The British women’s team have finished in a brilliant 6th place in the team final of the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
Having qualified in 7th place, the team of Ellie Downie, Becky Downie, Georgia-Mae Fenton, Alice Kinsella and Taeja James produced some eye-catching routines amongst the world’s best, to improve their positioning from qualifying.
Speaking after, Becky Downie said: "With us not making the team final at the World Championships last year, to come in here, we had nothing to lose, and we’ve really enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun out there as a team. It’s been a while since we’ve all competed in a major final together, so it was great to do it in front of the crowd here."
With it being a final, three gymnasts competed on each apparatus, with all three scores counting towards the team total. There was a late change to the team order with Ellie replaced by Georgia-Mae on floor and beam, the decision made purely as a precaution as Ellie looks to the vault final on Saturday and to support her longer-term performance ambitions.
The team started on floor, with Alice Kinsella competing first. Her opening tumble saw her go just out of bounds, but she recovered well to post 12.066. Next up was 16-year-old Taeja, competing in her first World Championships as a senior. She looked at home on the world stage, scoring 13.266. Georgia-Mae concluded the opening rotation for the team, unfortunately putting both hands down on her final tumbling pass for 11.933.
It was vault next, and it was a strong rotation for the team, as it saw them climb to 5th in the rankings at the halfway point. Taeja produced a strong pass first up. A slight hop forward on landing giving her a score of 13.800. Next up it was Ellie. Having qualified for the vault final earlier in the week, she showed just why, scoring 14.566 with her double twisting Yurchenko vault, and the smallest of movements back on landing. Last to compete was Alice, and she also scored well, gaining 14.266 points for the team total.
Ellie produced another strong performance on uneven bars, sticking her double straight dismount for 14.066. Georgia-Mae had to count a fall on her second release and catch element, but regained her composure, producing a well-executed dismount for 13.166. Becky Downie - who will compete in the final on this apparatus later this week - went last up and opted for her more difficult routine, and it paid off. She scored 14.900, topping her qualifying score by 0.100.
Beam was the last rotation, with Georgia-Mae competing first. She started strongly, but had to put her hand on the beam when coming out of one of her spin elements, but finished well for a score of 12.233. Alice Kinsella, the current European champion on this apparatus, competed next, and showcased all of her skill on this piece. A routine with great flow to it, she scored 13.700. Becky finished the competition off for the team and continued her impressive Championships, scoring 13.566 to ensure a 6th place finish, giving the team a total of 161.495.
Becky went on to say: "For me personally, I was able to test out a slightly different bar routine in preparation for the final at the weekend. I’ve been working really hard this year, and I feel like I haven’t had the chance to show it. So to come here and see the hard work come together, I’m super happy and I think whatever happens in the final on Saturday, I know I’ve given it 100%."
Taeja, speaking about her first senior world’s, said: "It’s been a great experience for me to get out there with the team, and I’m really proud to be able to compete with them. They’ve all been really supportive and helped me through the competition. The atmosphere in that final is something I’ve never experienced, and it’s something I’d love to experience again."