Welsh gymnasts go for more medals today

MEDALS: Frankie Jones, left, won silver yesterday and Laura Halford bronze

MEDALS: Frankie Jones, left, won silver yesterday and Laura Halford bronze

First published in Sport
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WELSH rhythmic gymnastics stars Frankie Jones and Laura Halford are hoping to add more medals to their collection at Glasgow 2014 today.

Jones, who retires after today's individual finals, was overcome with emotion after realising a dream by winning Commonwealth Games silver in the individual all-around final yesterday.

The 23-year-old, who won team silver with Laura Halford and Nikara Jenkins in Glasgow on Thursday, burst into tears on the podium at the Hydro as the hard work in her battle back from a serious hip injury paid off.

Halford was alongside Jones on the podium as she won bronze, with Canada's Patricia Bezzoubenko on the top step and adding to the team gold she claimed on Thursday.

"It has been a long couple of months, a couple of years really to get to this point. It all came out," said Jones, whose father Colin hails from Pontypool.

"When I got off the floor for ribbon I was a mess. It made me so proud to see the Welsh flags flying. It was amazing.

"Winning an all-around medal was a dream but I was trying not to dream as you never know and there are so many amazing gymnasts out there. I was overawed."

Hot favourite Bezzoubenko achieved an all-around total of 59.175 for her routines with the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon while Jones took silver with 57.350 and Halford bronze with 56.225.

Halford held the lead after the first rotation but Bezzoubenko moved ahead with the ball and did not look back, leaving Jones and Halford to jostle for the other places on the podium.

Jones' double medal success in Glasgow means she is only the third rhythmic gymnast to win a medal at multiple editions of the Commonwealth Games after her hoop silver medal in Delhi four years ago.

"I can't even put it into words. I'm so relieved that I've been able to do a good job," Jones said.

"The last two years have been so up and down so I'm so grateful and thankful that I managed to do the job at the right time.

"I am so proud of Laura as well. She got on the podium and I was crying already; I was like, 'I can't even cope for mine'.

"I've put my heart and soul into training and I have been given so much support which has obviously been worthwhile now."

Jones still has all four individual apparatus finals to come on Saturday, but after already announcing that she will retire from the sport at the end of the Games, the double silver medallist believes her work is done.

"I wanted to do the job for the last two days. This is my last competition ever so these routines are for me and I want to enjoy them," Jones added.

"Anything else would be, I couldn't even imagine... I've done my job as far as I'm concerned.

"I'll concentrate of course but I want to enjoy these ones and not feel like I'm going to die if I drop something."

Halford, who is competing in her first major competition at the Commonwealth Games, was as shocked as Jones to win an individual all-around medal.

"It was incredible. I couldn't stop myself from crying, I just couldn't believe it. I'm 18 years old and I've won a medal. It's amazing," Halford said.

"I am proud of myself that I was able to compose myself and do good routines and to get a medal is just a bonus. It's just a dream - I couldn't imagine that it would happen.

"Both medals give me the same amount if happiness. With the team we have been training together for two years so all our hard work together and we have such a great bond as a team. But to get a medal for myself is amazing because I didn't expect it."

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