European Championships Birmingham 2010

9 05 2010

It was my intension to blog during the two weeks of the Championships in Birmingham.However the competition schedule left very little free time.

I checked into the superb apartments next to the NIA on Tuesday 20th May. With suitcases safely stowed in the apartment it was straight off to the arena to catch the final rotation of the Junior Mens podium training.

After collecting my accreditation it was off to the press room to sort out a locker and meet with British Gymnastics and UEG officials.So far so good facilities and working conditions in the press area surpassing expectations. The detailed planning by the organizing committee was already paying off. The lighting in the arena was good 2000 iso f2 1/1000s. Using the Nikon f2 lens and a D3 I captured some of the first images.Training provides a good opportunity to have a look at the gymnasts routines,noting for the competition where and when the big moves etc take place.This was an extrordinary championships in many ways. The ash cloud caused travel chaos,some of the journeys have been epic, such as the team from Finland who have driven all the way from Helsinki to Calais a trip of over 1000 miles. Others have shown the true meaning of a sporting nature with the Austrian team picking up the Slovakian team on their way and Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia travelling together.

I was covering the Championships as official photographer to both the UEG an British gymnastics.As such I had to produce images of British Gymnasts and also leading gymnasts of each nation as they competed for the individual and team medals.During qualifications competition started at 9.00am and finished at 10.00pm. Images had to be processed and sent after each round. Long days but you do get used to it! UEG published ongoing reports:

http://www.ueg-gymnastics.com/commstore/commstore2.pl/94c26ca56acb801d/en/news_detail.html?P6=4756&k=1&block_id=content,head,navlinks&P1=1&P2=0&P3=news&P4=1&P7=4268&P8=neu&P10=&P9=

The organization and working conditions were second to none. This was proving to be a great championships in many ways.There were many highlights during the two weeks of competitionbut perhaps the most satisfying from a British piont of view was the number of medals achieved by the home gymnasts.

The GB team left the European Championships with a total of 15 medals (senior boys: team silver, individual gold, silver and bronze; junior boys: team gold, four individual golds, a silver and two bronze; senior girls: team silver, two individual golds).

That total is unprecedented, particularly the success of both the junior and senior men’s teams, who have for decades toiled in the lower echelons of world gymnastics.

The Russians won both the Junior and Senior Womens Finals. Germany won the Mens Team Final with GB winning Gold in the Junior Team event.

Below are a few photos from the Championships:



Images from the event can be viewed at   http://www.photoshelter.com/c/u0000fpbizfqgfes
http://www.f2images.co.uk    Alan Edwards   May2010

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