After the all-around competition was done for the Brits, it was time for the event specialist to have their moment of glory on Sunday as they competed on their favorite apparatus. Just like in the all-around, the women’s scores have some extra bonus for difficult skills and stuck landings so don’t except these exact numbers internationally.
For the Senior women, all-around champion Ellie Downie qualified into all four finals but opted to only compete on vault and bars, which proved to be a very good choice as she took gold on both finals. On vault she started with a fantastic DTY with a stuck landing, followed by a lower than usual Lopez with steps out-of-bounds to receive an average of 14.437. Nearly a point behind her was Holly Jones with a total of 13.512 for her Yurchenko 1.5 with a step back and her front tuck with a step forward, while Phoebe Turner was third with 13.412 after a FTY with a big step back and front tuck half landed a bit low and with a small hop.
On bars, Ellie continue to capture the show, hitting the routine she missed in the all-around finals, which included a Maloney to Hindorff, a toe-on full to piked Tkachev to pak, a van Leeuwen and a nearly stuck double layout dismount to finish with 14.600. With an amazingly small difference of 0.025, Georgia-Mae Fenton was second with 14.575 after performing a Ricna half to Ezhova, a Ricna to bail and a stuck full-in dismount but also showing flexed feet on some skills and releases and overarching a handstand after her giant full. The bronze medal belonged to the older Downie sister, Becky, who received a score of 14.025 for her difficult routine despite counting a fall on her eponymous skill.
With the top gymnasts absent from the beam final, either because of lackluster qualification performances or personal choice, some of the younger girls were able to show off their skills on this apparatus. In a particularly shaky final, with falls form all competitors except the gold and bronze medalists, the top scores didn’t go beyond the mid-12s with Turner taking the title with 12.575. She started her exercise with a solid BHS mount, but had wobbles on most of her leaps and jumps before dismounting with a double tuck with a step back. Scoring a tenth lower, Latalia Bevan took silver with 12.475 after showing a more difficult and cleaner routine than Turner that featured a split jump mount, a switch to switch half, a switch rings, a front aerial to double stag and a side aerial to LOSO series, though she unfortunately fell on the latter. Lastly, the bronze medal went to Lana Chilton with a score of 12.225, after showing lower difficulty but cleaner execution than some of the stronger competitors and performing an interesting BHS mount to LOSO, a cross straight jump full and a switch leap to tuck jump full, both dance series with big wobbles before dismounting with a simple 1.5 twists with a step forward.
Finally on floor, Maisie Methuen managed to capture the title with a total of 13.425 after showing a double wolf turn, a full-in with a tiny hop, a stuck double pike and a front double full with a step back. British superstar Claudia Fragapane was unable to match Methuen’s score despite having half a point more in difficulty and finished second after receiving a 13.150 for her exercise that included a double layout with a hop, a double arabian also landed with a hop, a short triple twist that forced her to take several steps out-of-bounds, a Gogean leap and a double pike with a step forward. 2015 Worlds team alternate Charlie Fellows was third with 13.050 after performing a 1.5 twists through to double tuck with a hop back, a double arabian landed a bit low with a step back and a double pike to finish.
On the junior side of things, Taeja James ruled the show, adding three more gold medals (vault, bars and floor) and a silver (beam) to her collection and truly establishing herself as the next big junior star among the British girls. On vault James took the title with an average of 13.612 after performing a FTY with just a tiny hop and a Tsukahara with a full twist landed with a step back, diverging from the traditional junior vault combination of doing two similar vaults. All-around silver medalist Amelie Morgan managed to take another silver here with a total of 13.525 for her FTY with a big hop back and her stuck Yurchenko layout that unfortunately was a tiny bit out-of-bounds. Lastly, Zoe Simmons took bronze with 13.425 after showing a front pike half and a front tuck half, both with just a small step to the side.
