BETH Tweddle has put her Olympic ambitions first by deciding not to defend her European uneven bars title in Amsterdam, writes David Triggs.
The 22-year-old world champion, from Bunbury, is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery on tendons in her shoulder earlier this year.
The former Crewe and Nantwich Gym Club ace will compete on the floor and beam at the European Championships tomor row.
But she will not take part in the physically demanding bars event for fear of causing further damage to her troublesome shoulder.
With a medal-winning appearance at next year's Beijing Olympics her main objective, Tweddle knows it would be too much of a risk to push herself to the limit in Holland, where the women's qualifiers get under way tomorrow.
She said: 'It was a case of not competing or just going for beam and floor. It gets me back out on the international scene and people will realise that I'm still competing and not retired. It's disappointing, but later on in the year is more important.'
Having been crowned the undisputed queen of the uneven bars last year, Tweddle had been looking to dominate her favourite event again in 2007.
Although she has missed out on the chance to defend the European title she won in Greece last April, she still has the British Championships in July and the World Championships in Germany this September to look forward to.
Then it is on to Beijing, where Tweddle will be aiming to go out with a bang by winning her first Olympic gold medal.
She said: 'The injury is pretty much back to how it was. It feels pretty good, but it's not competition fit. If the Europeans had been a couple of weeks later, I might have been able to compete in the bars.
'I haven't been out on the international circuit since December so, for me, the European Championships are just to get out in competition and see what I can do. I've just got back from surgery so I'm not expecting much.'