Downie sis­ters en­dure mixed for­tunes

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - By Simon Briggs

Great Bri­tain’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion ses­sion took a wor­ry­ing turn when Ellie Downie mist­imed a for­ward som­er­sault dur­ing her floor rou­tine and landed on her neck, ne­ces­si­tat­ing a rapid exit from the arena.

Downie, who is 17, was placed in a wheel­chair for a mo­ment by med­i­cal staff and it seemed that her Games might be over. But once she had re­cov­ered from the im­me­di­ate shock, she de­cided that she was fit enough to con­tinue af­ter all, and went ahead with her vault.

“I crunched my neck,” Downie told the BBC. “They put me in a wheel­chair. I was bet­ter than I thought so I came out and vaulted.”

Downie was still due to un­dergo fur­ther med­i­cal tests last night be­fore she is al­lowed to con­tinue in this week’s com­pe­ti­tions. Her mishap fol­lowed on from the shock­ing fall by French gym­nast Samir Ait Said on Satur­day, who landed so badly from his vault that his shin snapped and his foot dan­gled off.

Af­ter that ac­ci­dent, Ger­man gym­nast Fabian Ham­buechen sug­gested that the open-ended scor­ing sys­tem brought in af­ter the 2004 Olympics was mak­ing the sport too dan­ger­ous. Ham­buechen pre­ferred the old sys­tem, which Na­dia Co­maneci fa­mously took to its limit when she scored her per­fect ten.

The women’s qual­i­fy­ing was con­tin­u­ing last night but Great Bri­tain had al­ready sealed their place in to­mor­row’s team fi­nal by the time that the run­away favourites, the USA, ar­rived in the arena.

Ellie Downie’s older sis­ter, Becky, had a bet­ter day, record­ing a score of 15.233 on her best ap­pa­ra­tus of un­even bars. This ap­peared likely to earn her qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the in­di­vid­ual fi­nal, al­though she stood a long way be­hind the 15.883 posted by reign­ing Olympic cham­pion Aliya Musta­fina of Rus­sia.

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