Gadirova twins prove potential as Jessica secures 10th place in all-around final
By Mark Staniforth, PA Olympics Correspondent
Jessica Gadirova scored another notable achievement on her Olympic debut in Tokyo as she became the first British woman to place in the top 10 of the women’s all-around gymnastics competition.
Despite a fall on the beam, the 16-year-old scored 53.965 to eclipse the previous best of 12th place by Becky Downie in Beijing in 2008. Her twin sister Jennifer finished 13th with a score of 53.533.
The twins teamed up with Alice Kinsella and Amelie Morgan to clinch an improbable team bronze medal on Tuesday, and Jessica has a further chance to shine next week having qualified for the individual floor final, with Jennifer as first reserve.
Jessica said: “It is quite cool to be the first one to do it. I was a bit annoyed when I fell off the beam but I tried to perform the best I could.
“This just shows me where I stand and what I need to improve. It gives me more realisation about where I belong. But I’m not focusing on medals and stuff like that. I’m focusing on my best performance and if it gives me another medal I’ll be over the moon.”
The duo had arrived at their debut Olympics admitting they were in awe of stars like Simone Biles, but have proceeded to underscore their tremendous potential in the Japanese capital.
Their performances were all the more impressive for the way in which they rebounded from their minor errors, with Jessica scoring a lowly 12.033 on beam, and Jennifer also mistiming an element of her routine on the uneven bars.
Jennifer said: “I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself so I put it (my medal) to the back of my mind and just restarted and told myself it’s just another competition, and nothing has happened.
“I do feel like I belong a bit more now, but I still feel a bit like, wow, I’m still competing with the best gymnasts in the world.”