Great Britain denied gymnastics team gold in European Championships

Dominick Cunningham (left) and his team-mates, including Max Whitlock
Dominick Cunningham (left) and his team-mates, including Max Whitlock

High bar heartache hit Great Britain's men's gymnastics team as they were forced to settle for the silver medal behind Russia for the third consecutive European Championships in Glasgow.

The five-strong team had dragged back a significant qualification deficit to almost a single point heading onto the last piece of apparatus but falls for Dominick Cunningham and James Hall ended any chance of gold.

Russia ultimately triumphed by 257.260 points to 253.362, paving the way for a series of competitive individual finals on Sunday in which double Olympic champion Max Whitlock will once again take centre stage.

Despite improving his floor routine, Whitlock once again struggled on his favoured pommel and was marked down by the judges to a relatively lowly 14.433 after being deemed to have missed one of his elements.

But Whitlock remains determined to pull out his best routine on Sunday when he will come up against Rhys McClenaghan and Russia's David Belyavskiy, both of whom eclipsed him in qualifying - for the individual crown.

Whitlock said: "I looked back to London 2012 where I had the mindset to go out and give it everything, and that's what I've got to do in every competition from now on.

"You learn from every competition and if you stop learning that's when issues come up. I mucked up something in qualifying that I don't tend to muck up, because I thought about it too much.

"It reminded me that I just have to go out there and give it 100 per cent every single time."

All five members of the British team go in individual finals on Sunday, with 19-year-old Joe Fraser in parallel bars and high bar, Courtney Tulloch on rings and Cunningham and Hall on vault and high bar respectively.

They will do so with confidence after producing generally improved performances in the team final, with Fraser's 15.233 on the parallel bars perhaps the pick of the bunch.

"I'm really pleased with how things went today and we came so close but we can learn such a lot from this," said the Birmingham teenager. "I'm starting to feel like I belong out there now and I'm looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow."

Realistically the British team needed the Russians to make a major mistake if they were to reel in their seven-point qualifying deficit and overhaul their rivals for the first time since 2012.

A strong start on floor, led by Cunningham's 14.6, gave them hope and a vastly improved series of vaults, with Cunningham again outstanding on 14.9, hauled them closer as they approached their final piece of apparatus.

But two falls from Cunningham on the high bar made the hosts' challenge almost insurmountable, and the Russians duly cruised through their own routines to take victory with France moving up to claim the bronze.

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