GYMNASTICS: BETH Tweddle added a European Championships silver medal to her portfolio last weekend as her impressive build-up to the Olympic Games continued in Amsterdam.
The 19-year-old from Bunbury was beaten to the asymmetric bars gold by her old rival 25-year-old Svetlana Khorkina, of Russia, the world and Olympic champion.
But the medal was a better colour than in her last European Championships appearance in Greece when she became the first British woman to finish in the top three to take a bronze medal.
Said Beth: 'I was very happy with the silver medal because I went into the championships to try at least to hold on to the bronze. But Khorkina gave a stunning performance to win the competition.'
Beth scored 9.587 to Khorkina's 9.662 and the two could meet again next month when Russia return to Liverpool for another international against Great Britain.
Beth finished 11th in the all-round competition and in her other individual competition she was 14th on the beam. She added: 'I was really pleased with the all-round performance because it was only the second time in two years I have competed on all the pieces.'
Along with her bars silver medal, she was given a special memento, presented by the legendary Nadia Comanecci, to recognise the 400th medal awarded in a European Championships. The first was won by Larissa Latynina of USSR in 1957.
The European Championships was the start of a hectic schedule for Beth, who is featured on The Road to Athens on BBC TV's Sunday Grandstand this weekend. There is another international on the agenda against Romania in Ipswich, the match against Russia, as well as the British Championships and an Olympic trial at Lilleshall.
Although she is now a full-time gymnast, she admits it has been a difficult adjustment since leaving school last summer. 'It's strange, because I am not one to sit around doing nothing. When I am at home, I have to ask my mum to give me something to do to pass the time until I start training again.'
Her Liverpool clubmate Aisling Williams, of Neston, just missed out on a medal in the junior championships in Amsterdam, finishing fourth in the all-round competition - the highest-ever British junior ranking.