Great Britain thrill home crowd with historic silver at World Gymnastics Championships

Liverpool (GBR) 01/10/2022
51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.
Women’s Team Final
GBR - Great Britain
© photo Simone Ferraro
Liverpool (GBR) 01/10/2022 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. Women’s Team Final GBR - Great Britain © photo Simone Ferraro

By Paul Martin

Great Britain’s show-stopping gymnasts made history with a stunning World Championship silver in Liverpool.

Jessica Gadirova’s superb floor routine put the seal on a memorable display in the women’s team showpiece as the hosts went toe-to-toe with the USA’s star-studded line-up.

The Americans held firm to claim a record-breaking sixth straight gold but silver represented Britain’s best-ever World Championship women’s team result and sealed a quota spot at the 2024 Olympics in the process.

“The atmosphere was electric,” Gadirova said. “It definitely helped us.

“I’m so proud I could help the team score and put that floor score up.

“Doing the floor felt amazing, my tumbling was amazing and I could hear the crowd cheer me on.

“I wanted to put my best performance out there for them and I’m so pleased. Everyone loves the music and the dance, which makes me so happy.”

Gadirova was joined by her sister, Jennifer, Alice Kinsella, Georgia-Mae Fenton and Ondine Achampong in a British quintet who competed alongside the favourites and stayed on their coattails throughout a gripping contest which had the Merseyside crowd on tenterhooks.

Achampong set the tone, heading a trio of 14-plus scores on the vault to get the hosts off to a flyer, and Kinsella provided the pick of the routines on the uneven bars to keep up the charge.

Her fall on the beam provided just about the only blot on the British copybook, with Fenton nailing her beam, and the destination of the gold medal came down to performances on the floor.

Olympic champion Jade Carey cemented the USA’s position at the summit only for Gadirova to produce a stunning routine which scored 14.233 and piled the pressure back on the favourites.

But Jordan Chiles was the calmest person inside the M&S Bank Arena and ensured a USA squad missing Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee surpassed Romania’s five consecutive golds between 1994 and 2001.

For the hosts, three of whom claimed Olympic bronze last year, this proved the latest step in a journey on which they are cementing themselves as a global force having also earned Commonwealth gold and European silver in the team event so far in 2022.

“It feels so surreal,” said Kinsella. “We’re speechless. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.

“I had the mistake on beam and put that behind me. It was tough but having these girls around me really helped.

“I just wanted to go out there and absolutely smash floor, trust myself, trust my training and that’s what I did.

“It helps having such an amazing team around me. They brought me back up because I was a bit down. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

The World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022 will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city. Over 500 gymnasts from more than 70 countries will compete at the M&S Bank Arena from 29 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets are available at www.2022worldgymnastics.com/tickets.