Joe Fraser places eighth in men's all-around world final as future of British gymnastics continues to look bright

Joe Fraser during the men's all-around final
Joe Fraser during the men's all-around final Credit: Rex

Great Britain’s next generation of gymnasts continue to post solid results at the World Championships in Stuttgart, as 20-year-old Joe Fraser finished eighth in Friday’s all-around final with a career-best score of 85.098.

All seven men who finished ahead of Fraser are older, so he has every chance of developing his routines further and moving up the pecking order – preferably in time for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics. His strongest pieces were the strength-based, upper-body disciplines of rings, parallel bars and high bar.

“I’m over the moon, it’s unbelievable for me,” said Fraser, who trains at the City of Birmingham club. He had fallen on the high bar in both Monday’s qualifying and Wednesday’s team final, but posted an excellent score of 14.000 this time.

James Hall also competed for Britain and finished 14th. He was particularly strong on the vault, which he nailed for a score of 14.633, but a fall from the high bar after a lengthy wait to perform cost him a mark. Had he made that catch, he too would probably have sneaked into the top 10, backing up the eighth place he claimed last year.

Still, these championships continue to find British gymnastics in solid – though not world-beating – shape. With 21-year-old Giarnni Regini-Moran and 18-year-old Alice Kinsella also showing quality this week, the line of succession appears to be in good hands.

Alice Kinsella has impressed in Stuttgart Credit:  Getty Images

At the top of yesterday’s leaderboard, there was an exciting tussle between two Russians, two Chinese and a Ukrainian. In the end, Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy seized gold after going clean on his final routine: the high bar.

His compatriot – and last year’s champion – Artur Dalaloyan took the silver and Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev the bronze, thanks partly to a high-bar fall from China’s Xiao Ruoteng.

Saturday brings the first half of the individual apparatus finals, with Max Whitlock – who once again looks like Great Britain’s best hope for a medal – going on pommel horse, while the Downie sisters, Becky and Ellie, compete on uneven bars and vault respectively. Dom Cunningham is also in action in the vault final.

Simone Biles, who has already claimed 22 world championship medals to become the most successful female gymnast in history, is on course to overtake Vitaly Scherbo’s men’s record of 23.

She is almost guaranteed gold – which would be her 17th – in the vault. But she will have to work harder on the uneven bars, her least favourite piece of apparatus.