Bars brought us the recreation of the all-around podium with James, Morgan and Jolie Ruckley finishing in the same exact positions as the day before. James won the gold medal with a score of 13.575 after showing a Ray with slightly bent knees and flexed feet, a toe-on to bail connection and a nearly stuck full-in dismount, surpassing silver princess Morgan who scored 13.075 for her routine that included some form issues and leg separations but finished with a stuck albeit low full-in dismount. In third place Ruckley posted a 12.700 for her 4.3-difficulty routine, that featured a Tkachev and a double pike dismount with a step to the side as the most notorious skills.
On beam, Morgan finally got her chance to shine, taking gold over James who had a costly mistake early in her routine. Morgan scored 13.450 after performing a switch to switch half with flexed feet in the air, a cross straddle jump with half turn, a BHS to BHS to LOSO series with a wobble at the end and bent knees throughout, a split leap full a bit short of 180º and lastly a 2.5 twists dismount with a hop forward. On the other hand, James routine was generally cleaner but she counted a fall on her double wolf turn, which brought her score down to 13.025 despite a solid round-off to layout series, switch to switch half, front tuck and stuck triple twist dismount. Ruckley once again took bronze with 12.600 after showing a candle mount, a double turn and a double full dismount with a tiny hop but also having wobbles and balance checks on most of her skills. Funny enough, these juniors would have swept the podium with these scores if they were competing against the seniors who didn’t score above 12.575. Hopefully this means good things are coming for the British on beam.
Lastly on floor, James won yet another gold medal with a huge score of 14.050, over half a point above senior champion Methuen, after hitting her routine cleanly with a 1.5 through to triple twist with a hop back, double tuck with some leg separation and a hop back, front layout to front double full with a big step forward, triple wolf turn a bit short and 2.5 twists dismount with a hop forward. Quite far behind, with 12.975 was Zoe Simmons in second place after a solid performance that included a very good double front to stag without any FHS or front layout before the big skill, a double tuck landed a bit low and with her right leg up, 1.5 twists to front layout full a bit piked and with a hop to the side and a 2.5 twists stumbled forward, showing she’s tiny but powerful and exhibiting a very cute choreography. The bronze medal once again belonged to Ruckley who posted 12.750 for her effort, featuring a double tuck with a hop back, a 1.5 twists to front layout with a hop forward and a double full with a small hop, together with very expressive dance.
On the men’s side, the event awards were given out during the all-around finals on each category, with Sunday being reserved to the so called Masters competition, where gymnasts from all age groups, as well as international guests, compete together to discover the ultimate champion on each apparatus. On floor, Andrew Smith of Ireland took the title with a score of 14.225 after mistakes from the strongest contender, Dominick Cunningham, while his 17-year-old teammate Rhys McClenaghan won the gold medal on pommel horse scoring 14.900, over a point above second place finisher. Featuring the first British champion of the day, Courtney Tulloch captured the title on rings, with a huge 14.950, almost one and a half points above James Hall in second. Ireland struck again with Ewan McAteer winning vault with 14.037 after a very good Shewfelt (the men’s version of the Amanar) with just a step to the side and a nearly stuck double twisting Tsukahara. The bars events belonged to the Brits, with Hall taking the gold on parallel bars with 13.825 after mistakes from his biggest rival, Sam Oldham, and generally lower difficulty from the other gymnasts, while all-around champion Joe Fraser won high bar with 12.875 after big mistakes from Cunningham who had the strongest bid for the title here.
Similarly to the all-around competition, these event finals revealed the strengths and some of the weaknesses of British gymnastics, showing what is going well and what needs to be improved. While some of the top players aren’t yet back to their best shape, the new gymnasts are ready to take their place and represent Great Britain internationally, while also gathering some valuable experience in the process. Hopefully, as the season moves along, the older athletes will come back and Team GB as a whole will become stronger and stronger, to contend for medals at World in Montreal. Until then, let’s enjoy the new faces of the sport from the British islands.
Full results here.