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European Championships 2018: Russia’s men win third straight team title as Great Britain falte

Russia’s men won their third consecutive European team title after two Great Britain athletes fell off their final apparatus, the horizontal bar, having closed the gap between silver and gold to just 1.132 points.

After Nikita NAGORNYY (RUS) fell on on floor exercise and made some minor mistakes on pommel horse, the Russians rose to the occasion on rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar to score a total of 257.260 points, 3.898 ahead of their long-time rivals. “We just wanted to take that third title,” said Nikolai KUKSENKOV (RUS). “When you win, it doesn’t matter how many points you win. We just did what we needed to do.”

With two-time Olympic champion Max WHITLOCK (GBR) to the fore, the British men looked capable of pulling off what seemed an unlikely victory following Saturday’s events, until mistakes by Dominick CUNNINGHAM and James HALL (GBR) on the horizontal bar. “I think everyone has stepped up their game today,” said HALL after competition. “We are not just chasing Russia, but we are right there behind them, breathing down their necks.”

France took bronze after veteran Cyril TOMMASONE (FRA) posted the highest pommel horse score of the day, 14.666. “There were huge expectations for me to do the best routine I could in order to claim the bronze for the team,” he said. “Before I got on the apparatus, I thought I had nothing to lose and just focused on doing my best.”

This knocked Germany down into fourth place while Italy finished last after a nightmare start, Andrea RUSSO’s fall on the vault scoring zero.

The men’s artistic gymnastics concludes on Sunday 12 August with the apparatus finals for juniors (10:00) and seniors (14:30) at the SSE Hydro Arena.

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