Joe Fraser produced the routine of his life to secure a second gold medal in as many days for the GB team at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart.
Less than 24 hours after Max Whitlock MBE won gold on pommel horse, Joe packed the difficulty in to his parallel bars routine to score 15.000 and make history, winning Britain’s first ever world medal on the apparatus.
20-year-old Joe said: “It’s a dream come true! Unbelievable! World champion? It doesn’t get better. All I was thinking was, get through it, stick the dismount, then score by score I was so nervous. Just wow! I had a hope for a medal, but gold is crazy. I’ve worked really hard on the parallel bars and it’s paid off in the biggest way. World champion! Unreal.”
Competing 4th in the final, Joe had the most difficult routine of the eight gymnasts, and combined that with brilliant execution and the slightest step forward on dismount. He shot straight to the top of the leaderboard, but had a nervous wait while the final four gymnasts competed. Included in those four gymnasts were the two highest scoring gymnasts from qualifying, but they couldn’t surpass Joe’s score, and the Birmingham gymnast was crowned champion of the world on the final day of competition.
Also competing for GB was Dom Cunningham who finished 5th in the vault final. It was Dom’s second apparatus final, after an 8th place finish in the floor final yesterday (Saturday), and he produced two strong vaults to finish 5th.
His opening pass didn’t go quite as planned, as he aimed to up his difficulty and compete a triple twisting vault. He managed two and half twists, but the vault was still executed well with only a slight hop forward to score 14.566.
Dom’s second vault was another twisting vault, and matched his opening score. Well executed with good form in the air for 14.566 too, to confirm 5th place.
Dom: “It’s not bad – 5th in the world – and I’m over the moon. The first vault I did half a twist less than I wanted, but I’ve got to be happy overall. I’m enjoying myself, I love competing and now I’m 5th in the world against an incredible field. I’m super motivated and know I’ve got more to give.”
Today’s apparatus finals curtailed a brilliant 10 days of competition for British gymnasts.
During qualification, both the men’s and women’s team guaranteed a place at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as qualifying through to the final this week.
Also during qualification, gymnasts made it through to nine individual finals, including two all-around and seven apparatus finals.
In the team finals, both secured solid results, with the women’s team finishing 6th and the men’s team 5th amongst a highly competitive field.
All-around finals saw Alice Kinsella, James Hall and Joe Fraser all secure top 15 finishes. Alice placed 12th, James 14th and Joe 8th.
The opening day of apparatus finals was a day to remember. Three medals; one gold, one silver and one bronze, all won within the space of two hours as Ellie Downie claimed vault bronze moments before Max Whitlock MBE won his third world title on pommel horse, and then Ellie’s older sister, Becky, at the age of 27, won her very first world individual medal.
British Gymnastics Performance Director, James Thomas: “We’ve had an outstanding World Championships and seen really encouraging performances across the board which ahead of Olympic year is exactly what we wanted to achieve. The primary target was of course Olympic qualification for our teams and once that was successfully accomplished to then qualify for nine individual world finals, a record for us this cycle, was a huge achievement.
“In the finals our gymnasts have proven themselves against the worlds best and to see a mixture of experienced and relatively new gymnasts excel at this level is fantastic. As for our medal winners, Max Whitlock becoming three time pommel World champion, Becky Downie demonstrating all her skills and determination in winning world bars silver, Ellie Downie taking the vault bronze – our first ever women’s world vault medal – and then Joe Fraser, his first individual world apparatus final and historic parallel bars gold, we couldn’t be more proud of them all.
“Congratulations to the whole British Gymnastics team, our support staff, coaches and clubs and huge thanks to UK Sport and The National Lottery for their incredible support.”