Becky Downie’s ‘big routine’ seals rare European gold for Great Britain


Great Britain’s Becky Downie said it was “the most amazing thing ever” after winning a gold medal at the European Artistic Championships in Sofia  yesterday.

The 22-year-old from Nottingham scored 15.500 on the uneven bars to pip Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina of Russia (15.266) to top spot and end her eight-year hunt for an individual medal.

Downie’s last solo international medal came at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, when she took bronze on the beam. She now joins London 2012 bronze medallist Beth Tweddle as the only British women to win an individual European title.

“For me to take the bars, it’s just been an incredible day,” she said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, it’s the most amazing thing ever. There was a doubt in the back of my mind going for the big routine but I knew if I pulled it off I could win the gold medal.

“To beat the Olympic champion is unbelievable but I knew it was possible. I’ve worked so, so hard on this. You can see the emotion when I stuck my dismount; I knew it was going to be a medal.”

Rebecca Tunney, the youngest member of the Team GB squad at London 2012, was edged out of a medal by Russia’s Daria Spiridonova. She had to settle for fourth by just 0.033 points.

Another Briton to miss out on the podium was 16-year-old Claudia Fragapane, who finished sixth on the vault and eighth on the floor.

“I didn’t get what I wanted but it was an amazing experience, I’m just so proud of what I’ve done,” Fragapane said.

On Saturday Britain’s women matched their best ever team result at the championships by winning a silver medal.