Gadirova dazzles to defend European floor title

·2-min read
Jessica Gadirova of Great Britain competes in the Women's Floor Exercise Final in Munich, Germany. Photo: Thomas Niedermüller / Munich2022 (Thomas Niedermüller / Munich202)

Jessica Gadirova delivered a dazzling routine to defend her European floor title and then roared – bring on the Worlds in Liverpool writes Will Jennings.

The Coventry gymnast, 17, racked up a stunning score of 14.00 to beat Martina Maggio and Angela Andreoli and emulate her memorable exploits in Basel last year at the multi-sport event.

Gadirova competed after her Italian opponents to pull off a daring, bold routine on the final time she will ever perform it on the major international stage.

The Tokyo Olympic star now wants to shake things up and is relishing the prospect of doing so in front of a raucous Merseyside crowd at October’s World Championships.

Gadirova, twin sister of teammate Jennifer, said: “This is the last time I’ll compete that floor routine, so it’s incredible to win the title with it.

“It will always have a special place in my heart.

“I’ll be working on a new routine after this looking ahead to the World Championships in Liverpool, where the crowd will be amazing I’m sure.

“I’m in a bit of a daze - I’m shocked to have retained my title to be honest and it hasn’t really sunk in.”

British gymnasts enjoyed a memorable few days in Munich as they claimed a haul of four medals at the city’s 1972 Olympic Hall.

Alice Kinsella got the ball rolling with all-around silver on Thursday before joining forces with the Gadirova twins, Ondine Achampong and Georgia-Mae Fenton to seal team silver on Saturday.

Gadirova’s Sunday triumph proved the icing on the cake after teammate Achampong, 18, had won a shock silver on the balance beam earlier in the day.

The West Midlands star controversially opted to miss this summer’s Commonwealth Games in a bid to prioritise the more prestigious Europeans, one of nine sports to hosting their Championships in Munich this week as part of an innovative multi-sport event.

That decision looked to backfire as she was rusty in Thursday’s all-around event, dramatically taking a tumble on the balance beam to finish 10th behind Kinsella overall.

But she bounced back with that team silver 48 hours later before climbing to the summit of the podium in her favoured floor event on the final day of competition.

Gadirova added: “You don’t really appreciate as you’re competing how the routine is going.

“I just focus on the next tumble but the crowd at the end make you realise how well you’ve done.

“Hearing Jen cheer me on from the side makes a big difference – it’s always so amazing having her alongside me.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website