What a championship!
I went into the European championships focused on helping Team GB onto the Podium for the first time ever. What I never expected was to make British history not only once but twice!
Due to travel disruptions caused by the Volcano in Iceland, the entire schedule for the competition had to be changed to allow extra time for participating countries to make alternative travel arrangements. The new punishing schedule would see the qualifying rounds take place on Friday, the Team Final on Saturday and the Individual Apparatus Finals on Sunday with no rest days for recovery. This was going to be a real test of stamina!
Friday 23rd April – Qualifications
During qualification rounds Team GB were in the 3rd and final rotation competing alongside France; a very strong team. Earlier in rotation 2, Germany had set the pace with a combined team score of 263.300 followed by Spain 260.475 and Romania 257.55 so it was really important that we put in a solid performance to qualify.
We began on Floor followed by Pommel, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and High Bar. Except for a few small errors, we had a good qualification with a team score of 262.025; placing us 3rd behind Germany and France who led the leader board with 263.850.
At this point we had already made the history books by being the first ever GB team to qualify for a team final! Not only that but we also secured five places in the apparatus finals, Louis Smith and myself on Pommel, Kristian Thomas and Daniel Purvis on Floor and Daniel Purvis on Parallel Bars.
Saturday 24th April – The Team Finals
To start the finals off we had been drawn to begin on Floor and got off to a solid start with a combined score of 44.45, sitting us in 3rd place. Next up was Pommel. It was a shaky performance with one fall, but still we managed to increase our score to 88.275; still in 3rd place.
Onto the Rings and despite a couple of minor errors we managed to increase our score to 130.825 however we slipped into 4th place before going to Vault, where we saw a jump to 2nd with a score of 177.700.
The team’s adrenalin was really pumping now as we entered the penultimate event; Parallel Bars. We went into the final apparatus in 3rd place with a score of 220.125 and with the pressure really on, everyone was nervous.
Leading the team into the last apparatus, High Bar, I put in a solid routine. Sam Hunter followed with yet another good performance which left Kristain Thomas with all the pressure to bring home GB’s first ever Team Medal. Kristain’s routine was perfect! Considering the pressure he was under he put in an awesome routine to secure 2nd place and the silver medal for Team GB!
It was the most amazing feeling, we couldn’t believe it! On behalf of the team we would all like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us and made this possible.”
Sunday 25th April – The Apparatus Final
Going into the finals I was still buzzing from the fantastic achievement the day before. I thought things couldn’t get much betterhow wrong was I.
First up was the Floor final and it was great to see Daniel Purvis pick up his first major senior medal, claiming Bronze. Next was the Pommel final. The running order saw me in 7th which I was quite happy with. First up was Huntingdon team mate, Louis Smith who was leading the field with an impressive score of 15.325. I knew I had to put in the performance of my life if I was to be in with a chance of winning a medal.
That’s just what I did. Despite a small error my routine was tidy, achieving a score of 15.600. That was it, I had secured Britain’s first ever Gold medal and I couldn’t believe it!
I am the European Gymnastic Pommel Champion and my name will go down in history as the first ever British male gymnast to win Gold!
Since being home I have had time to reflect on my achievements and I would like to thank everyone was has supported me. Without it none of this would have been possible. I would especially like to thank everyone at Opus Energy. It really has been their support that has allowed me to rewrite the history books…again!