Jessica Gadirova, 19, becomes only the fifth British world champion in history after sealing a floor gold medal at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Sunday; “When I focus on the dance it takes my mind away from the crowd and the tumbles and the leaps, and it makes me feel alive”
Last Updated: 06/11/22 6:08pm
Jessica Gadirova claimed a historic floor gold medal for Great Britain on the final day of the World Gymnastics Championship in Liverpool.
Competing last of the eight finalists, the 19-year-old scored 14.2 to beat the USA’s Jordan Chiles on 13.833, with Jade Carey and Rebeca Andrade sharing bronze with 13.733.
Victory made Gadirova only the fifth British world champion in history, and lifted the hosts’ final tally to a record-breaking six medals from the Championships.
Gadirova, whose twin sister Jennifer finished seventh, had qualified for the final in third place and held her nerve amid a raucous home crowd at the M&S Bank Arena.
She had already helped her team to win a silver medal early in the Championships before taking a bronze medal in the women’s all-around competition.
Brazil’s Andrade, the newly-crowned all-around champion, had set the score to beat before being edged out by Chiles, who had earlier won team gold and silver in the vault.
When Carey failed to eclipse her team-mate, the relatively low final scores set the stage for Gadirova, a two-time European floor champion, to underline her ascent to world level.
She duly completed a remarkably successful Championships for Britain, following on from the gold won by Giarnni Regini-Moran in the men’s floor final on Saturday.
Gadirova, who said she was “shocked” by her success, admitted she found it difficult to focus in the build-up, knowing that twin sister Jennifer was preceding her on the apparatus.
“I like to focus on myself and stay calm, so it did hurt me a little bit because I wished I could have seen her performance and scream for her as well,” said Gadirova.
“But I knew I needed to focus because I know I can produce a fantastic floor routine and I wanted to show it off for Liverpool.
“When I focus on the dance it takes my mind away from the crowd and the tumbles and the leaps, and it makes me feel alive. That’s what I am, I love to perform and floor is one of my favourite pieces to do. It gives me such an amazing feeling.”