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Gymnastics: Purvis hangs tough

SCOTLAND'S Daniel Purvis claimed a World Cup medal for the second successive weekend, in front of a sold-out Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Daniel Purvis was pleased with his performance in Glasgow yesterday              Photograph: Stewart Attwood
Daniel Purvis was pleased with his performance in Glasgow yesterday Photograph: Stewart Attwood

The 23-year-old took silver - adding to his bronze in the opening round of the 2013-14 FIG World Cup Series in Stuttgart - after a battle with Oleg Verniaiev (Ukraine) which came down to a nail-biting showdown on the final apparatus.

From the beginning, there was much for the home crowd to cheer about as Purvis, looking poised and confident, got his campaign off to a strong start on the floor.

Last year's World Cup event in Glasgow had brought Purvis to grief on this opening piece of apparatus, but he eloquently proved that lightning doesn't strike twice by producing a routine head and shoulders above the rest of the field to post 15.433.

A solid routine on pommel horse to score 14.633, followed by 14.966 on rings, gave the Scot the lead at the halfway mark over Andrey Likhovitskiy (Belarus) and Verniaiev, winner of last weekend's World Cup in Stuttgart.

Purvis then posted 15.000 on the vault, before a controversial moment came when Verniaiev, after a complaint about the parallel bars not being set up properly, was permitted to restart his routine.

Verniaiev scored 15.633 to move into the lead, Purvis following with 14.533 to leave him sitting in second going into the final piece. You could hear a pin drop as Purvis began his high bar routine, close to 5500 people holding their breath in the packed arena. As soon as his feet hit the mat, sticking the landing, came the deafening roar; Purvis looked torn between elation and relief.

He posted 14.566 but it wasn't to be enough to topple Verniaiev, meaning the Scot had to settle for silver overall, with Likhovitskiy claiming bronze.

However, Purvis was far from downbeat. "Apart from P-bars, where there was a little mishap, everything else was pretty spot on," he said. "It was a good competition and great to be in front of a home crowd. I'm not disappointed.

"I knew my high bar was limited, but if my P-bars had gone well I could have won. It's normally better than that. I think if I can consolidate that I'll be up there next year at Glasgow 2014."

Having now overcome the post-Olympic fatigue which caused him to suffer a dip in form earlier this year, Purvis said he drew much confidence from claiming two medals in the opening rounds of the World Cup.

He smiled when asked about his hopes of Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow next summer, admitting "that would be nice".

"It was tough after the Olympics but in the last six months I've turned it round," he said. "There are one or two things I still want to add [to his routines], perfect those and hopefully that will be enough to get my spot in the team."

Purvis, who confirmed he plans to contest the 2014 Scottish National Gymnastics Championships in Perth at the end of February, said he was buoyed by the strength and depth of the current men's squad ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

"The Scotland team looks strong and there are quite a few of us fighting for those five spots," he said. "It's difficult but the good thing is you know it's going to be a strong team because everyone is fighting each other. It's looking good."

Sam Oldham, part of the bronze medal-winning GB team alongside Purvis at London 2012, finished in seventh in the men's competition.

The women's competition in this year's World Cup is fast developing into a duel between Elizabeth Price (US) and Larisa Iordache (Romania).

Price edged it last weekend in Stuttgart, but it was Iordache who was to emerge as the victor in Glasgow. Former world all-around champion Vanessa Ferrari (Italy) took bronze.

Ruby Harrold and Raer Theaker, representing Britain, finished in seventh and eighth respectively.

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