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Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 18:14 UK

World Gymnastics 2010: GB women seventh in team final

World Gymnastics, 16-24 October: Daily reports and video, live on BBC TV, red button and online from Wednesday Gymnastics on the BBC

By Ollie Williams

Hannah Whelan
Britain's gymnasts struggled on the beam in Wednesday's final

Britain's women endured a disappointing World Championships team final as costly errors saw them finish seventh.

Having earlier performed exceptionally to reach the final, GB were undone by early mistakes on the beam, where both Imogen Cairns and Nicole Hibbert fell.

"We had a shaky start on beam but we've proved we are a nation that should be in the top eight," said Beth Tweddle.

Russia won gold for the first time in their history in Rotterdam, ahead of the United States and China.

The three women's gymnastics superpowers dominated as expected, while Wednesday's result delivers a swift injection of realism to the British programme after qualifying produced exceptional results for GB's gymnasts.

Britain's women - Cairns, Hibbert, Tweddle, Becky Downie, Hannah Whelan and Jennifer Pinches - had looked strong as they qualified for the team final in fifth place last weekend.

Though Romania qualified four points ahead and the US lay five points further clear, Britain had an outside chance of bronze going into the final if other teams folded under the pressure.

They put me up first on beam, there was a little bit of pressure and it didn't really work out

Imogen Cairns

However, falls from Cairns and Hibbert in their first routines of the final - on the beam - signalled a premature end to their faint hopes of breaking into the top three, Cairns scoring 11.833 and Hibbert only 11.666.

Whelan added a more promising score of 14.233 to give Britain a total of 37.632 after the first of the four rotations (teams take on one set of apparatus in each rotation), leaving them comfortably bottom of the eight finalists.

Tweddle, 25, remains the reigning world champion on the floor until the weekend's individual final - for which she failed to qualify - and she posted a score of 14.666 in the team floor event as Britain tried to recover.

Cairns and Downie executed strong vaults to score 14.633 and 14.733 respectively, but Hibbert's total of 13.066 on bars punished another fall.

Tweddle again delivered in superb style in her second event, racking up a mammoth score of 15.733 on bars, but it could only earn Britain seventh place.

"They put me up first on beam, there was a little bit of pressure and it didn't really work out for me," Cairns told the BBC afterwards.

Hibbert added: "I wasn't supposed to do the beam but Becky Downie was poorly, so I had to take over. Unfortunately, I lost it on bars."

Downie herself said: "It was a huge achievement just to qualify for the team final. We had a few mistakes today, but we can work on that."

Russia came up with a total of 175.397 points to hold off the US (175.196) and China (174.781) in an incredibly tight race for the team title, which went down to the last Russian routine on the floor.

Aliya Mustafina scored 14.666 with Russia's final performance to win gold for her country by a margin of 0.201 points.

No Russian women's team had previously taken gold, though the Soviet Union won the team event in 1989 and 1991.

Romania, who won five back-to-back team world titles in the 1990s, came fourth, with Japan fifth and Australia sixth.

Britain's total of 166.828 points left only Italy below them.

The nine-day World Championships at Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena continue on Thursday with the men's team final.

Britain's men, who surprised rivals Germany and Russia by qualifying ahead of them in fourth place, will look to avoid the fate of the women, especially having completed qualification on Monday without a single major error in their routines.

Tweddle is back in action in Saturday's bars final, while Cairns goes in the vault final and both Whelan and Hibbert have places in Friday's all-around final, where gymnasts compete across all four pieces of apparatus.

China's He Kexin

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see also
GB men fourth in World qualifying
19 Oct 10 |  Gymnastics
GB through to Worlds team final
17 Oct 10 |  Gymnastics
Keatings on track for 2011 return
28 Sep 10 |  Gymnastics
Smith sticks with costly routine
17 Sep 10 |  Gymnastics
Gymnastics results
23 Aug 05 |  Gymnastics
Gymnastics on the BBC
28 Jul 09 |  Gymnastics
Get involved in gymnastics
23 Sep 10 |  Gymnastics


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