European Championships: Ellie Downie is first Briton to win all-round gold

By David McDaidBBC Olympic sports reporter in Cluj
European Championships BBC coverage (all times BST)
Red Button coverage: Saturday, 22 April, 11:25-14:50
BBC Two: Saturday, 22 April, 13:30-16:30, Monday, 24 April, 10:30-12:00

Ellie Downie has become the first British gymnast to win all-around gold at a major international championship - with victory at the European Championships.

The 17-year-old was in second place going into the final apparatus but beat Hungary's Zsofia Kovacs to the title.

Briton James Hall won all-around bronze in his first major senior competition.

The 21-year-old scored 84.664 to finish behind gold medallist Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine, and Russia's Arthur Dalaloyan.

"I'm speechless, so happy. It's just a massive thing and I don't think I'll realise how big for a while," Downie told BBC Sport.

"That was probably one of the hardest competitions I've done and when the score came through I was speechless."

GB's Joe Fraser, 18, came fifth in his first senior year, scoring 82.982, while 16-year-old Alice Kinsella came 10th in the all-round event.

"To come to a European Championships, do my best gymnastics and come away third, I can't get my head around it," Hall said.

Hall has a world team silver medal to his name and was at the Olympic Games in Rio last summer.

However, he was reserve in both competitions and did not compete.

"My first senior major and I've shown the world what I'm made of. I'm so happy. I can't believe it," he said.

The Kent gymnast qualified third best and improved his overall score in the final, with increased apparatus scores on floor, pommel, rings and parallel bars.

"In the training gym I was thinking 'just go through the same as qualifying and nothing is impossible'," he said.

"I started hitting floor, hitting pommel, did my best rings and I thought nothing could stop me after that."

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