Artistic Gymnastics

Turkey win two European apparatus titles on home soil

Ibrahim Colak and Ferhat Arican secure first golds for Turkey in men's European Championship history as Albania and Lithuania secure maiden triumphs.

By ZK Goh ·

World champion Ibrahim Colak won hosts Turkey's first European men's artistic gymnastics gold medal on the still rings on the final day of the European Championships in Mersin.

Shortly after, his teammate Ferhat Arican delivered the country's second, winning the parallel bars final.

The top scorer from qualification and also the first man to perform on rings, Colak nailed a flawless high-difficulty routine and stuck his front double pike dismount to receive a massive 15.000 score from the judges.

Silver went to Austria's Vinzenz Höck, a rings specialist, and one of only two men (along with Abdelrahman Elgamal) to have a routine difficulty higher than that of Colak's.

Höck showed off impressive strength but was forced to take a hop on landing, scoring 14.800 for silver. It was Austria's first European men's medal in 65 years.

Ukraine's Igor Radivilov (14.766) won bronze.

Colak's teammate, the highly-rated Egyptian-born Elgamal, was still struggling with a foot injury picked up in warm-ups before Saturday's team final, and on dismounting from the rings he took a step back and winced in apparent pain, finishing off the podium.

In the absence of major European gymnastics powerhouses Russia, Germany, and Great Britain, other athletes ensured they would write their names into artistic gymnastics history.

While Arican did not have the cleanest parallel bars routine, struggling with his form, the second half of his routine leading into a double front half twist dismount was far more polished, giving the Turk - a vault silver medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games - a winning score of 15.100.

Ukraine's Petro Pakhniuk made up for some disappointing performances in earlier finals by taking silver, while Lithuania claimed their first men's European medal as Robert Tvorogal took bronze.

Tvorogal stunned Croatia's world silver medallist Tin Srbic in the horizontal bar final.

Cheered on vocally by his coaches and teammates in the stands, the 2019 European Games champion on the apparatus performed a 6.4-difficulty routine and nailed his double layout full out to score 14.800 points and clinch Lithuania's first European gold.

Srbic's 14.600 was good for silver, while Israel's Russian-born Alexander Myakinin (14.200) did just enough to pip Elgamal to bronze.

It was a disappointing end to the Championships for Elgamal (14.166), who went first on the apparatus and looked to have done enough to win a medal, sticking his dismount.

However, given the Turkish gymnast's bad luck with injury this weekend, a team silver medal is still a good return.

Radivilov, the London 2012 bronze medallist on vault, won his first European title on the apparatus to add to 2013 gold on the rings.

The 28-year-old performed the Ri Se Gwang II for his first vault, scoring an impressive 14.933, but a small step back on his second effort reduced his average score to 14.733.

That was just enough to place him ahead of Belarus' Yahor Sharamkou, whose Tsukuhara 2.5 and Dragulescu vaults averaged 14.700.

Israel's Artem Dolgopyat won bronze (14.483), while 39-year-old Marian Dragulescu of Romania – the pioneer of the vault of that name – performed his own signature move flawlessly for his second vault but missed out on a medal after a disappointing first attempt.

In the pommel horse final, Albania won their first men's European medal – gold – as Russian-born Matvei Petrov eked out a 0.033-point margin over Filip Ude.

Petrov, who retired from the sport after representing his birth country before deciding to make a comeback, was the first man to perform in the final and set a mark no one would overtake.

He could even have had a score higher than his 14.566, had he not dropped points on his final move trying to set up a handstand to his dismount.

Ude, the Beijing 2008 silver medallist on the apparatus, won his first major championships medal since 2014 world silver at the age of 34. The Croatian originally received a score of 14.433, and an inquiry increased his difficulty by a tenth of a point but not enough to put him on the top step of the podium.

Turkey's Arican won bronze (14.366) after a long wait as the judges scrutinised his routine, the last of the eight finalists, closely.

In the day's first final, world silver medallist Dolgopyat won his first European title on the floor after back-to-back continental silver medals in 2018 and 2019.

The 23-year-old performed a routine packed with difficulty, and despite not delivering a perfectly clean routine still received a score of 15.000, the only man to break that mark.

Top qualifier Sharamkou of Belarus was docked a tenth of a point for stepping out of bounds during his routine, which opened the door to Croatia's Aurel Benovic – who only had the sixth-highest score in qualification – to sneak in for silver on 14.600. Sharamkou scored 14.533 marks to win bronze.

Ahmet Önder was the only home representative and finished fourth after Elgamal withdrew in order to risk further injury before the rings and high bar finals.