World Gymnastics 2011: Britain's Beth Tweddle seventh in floor final

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport in Tokyo

Beth Tweddle finished seventh in her floor final as the World Gymnastics drew to a close in Tokyo on Sunday.

Tweddle, 26, who won the title two years ago, scored 14.500 as Russia's Ksenia Afanasyeva, initially only a reserve for the final, won with 15.133.

"It's not a sour note to end on - I'm still up there, I've just got to work a lot more on my landings," said Tweddle.

"We've got the British women's team qualified [for the Olympic Games] and I can work towards 2012 now."

Though she placed seventh, Tweddle believes the result does not suggest her chance of a medal on the apparatus at the London Olympics is fading.

"The whole time I've been here I've struggled with the bounce [of the floor apparatus] and haven't been able to practise the jumps like I would at home," she explained.

"My start value is up there, it was all about the landings."

Afanasyeva, originally a reserve for the floor final, replaced Russian compatriot Victoria Komova - who withdrew, though no injury is believed to be involved - and snatched victory from China's Sui Lu by 0.067 marks.

The 2011 World Championships end with Tweddle and Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Louis Smith still Britain's biggest hopes for gymnastics medals at London 2012.

Liverpudlian Tweddle heads into the Olympic year fighting on two fronts as one of the strongest uneven bars contenders in the world, despite missing out on this year's bars final thanks to errors in qualifying.

Smith - even disregarding the pommel horse bronze medal he won on Saturday - proved in his final that his routine will outscore any other if he executes it cleanly at the Games.

The pair must now work to minimise the chance of errors, which both experienced here, occurring again on the Olympic stage in a year's time.

Dan Purvis has also emerged as a credible contender for a men's all-around medal, voicing his disappointment when a phenomenal high bar routine from Germany's Philipp Boy deprived him of a place on the podium on Friday.

If Purvis can improve his own high bar performance and find a few tenths of a mark on the other five pieces of apparatus, he may yet win an Olympic medal.

However, Britain's men must first earn their place at the Games during January's Olympic test event, their poor qualification outing proving the team's greatest disappointment here.

The women booked their places at the Games safely but, needing a top-eight finish in qualifying to activate automatic entry for the full team at London 2012, the men crumbled to place 10th.

That result means attention now turns to the test event, to be held at London Olympic venue the O2 Arena.

Britain's men are expected to have little trouble finishing in the top four of the eight teams competing, which will still guarantee them the full complement of five male gymnasts at the Games.

Other winners on Sunday included Yang Hak-seon, who performed the world's most difficult vault - meriting a difficulty score of 7.4 - on his way to gold for South Korea.

Sui Lu led a Chinese one-two on balance beam as Russian star Victoria Komova fell, and America's Danell Leyva won the parallel bars world title ahead of the star of these championships, Japan's Kohei Uchimura.

And all-around champion Uchimura failed to end the tournament in fairy-tale fashion as he had to settle for bronze, behind Chinese duo Zou Kai and Zhang Chenglong, in a high bar final as dramatic as ever.

Nor are the British men the only ones who leave Tokyo without qualification for the Games assured.

An error on high bar from Dutchman Epke Zonderland, during what promised to be the hardest routine yet seen at world level, may yet see one of the sport's most dazzling performers fail to qualify for London 2012.

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