EYOF 2011: Tulloch at it again in Turkey as competition comes to a close
GYMNAST Courtney Tulloch brought the curtain down on Great Britain's European Youth Olympic Festival in style as he stormed to another gold on the last day in Trabzon, Turkey.
NUMBER ONE: Gymnast Courtney Tulloch was given the flag for the closing ceremony after his two golds, including the prestigous all-around title
The 15-year-old, fresh from collecting the all-around trophy just 24 hours earlier, returned to the Yomra Gymnastics Hall for the rings final.
And he was clearly in the mood to revisit the top step of the podium once last time, scoring 14.350 points for victory despite having his shoulder strapped up after picking up an injury the day before.
This not only earned Tulloch his second gold of the week but also flag bearer duties for the closing ceremony, something he admits he could only have dreamt of before leaving for Turkey.
"My final day performance was alright, not the best but I'm happy with gold on the rings," Tulloch said, who benefits from being on the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes Initiative.
"It has been an amazing week and to win the all-around trophy is great. I think everyone will know who I am now!
"The Russians are starting to know me and the Europeans too, and I'm going to be right up there going for the win in all competitions from now.
"I was a bit nervous carrying the flag, but I did my best and it was a great honour.
"I heard that morning that I had been shortlisted, but I didn't find out I had been picked until after I got back from competing and I was over the moon."
Tulloch wasn't the only Brit strutting his stuff at the gymnastics on Friday, Frank Baines picking up gold in the parallel bars and silver in the floor, while Gabriel Jupp followed suit in her beam final.
As the competition in Turkey came to a close, Great Britain finished second on the medal table behind Russia, with a highest ever total of medals with 33.
Team GB's swimmers played a large part in this and they were at it again today, Matthew Johnson bringing his tally to six with gold in the 400m individual medley.
Nathan Theodoris joined him on the top step of the podium with victory in the 100m backstroke while Shauntelle Austin and Ellena Jones picked up bronze medals in the 200m butterfly and 800m freestyle respectively.
And not to be left out of the final day action, Great Britain's athletes also got in on the act, Thomas Holligan the star of the show as he stormed to the 200m crown at Sogutlu Athletics Stadium.
The 17-year-old set a new personal best of 21.46 seconds in taking the title, before returning to the track hours later to help the 4x100m team take silver.
However, it is his individual success that he admits will live long in the memory, insisting he will be pinching himself every time he glances at his gold medal.
"To say I surprised myself is a bit of an understatement because while I was hoping for the gold I didn't expect to go that fast," Holligan said.
"I knew it was pretty close between myself and the other three boys who finished fastest after the heats so I knew I was in with a shout.
"I just thought if I held my form I could go past him so I did that and then I found myself just charging for the line as quickly as possible.
"I guess the extra time I had to prepare made all the difference rather than being rushed like I was in the heat.
"This is by far my best achievement in athletics to date and this will take some beating for sure - I am so happy right now."
Lloyds TSB, in partnership with SportsAid, is providing awards of £1,000 to 344 emerging athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Follow your Lloyds TSB Local Hero at: www.facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes
(c) Sportsbeat 2011