Smith shines to take Euro title

AFTER having witnessed the trauma of two floor plates ripping out and the high bar falling down mid-routine in the warm-up gym, the Great Britain team settled down to the final few days of preparation for the European Junior Championships in Volos, Greece

AFTER having witnessed the trauma of two floor plates ripping out and the high bar falling down mid-routine in the warm-up gym, the Great Britain team settled down to the final few days of preparation for the European Junior Championships in Volos, Greece.

Louis Smith, despite a sore wrist, managed some good sessions on the pommel horse and was confident going into the team event.

Our hotel, perched high on a mountain, was idyllically situated and the boys enjoyed a car journey to the top on Tuesday and relaxed with a team snowball fight.

On Thursday the juniors witnessed a superb senior team performance that put GB into 11th place - and the juniors were determined to improve on that result.


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The squad of five were brilliant and competed 23 out of 24 clean exercises to take an amazing and unexpected fourth place in Europe.

Louis was stable on pommels, qualifying in fourth, and went to bed pleased that the hardest job of qualifying in a field of 130 was now over.

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Finals day was a nervous affair as Louis watched six gymnasts from Ukraine, Russia, and Romania perform clean routines. He knew that only a solid performance would be enough.

A wobble on the start and then he settled into a routine he must have down a thousand times.

The reward was a score of 14.95, two tenths above his nearest rival, and the Junior European Title for the second time.

"It's fantastic - all the hard work has paid off" said Louis after stepping down from the rostrum.

Now it's back to Peterborough for A levels and more work for the World Championships in October.

Paul Hall

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