Becky Downie granted extra chance to earn Olympic place after family tragedy

Becky Downie has accepted an offer from British Gymnastics to pause its selection process and give the former world medallist a further chance to secure her place at the Tokyo Olympics.

Becky and her sister Ellie missed the team’s final selection trial in Cardiff last weekend following the tragic sudden death of their 24-year-old brother, Josh.

But Becky quickly made clear her desire to achieve her sporting ambitions in her brother’s memory, tweeting: “I know Josh would want me to take it as far as I could go.”

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British Gymnastics will create an additional trial event in order to give Downie the best possible chance to secure a place in the four-strong women’s team, which had been due to be selected this week.

British Gymnastics said in a statement: “Following the tragic news the Downie family received last week on the eve of the final Olympic trials in Cardiff we felt it important in such an unprecedented situation to take time to look at how we might be able to grant an extension to the selection window to allow for a further opportunity to complete the trial.

“In such difficult circumstances we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do.

“After careful consideration and consultation an offer was extended to put in place a delay to the planned nomination and selection process that was due to commence on Monday 10th May and provide an additional opportunity whereby, we will create an additional ‘event’ – matching as much as possible with the status and regulations of the Cardiff trials – which Becky Downie has chosen to take up as an option.”

European Games 2019 – Day Ten
Becky Downie is a former world silver medallist (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ellie Downie has decided not to take up the option, and according to the statement is “taking some time away from the sport to be with her family”.

Results from the Olympic trials, of which Cardiff was the fifth, is just one of a number of factors considered by selectors when picking their final squad.

While Downie’s previous scores in the trials alone would not justify selection, it could be argued that she possesses more individual medal potential than other contenders for the four-strong team.