Dan Purvis insists Great Britain’s gymnasts have made incredible strides after the Scot helped his team claim silver with sensational performances across the board at the World Championships in Glasgow.
Britain went into the final rotation yesterday in the hunt for a bronze, but stellar floor work from Purvis and Max Whitlock meant they leapfrogged China into silver and almost stole gold from Japan.
That’s incredible. A few years ago we were nowhere near China or Japan... but now the system is just so goodDan Purvis
It looked like it might not happen for the Brits at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro heading into the closing stages, but mistakes from the USA and China opened the door for a grandstand finish.
Purvis then stepped up and scored 15.400 to put the Brits right in the hunt and Whitlock nailed his routine for a stunning 15.700 to give the team 270.345.
That proved enough to guarantee silver, but a dramatic late fall from the high bar for Japan’s Kohei Uchimura meant gold was within grasp.
In the end, they had to settle for second as Uchimura recovered to score 14.466 and give the Japanese victory by less than half a point.
“To be honest, the routine was a lot more intense than waiting around for the score,” said Purvis. “All three of us hit our final routines under huge pressure and it’s a bonus if you get a big score. To get that was fantastic, and waiting around if you know you’ve done a good routine is a nice feeling but, if you’ve made a couple of little mistakes, then it’s scary.
“It was an unbelievable finish. Me and Kristian thought that we were fighting for bronze to be honest and weren’t really looking at the scores, then, all of a sudden, we were in second and pushing for gold.
“That’s incredible, especially in this sport. A few years ago we were nowhere near China or Japan and to come here and get the silver medal is unbelievable.
“It’s a dream come true. Years ago this would never have happened, and now the system is just so good and the juniors coming through are very talented as well.
“Scotland gymnastics is pushing on, too, and it’s an incredible time to be part of the sport in this country.
“I think now we’ve got the main pressure off in qualifying for Rio, and this is a massive bonus, so now I think everyone can just go for their routines and whatever happens in the individuals we have the silver medal to fall back on.”
Olympic silver medalist Louis Smith got things going for Britain with a typically impressive pommel routine – Whitlock equally strong to give the home crowd an early boost.
Purvis then made his bow on the rings before a solid series of vaults established Britain as a legitimate contender for the podium.
Russia pulled ahead briefly as the Brits stumbled on the parallel bars and it looked like it might have all been in vain as Nile Wilson struggled on the high bar.
But the team of Purvis, Whitlock, Wilson, Smith, Brinn Bevan and Kristian Thomas never gave up and powered through to an outstanding result.
“It’s a buzz,” said Smith. “We were paying attention but we weren’t really paying attention to what everyone else was doing.
“We saw scores but we didn’t really see performances, so we went into the end of it blind and just tried to get our routines clean.
“One by one the scores came in and we started to hope and then you realise how much of a pressure situation it was for Max to do his routine clean.
“We just kept talking and saying let’s try and get 18 clean routines and we were trying to focus on that as much as possible and that’s what we did.
“We were the underdogs and to beat China to silver is incredible. I never would have thought we would be in a position as a team where we would be beating China.
“We did our job and we are capable of great things. We said it before that this sport is very unpredictable.”
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