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Gymnastics: Dan Purvis mounts horse for a charge at World Cup medals

  • by MARK WOODS
 

After leaving the London Olympic Games with a bronze medal, Daniel Purvis ended what will forever be a memorable 2012 with a trinket of the same colour hanging around his neck from yesterday’s World Cup event in Glasgow’s newly-constructed Commonwealth Games venue, the Emirates Arena.

At the close of a satisfying – if tiring – year, the 22-year-old Scotland international gymnast took an early lead over his six rivals, London silver medallist Marcel Nguyen included.

Ultimately, his fate hung squarely from the horizontal bar where, going last and protecting a slender advantage, Purvis could not quite hold his nerve, dropping to third as his German foe recorded a victorious score of 90.098 points, enough to fend off Japan’s Kazuhito Tanaka.

“It was just nerve racking,” the Great Britain international said. “It was the last competition of the year so I just wanted to enjoy it. There was a little slip-up but I was happy with it.”

Purvis did not want for support. Each one of his routines was greeted with high-pitched shrieks from an audience made up largely of young fascinated girls.

In its new home, this event sold out months ago and, to capitalise on the feel-good factor, posters were already promoting the 2015 world championships which will be held at the under-construction Hydro Arena just a few kilometres away. That will be among Purvis’ long-term targets and, after ending up second in Stuttgart last weekend, he is firmly in contention for the all-round series title with two rounds to follow next spring. Here, he earned top marks on the pommel horse before repeating the feat on the rings with a double dismount.

But gymnastics is an unforgiving trade. Kristian Thomas, another member of that lauded British foursome in London, flunked his pommel routine not once but twice, before regaining what was left of his composure and completing the performance.

His effort at the compulsory smile upon dismount was altogether unconvincing. But then he had the indignity of a close-up camera shot as he awaited the judges’ verdict.

That slip left Thomas out of contention but Purvis continued to flourish. However, on the decisive last trial, he was overtaken by Nguyen, whose remarkable showing on the parallel bars provided decisive.

“It’s disappointing,” Purvis added. “But in the end I managed to come in the top three so I’m relatively satisfied. I can go back in the gym now, work on my high bar and get it sorted.”

In the women’s competition, Elizabeth Price, who was only a reserve in the US Olympic team, claimed her second successive World Cup victory with a score of 59.165, well clear of second-placed Elisabeth Seitz of Germany. British hopes lay with 16-year-old national champion Rebecca Tunney who fell on the beam to ruin her hopes but rebounded to finish fifth.

 

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