GYMNASTICS: Smith top qualifier at the European Championships

Louis Smith cruised into the European Championship final.

Louis Smith cruised into the European Championship final.

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Louis Smith cruised into the pommel horse final at the European Championships in Switzerland yesterday (May 26).

The 27 year-old from Eye posted the highest score (15.833) in qualification in the pommel horse and will be favourite to retain his title in the final on Sunday.

He said: “I’m very happy with my routine and most importantly posting that score on pommel for the team.

“With Max (Whitlock) not being here, it was extra important that I gave the team a big score on pommel so I made sure I nailed it.

“Everything we are doing out here is part of a bigger journey towards Rio. Today was a step closer and the aim is to keep improving.”

Smith’s efforts also helped the Great Britain squad of Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson and Courtney Tulloch qualify second for the men’s team final on Saturday with a total of 267.020, just behind Russia, who scored 267.725.