Great Britain has taken the team silver at the 2014 men’s artistic gymnastics European Championships in Sofia.
Sam Oldham, Dan Keatings, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Dan Purvis put in a great performance but weren’t quite able to topple Russia who took the gold scoring 267.959 to Britain’s 265.953 points with Ukraine in bronze.
The format of the competition meant three of the five strong team competed on each apparatus and every score counted to the team total.
The British boys counted no major errors in their routines with a few small faults at the beginning of the competition costing them the chance to retain their title; however they fought back superbly on floor and pommel horse to secure an excellent silver. Standout routines from Max Whitlock on floor and pommel and Sam Oldham on vault and high bar were the highlights with all the gymnasts contributing well to the team total.
The silver medal continues a fine week for the men’s team who have already claimed junior team gold and junior all-around gold and bronze with more medal opportunities to come in Sunday’s apparatus finals.
Kristian Thomas said after : “We left our selves a bit too much to do with a few early mistakes but the character we showed was fantastic, we are a very tight group and we all worked hard for each other and are really happy to have fought so hard and won the silver.”
Sam Oldham added “This performance just shows what a great team we are, we win as a team and we fight as a team. It takes a lot of character to do what we did today and I’m really proud of all the boys.”
The British team began on rings. Max Whitlock with the first routine looked string but wasn’t able to control his landing and stumbled backwards for a score of 13.666. Sam Oldham followed up with a clean and well executed routine scoring 14.783, and Dan Purvis with a few steps on landing his dismount scored 14.333.
On vault Dan Purvis go the boys of to a great start with a “two and a half twisting Yurchenko” scoring him 14.633, Sam was also in fine form with a perfect landing to score 14.966. Kristian Thomas was last up with a highly difficult vault; he couldn’t quite stick his landing and scored 13.966.
On parallel bars Max Whitlock showed some great skills, his one bar work particularly impressing for a score of 14.733. Sam Oldham was similarly composed and controlled, a fist pump to the crowd on landing, he scored 14.500. Dan Keatings’ routine was packed with difficult skills, knowing he needed to produce for the team he did just that’s scoring 15.200.
High bar was next up, Max Whitlock fought through his routine, with a loss of form midway as he bent his legs; he dismounted cleanly for a score of 14.266. Kristian Thomas’s routine was high on difficulty as he repeatedly released and re-catched the bar, his dismount superb for a score of 14.866. Sam Oldham was outstanding, his routine was difficult and well executed, he roared to the crowd on landing for a brilliant score of 15.000.
On floor Dan Purvis was excellent; knowing the British boys needed to push on his routine was well executed for a great score of 15.200. Kristian Thomas followed up in similar fashion, his tumbles for of power and well controlled on landings to score15.000. Last up Max Whitlock’s routine was packed with twisting tumble runs and his trademark flair work on the floor, scoring a brilliant 15.700.
Ending on pommel horse the team were pumped and ready to deliver big routines. Dan Purvis started off with a clean well performed routines for 13.933 setting up nicely for Dan Keatings and Max Whitlock two of the world’s best pommel workers. Dan was superb, great rhythm to his routine for an excellent score of 15.008. Max Whitlock then took it to another level, huge difficulty in his routine; going up to handstand mid performance he scored a massive 16.200 points.