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Gymnastics goes Interactive

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Matt Millington | 09:20 UK time, Friday, 27 April 2007

Digital viewers who have pressed the red button to access our interactive TV coverage over recent weekends may have noticed that we are now using our Multiscreen service on a much more regular basis.

This format allows us to offer a number of live sports, including any BBC ONE/TWO output, in one place and without the need for the viewer to exit the service in order to view another sport.

This weekend, for instance, satellite and cable viewers will be able to select from two live World Championship snooker tables, our Score programme, the Cricket World Cup final service and the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships from Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, because we only have up to two extra video streams to make use of on Freeview, we cannot offer the Multiscreen format on this platform, but instead we link the interactive content with BBC ONE/TWO output via the blue MENU key.

These restrictions also mean that on busy weekends we may have to drop a sport that is available on other platforms. This inevitably results in yours truly coming in to an unhappy inbox on Monday mornings with viewers wanting to know why their favourite sport was not made available to them.

The truth is we have to make a call on which services will add the most value, and whatever we opt for we are always going to upset someone! For example, on Saturday afternoon we have Five Live sport streams on offer but only room for two on Freeview. In this instance, we have opted for one of the matches from the World Snooker (which remains one of our most popular services), and our regular Score programme, which is attracting more and more viewers and is sure to be well-used, as the football season comes to a climax.

Anybody wanting to plan ahead for interactive viewing can see our programme guide and our online and interactive schedule.

As for the gymnastics itself, all the action from Amsterdam can be seen live on interactive via the red button, with highlights on BBC TWO at 1355 BST on Sunday.

Britain will have nine gymnasts (three women and six men) at these European Championships. They were be competing against 41 countries for 12 medals in front of over 6,000 fans at the Amsterdam Exhibition Centre.

Mitch Fenner and Christine Still will talk you through the event in the company of Matt Baker, although with the imminent arrival of his first baby, Matt`s presence in the commentary box is not guaranteed!

At the time of writing all the finalists are still unknown, with qualification taking place over the next couple of days. But the British teams have their sights firmly set on medals - with Beth Tweddle and Louis Smith perhaps the most likely to finish on the podium.

Beth Tweddle is Britain's main medal hope in Amsterdam

This is Beth’s return to international action after a hugely successful 2006, during which she became Britain`s first ever artistic world champion in Aarhus (Denmark), won the highly coveted World Cup final in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and claimed third place in BBC Sports Personality of the Year. This weekend’s event marks a new step in her bid for Olympic glory in Beijing next year.

A shoulder operation has ruled her out of defending the European title on the uneven bars (her favourite apparatus), but it is hoped she will compete in the floor final. And there will be an interview with Beth during the BBC TWO transmission.

Apparently, the surgery has gone well, but with the World Championships in September also acting as qualifiers for the Olympics, Beth will not be the only European gymnast taking care not to exacerbate an injury. The Women’s team are missing a few faces, but we wish the two 16 year-olds (Marissa King and Hannah Clowes) well as they join Beth in competition.

British Gymnastics is very excited about some youngsters coming through in the men’s team. Louis Smith (18 last Sunday) is accompanied to Amsterdam by his Huntingdon club-mates Daniel Keatings (17) and Luke Folwell (19). All are coached by Paul Hall, with the remainder of the team made up of Kristian Thomas (18) and the two elder statesmen - Ross Brewer (27) and David Eaton (26). Louis had a 2006 to remember, as he took Commonwealth and Junior European titles. The pommel is his speciality where it is hoped he might win a medal.

The timetable for the competition is as follows:

Saturday, 28 April
Women`s All Around: 1125-1345 BST (Available on Freeview)
Men`s All Around: 1425-1715 BST (Available to digital, satellite and cable viewers only)

Sunday, 29 April
Five Apparatus Finals: 0955-1300 BST (Available on Freeview)
(Men’s Floor, Women’s Vault, Men’s Pommel, Women’s Uneven Bars, Men’s Rings)
Five Apparatus Finals: 1355-1700 BST (Available on Freeview)
(Men’s Vault, Women’s Beam, Men’s Parallel Bars, Women’s Floor, Men’s High Bar)

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