar, not a hint of a leg separation. Uprise to Hindorf, top turn, full out, done.
15.500, highest score by a British gymnast on any piece in 2016, European champion for the second time.
So excited to see her hit this big routine, she has said it’s been a year’s work in the making, and eight weeks from Rio she has taken the European title ahead of the the Olympic and World champions. As anyone who has worked bars knows, timing is everything, Becky timed her routine, and her success to perfection here.
How good is it to see Gabby Jupp back in a major final? So many gymnasts have fought back from major injury, Gabby has now done it twice. No it didn’t come off for her today, she came off on the Van Leeuwen from the toe full, but she is back, and I hope so much she can go on injury free from here so that we can see her fulfil her enormous potential.
Fall aside, what impressive work. Very clean, great swing, and love the Ginger between the bars. We know that Ruby is off to LSU after the summer, Becky we don’t know for sure what she is doing, but she may or may not carry on, and I vaguely remember her saying that Glasgow would be her last worlds, although nothing is ever set in stone.
Looking at Gabby’s work, you can see that the 6.1 she has now has some big upgrade potential. Joining the Toe Tkatchev to the Pak would start her from a 6.3, upping the double straight to the double straight with full twist she used to use would give her a 6.4. There is the option to link the Pak to Maloney, very difficult after the piked Tkatchev, but it would be a 6.5 then. Already an incredibly strong bar worker, she could well lead the team on this piece into the next quad.
After the elation of taking the bars title, it was straight back into competition mode for Becky, and after a quick leotard change, on to beam. After two falls in the team final, she’ll have wanted to stay on, and show that even after such an emotional victory and medal ceremony, she wouldn’t fall.
Good start with the punch front, you can see where she is used to adding the W jump for bonus, but played safe today. She wobbled on the layout after the free cartwheel, but was safely through the two big skills that took her off the beam in team finals. Change to change half, and with one heel off the beam, she fought really hard from a huge wobble not to fall. Nicely through the Sissone to back spin into the free walkover, but unsettled again on landing, and again well fought. Good side somi, strong on the change ring today, a little low on the double pike, but she won the battle.
The final competition of the Championships for the seniors, Claudia had qualified in first place, and the reigning silver medalist was looking to upgrade to gold. If she hit absolutely everything, she would have had a 6.6 start value, 0.2 ahead of Giulia Steingruber who had upgraded to a 6.4.
Giulia went first, and did fantastically well, hitting all of her tumbles for a huge 15.20. Hard to reach, but not impossible should Claudia hit.
It wasn’t to be today, she started well with the full twisting double straight linked to the W jump, then she made the piked double Arabian and was given the connection to the stag jump for the 0.1 bonus, but wasn’t in control and would have taken a deduction on the landing. She did save herself from going out of bounds, and danced out well. Change ring through to tour jete full, butterfly into the corner. The triple twist which has been so good was a little under-rotated causing her to bounce to the side. Tour jete half, and the double straight to finish, she had the same issue as in the team final, just didn’t get the rotation in, and a very low landing which she just managed to keep off the floor. No chance there to add the jump for bonus, so 6.5. D, still a huge score.
So frustrating for Claudia, she can do all of this work as she showed so well in qualification, it just didn’t happen for her here and she looked so disappointed which was horrible to see. It’s all there, the tumbling is huge, the energy and enthusiasm of the routine infectious. Everything crossed for her for Rio selection, and to absolutely hit this routine with full 6.6 difficulty in the floor final. Oh actually, if she gets the split leap with double turn she’s working on, it’ll be a max of 6.7, even better.
Ellie wrapped up the competition for the Brits, and another silver medal for her. Her second highest ever score on this piece, 14.55, and there were areas where she could have upped her E score even further. Opening with the one and a half to two and a half, so clean, she added the stag jump, but it travelled backwards due to a slightly short landing from the Arabian. The piked double Arabian is huge, well controlled today, just a small hop on landing. Change to ring, change full dance passage, little bit short of split in the second leap. Clean two and a half twist, a little pitched on the punch front, and needed a big step out to control it. Good range in the tour jete half, great double pike to finish. A very good routine obviously, but room to go even higher which is more exciting.
6.1 D at the moment, and again it was mentioned that Ellie hopes to upgrade. We shall see to what, it looks as though she has plenty of power to change the first tumble to one and a half to piked double Arabian, leaving room for a completely new tumble. Only worth doing, if that new tumble is worth more than an E though, and as clean as her existing work. A double straight perhaps, or even full twisting double straight which there was a hint at some time ago with some double straights, and a very open full in from training, but there is a lot that can be played with in training with no intention of competing. She could also leave the first three tumbles as they are, and finish with a double straight should she have the energy.
All speculative, but it’s fun to think about what might be coming in the future. Not necessarily for Rio as consolidation will come above risk, but Ellie has huge star potential heading into the next quad.
To wrap up the championships for the British seniors, Becky was awarded the prestigious Longuines prize for elegance, a lovely extra for her to add to her bars title. For the seniors now, briefly back home, then test after test after test to select the best possible team for Rio. Good luck to all the girls involved over this intense period, if only we could send two teams.