Britain’s tumbling gymnasts have won silver and bronze on the first day of finals at the 2021 Trampoline, Tumbling & DMT World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The men’s team took home a sensational silver in a hard fought final, with the women’s team coming back from 5th place to make sure of bronze with their final pass.
Following one and a half days of qualifying, the first finals took place on Friday evening with Great Britain represented in five of the six being contested.
And it was in the tumbling events, where Britain came in as the defending team champions in both men’s and women’s, that they shone.
The men’s team have won the last two world team finals but were to be denied gold by the very last pass of the competition, with the Russian Gymnastics Federation (RGF) just edging them to the title.
Jaydon Paddock got the British team off to a solid start, doing well to keep control of his landing with just a step forward for a score of 36.600. William Cowen, in his first world final, looked comfortable in the limelight, scoring 37.300 for his pass to keep Britain just ahead of RGF.
Kristof Willerton, so often the very last gymnast to go for Britain in finals over the years, did what he does best. It was a sensational pass to match William’s score of 37.300 which was enough to win silver, just behind a strong RGF team.
Speaking afterwards, Kristof said: “It was tense. It’s been a long time since we’ve had those big pressure moments. It was nice to be out there as a team and actually challenge the Russians head on again. And it’s obviously great to all come away with a medal.”
In the women’s tumbling final, Ashleigh Owen was the first to compete for Britain. Having been called up to the team at late notice following the withdrawal of Shanice Davidson due to injury, Ashleigh has had a week to remember. She opened with a score of 30.800, putting GBR in 4th place after the first round.
Next up was Megan Surman, who will be back for the individual final over the weekend, and she boosted the teams total with a brilliant pass to score 33.200.
In 5th place, needing something special with the final tumbling pass of the final, it was down to Megan Kealy, Britain’s top individual scorer in qualifying, and she produced when it mattered most. A score of 34.100 saw the team climb the leader board to clinch bronze.
Speaking afterwards, Megan Surman said: “It’s my first senior world championships so it was really enjoyable to be out there with the team. It was great to have Meg Kealy with us too as the experienced member, and she definitely helped me and Ashleigh out there.
“It was quite pressured, but I just tried to breath and remember what I’ve done in training, trust myself and know that I can do it. Just to think of all the good passes that I’ve done before.”
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