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Jake Jarman vaulted to his second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after eclipsing his England team-mate James Hall in a dramatic conclusion to the men’s all-around gymnastics competition.
The 20-year-old rising star delivered a towering score of 15.3 on his favourite apparatus to seize the initiative before Hall, stricken by a foot injury, just failed to do enough to snatch the title on his concluding high bar routine.
In an equally thrilling finish to the women’s event, Ondine Achampong took silver behind Georgia Godwin of Australia, but home city favourite Alice Kinsella was left heartbroken after a fall from the beam saw her plummet out of medal contention.
“I was quite nervous today,” admitted Jarman, who finished with a score of 83.450, ahead of Hall’s 82.9. “I’ve done a European Championships before and I remember I struggled to keep everything together, but my team supported me and they really showed me I could do this.
“I normally do a different vault with a slightly lower start value but recently it’s been a bit more inconsistent, so I decided to swap that up. The team final was the first time I had landed it in competition, but I really felt I could do it.”
Jarman and Hall had teamed up to win the team final on Friday alongside Joe Fraser, who competed despite a fractured foot, and this time it was Hall who ended the session in pain after re-aggravating an ankle injury he had recently suffered in training.
Hall’s evident discomfort might have made the difference as he hobbled off the stage after his parallel bars routine then stepped out his high bar landing, failing to attain a score in excess of 14.1 that would have elevated him into gold medal position.
Hall, also forced to settle for silver in 2018 behind the now-retired Nile Wilson, was typically magnanimous, insisting: “Jake did the hardest vault in the world today and he deserved it.
“It was immense out there. I’ve really got the crowd to thank for keeping me going. My coach said I could stop at any time but there was no way I could stop and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m happy to take the silver in the circumstances.”
There was no such solace for Kinsella, who had qualified in first place and appeared set to soar to the gold medal after strong performances on vault and bars, before a fall and further errors in her beam routine dropped her to fourth place.
Achampong, competing less than 24 hours after being part of Saturday’s gold medal-winning team event, also fell from the beam, but was able to limit the damage and rebound with a blistering floor routine that scored 13.35 and secured her the silver medal, 0.55 behind Godwin’s winning score of 53.55, with Canada’s Emma Spence in third.
Whilst Kinsella’s confidence levels appeared to plummet after her mistake, Achampong recovered her poise on her next piece of apparatus.
“I try to split up my competition into each piece, so once one piece is over it’s fine and if I’ve made a mistake I just move on,” she said.
“Obviously it’s disappointing that Alice couldn’t join me on the podium. I don’t think I could have got through this without her. After the beam had finished we both made sure each other was okay. I couldn’t ask for a better team-mate.”
Jarman and Achampong are both in contention for their third medals of the Games on Monday when they compete in the men’s floor final and the women’s uneven bars respectively. Kinsella has another day to gather herself before the women’s beam and floor finals on Tuesday.