Proud gymnast Becky Downie reflects on “unforgettable year”

FLYING HIGH -- Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie in action in the uneven bars final at the World Championships in China last weekend when she finished in an excellent fifth place.
FLYING HIGH -- Hucknall gymnast Becky Downie in action in the uneven bars final at the World Championships in China last weekend when she finished in an excellent fifth place.
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The star of Hucknall’s sporting year, gymnast Becky Downie, was far from disheartened despite missing out on a medal at the World Championships.

Becky (22) finished fifth in the final of the uneven bars when representing Team GB at the championships, held in Nanning, China.

But considering only one British woman (Beth Tweddle) has ever won a medal at the worlds in the history of the sport, it was considered a terrific performance.

It was certainly Becky’s best placing at the championships -- in what was a high-quality final. And she herself was delighted with a display that capped a memorable year in which she won three gold medals ansd a silver at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games.

“Of course it’s a bit disappointing not to be in the medals but, overall, to have competed three great routines, I couldn’t ask for more than that,” she said.

“This year has been brilliant for me, and this result is massively encouraging, going forward.”

Proud Becky, whose family home is off Nottingham Road in Hucknall, demonstrated high difficulty in her routines and registered a score of 15.166 points in the eight-girl final.

But the medals went to Chinese duo Jinnan Yao, with 15.633 points, and Huidan Huang (15.566), plus Russian girl Daria Spiridonova (15.283). Just ahead of Becky in fourth was Ashton Locklear, of the USA.

Later, Becky tweeted to her followers: “2014 has been an amazing year for me. Full of unforgettable moments with special people. Had the best two weeks in China to cap an incredible year. I’ve accomplished so much more.”

Earlier in the week in China, Becky also helped the British women’s squad finish sixth in the team final, top scoring for Team GB on both the uneven bars and the beam.

However, they failed to bring home any individual medals, although teenage star Claudia Fragapane reached three apparatus finals, finishing fifth, eighth and tenth.

For the men, Max Whitlock won Team GB’s only medal at the championships, grabbing a silver in the all-around competition. But 18-year-old Nile Wilson showed promise for the future, bagging fourth spot on the horizontal bars.

Becky, and her younger sister Ellie, now take a well-earned break before preparing for next season when the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil begins.