Lauren retains her European title but Louis has a Swiss roll and loses his
It was a mixed weekend for two of our local sports stars in European Championship action.
While Sawtry paratriathlete Lauren Steadman, the reigning Peterborough Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year, was storming to a fourth consecutive European title success in Portugal, Eye gymnast Louis Smith was falling off his horse in Switzerland.
Smith, the defending champion, went into Sunday’s pommel horse final in Bern as the leading qualifier and his confidence had also been boosted by a superb performance in the men’s team final.
That was a near-perfect routine and it earned Great Britain the silver medal behind Russia.
But, when it mattered most, Smith slipped up.
The 27 year-old Huntingdon Gymnastics Club member was going well only to lose his hand placement midway through his routine.
He slipped and rolled backwards off the apparatus, but he dusted himself down and got back on to finish strongly.
With a high difficulty routine, Smith was still able to score 14.733, but it was only enough for fourth in a competition where five of the eight gymnasts came off.
Armenia’s Harutyun Merdinyan took gold with a total of 15.366, while David Belyavsky of Russia won silver with 15.233 and Swiss gymnast Christian Baumann bronze with 14.900.
Smith said: “As gymnasts we make the sport look easy, but it’s a difficult job and every now and then that happens.”
Steadman meanwhile is looking in great shape ahead of the Rio Paralympics.
She swept to success in the PT4 category in Lisbon completing the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in a time of 1:09.02.
The 23 year-old finished almost three minutes clear of closest challenger Faye McLelland, another British competitor, as she followed up victories in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey in the past three years.
Gwladys Lemoussu of France took the bronze medal with Clare Cunningham (GB) finishing fourth in a time of 1:14.35.