England swept the gold medals in the Commonwealth Games artistic gymnastics team events at the Hydro. Both the men’s and women’s line-ups included Olympians and seasoned Great Britain squad gymnasts and it was this depth of world-class experience that paid off.
Scotland men’s team could also call upon Olympic gymnasts and this helped them to a historic first ever Commonwealth Team medal as they took silver while the Team Wales girls showed superb team spirit and composure to seal a brilliant bronze.
Having competed the first half of the competition on Monday the gymnasts had to complete the job and finish the race for the team medal positions and for individual final places. For the girls it was floor and beam and for the men vault, parallel bars and the high bar.
The English men’s team showed all their vast experience, quality and composure to seal the gold despite missing one of their top performers Sam Oldham who had a very awkward vault landing and was taken by medical staff form the arena at the very start of the day’s events, returning to pick up his gold medal later on.
Max Whitlock and Nile Wilson were in superb world class all-around form throughout, alongside Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith. Overall the team always had control, their difficulty level and the execution of their skills honed from years of top level competition meant they were unbeatable, a score of 266.804 well above the rest.
Max summed up the boys results and the competition against their Scottish friends: “We’ve been preparing for this for a long time and for it to go well on the day in front of a crowd like this is amazing. It’s very different competing against Scotland – these are guys that we’ve been friends and teammates with for a long time so it’s interesting and a bit of fun training with them. They’ve done a good job.”
Louis said: “Today has been a brilliant experience despite what happened to Sam. We had to concentrate on what we needed to do and it put a bit of pressure on a few of us with three scores to count but we did the job and we’ve had fun doing it. We love the Commonwealth Games and it has been a great experience”
It was Scotland who took the men’s silver, the team a mixture of experience and youth, Olympians Dan Purvis and Dan Keatings, the vastly experienced Adam Cox, GBR senior Frank Baines and emerging talent Liam Davie. Dan, Dan and Frank were the leaders of the team score wise whilst Adam kept his teammates and the crowd pumped up and Liam provided consistent routines in his major debut, the team scoring a combined 257.603 points for the silver.
Adam Cox felt the buzz of the Scottish crowd saying "Being a part of this team is an absolute honour, the boys went out there and did me proud, I really enjoyed it the atmosphere was buzzing, and the crowd here are incredible, I absolutely loved it, definitely one of the best experiences of my life without a doubt.”
Dan Keatings adding “This is just awesome, we are all so proud. We’ve worked hard together for this medal, there was a bit of pressure but we all rose to the occasion and sued the energy of the crowd. To win a first team medal for our country feels amazing.”
The Welsh men lay in fourth after day one and were determined to chase the medals. Jac Davies, Iwan Mepham, Harry Owen, Clinton Purnell and Rob Sansby put in good performances again on the second day with Clinton and Iwan the leading scorers for the team who ended with 241.385 and 5th place.
The Isle of Man men’s team Anand Patel, Alexander Hedges, Harshul Measuria and Mukunda had some difficulty on vault but overall showed some great routines displays across the board with each gymnast contributing well to the team total of 209.253 for 11th.
Northern Ireland duo Luke Carson and Mathew Cosgrave finished their events in contrasting style, Luke unfortunately falling from high bar whilst Matthew completed brilliant Games with a strong high bar to add to his good pommel routine from day one.
England took a narrow lead into the second day’s events, and with Olympians Hannah Whelan and Becky Downie, major championship finalist Claudia Fragapane and Ruby Harrold and senior GBR squad member Kelly Simm in their line-up they had plenty of experience to call on.
Up on beam there were some minor errors and wobbles, but on floor they showed their class, Claudia Fragapane was the star gymnast holding the team together with a brilliant all-around display and helping the team to 167.555 points and gold.
Claudia said after: “I was obviously nervous being in such a huge competition but the girls got me through it, I can’t thank them and the crowd enough. Personally my performance exceeded my expectations I’m so happy.”
Hannah summed up the teams spirit saying: “Everyone has come out fighting for each other, we’ve had some small errors but we’ve battled through and it means so much to us. I’m very proud of us all; to have won this gold with these girls is definitely one of the most special moments of my career."
Unfortunately Wales’ GBR star Raer Theaker had to withdraw from the women’s line-up in the second day of competition but was cheering loudly from the stands.
Lizzie Beddoe, Georgina Hockenhull, Jessica Hogg and Angel Romaeo did Raer proud with confident floor work and solid beam routines under pressure to give them a team total of 160.095 for a brilliant bronze.
Angel said: “I’m speechless, it’s amazing, and we were all crying when we heard the news, incredible”
Jess spoke of the wait for the confirmation of bronze: “We all just burst into tears I couldn’t even stand up, we are so, so proud and excited to have done this for Team Wales”
The Scottish girls got a rousing reception and whilst there were a few mistakes on beam, there were some dazzling and crowd-pleasing floor displays. Cara Kennedy, Erin McLachlan, Amy Regan, Emma White and Carly Smith ending the competition with 151.595 points for 5th place.
Sarah Beck, Nicole Mawhinney, India McPeak and Ciara Roberts of Northern Ireland had fantastic Games with consistent routines from all the girls helping them to a total of 140.329 (9th). The Isle of Man followed closely behind as Nicole Burns, Tara Donnelly, Grace Harrison and Kaitlin Kneen also excelled under pressure to score a commendable 139.480 points (10th)
Jersey’s Charlotte Pollard completed a very nice competition with tidy and controlled beam and floor displays on the second day giving her an all-around total of 43.998 for the sole Jersey gymnast.
1 England 266.804
2 Scotland 257.603
3 Canada 252.078
1 England 167.555
2 Australia 161.546
3 Wales 160.095
The competition continues Wednesday with the men’s and women’s all-around finals, see how to follow.