GYMNASTICS: BETH Tweddle came within a whisker of taking the gold medal in Sunday's European Championships.
The Bunbury teenager, who won gold on the asymmetric bars at the Commonwealth Games two years ago, had to settle for silver in Holland after finishing less than a tenth of a point behind her arch rival, the legendary Russian Svetlana Khorkina.
Beth shot to world fame by becoming the first British woman to take a medal in the European Champion-ships in Greece in 2002 when she collected bronze.
But she went one better this time around with a top-class routine which earned her a score of 9.587 from the judges.
Khorkina, however, underlined why she is favourite for the gold medal at the forthcoming Athens Olympics, producing a stunning performance which earned her a score of 9.662 and with it the European title. National coach Zoltan Jordanov said: 'I always thought Beth had a chance of a brighter medal than the bronze she won in Greece two years ago.
'She is now one of the strongest challengers in the world on this apparatus.'
Although she has been accepted at Liverpool John Moores University to study sports science next year, Beth has indicated she is keen to defend her Commonwealth title in Melbourne in 2006.