Britain’s Olympic bronze medallists and Commonwealth champions Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis upset the odds today as they beat Denmark’s top seeds Anders Skaarp Rasmussen and Kim Astrup, the European champions, to the badminton men’s doubles European Games gold here today.
The British pair, seeded second, won 21-17, 21-10 at the Falcon Club on what was a generally impressive day for Britain’s financially beleaguered badminton team.
Bronze medals went to Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov, and Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling from The Netherlands.
Britain’s unseeded badminton pairing of Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch caught sight of European Games gold as they won the first game of their women’s doubles final against Dutch number four seeds Cheryl Seinen and Selena Piek - but that was as close as they got.
The Dutch pairing turned the screw to win the title 14-21, 21-13, 21-15.
Bronze medals went to Russia’s Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova, and the French pairing of Emilie Lefel and Anne Tran.
Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour came from a game down against top seed Line Kjaersfeldt to earn a place in tomorrow’s badminton women’s singles gold medal match.
The third seed lost the first game 21-13, but took the next two 21-16, 21-8.
Britain's Kirsty Gilmour now knows who she will play in tomorrow's women's singles badminton gold medal match. Denmark's second seed Mia Blichfeldt won the second semi-final against Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 21-14, 21-11.
Tomorrow’s badminton mixed doubles final will be an all-British affair - exactly as the tournament organisers predicted.
Husband and wife team Chris and Gaby Adcock, the European and Commonwealth champions, won their semi-final against Ireland’s Samuel and Chloe Magee - who are siblings - 21-8, 21-18.
The top seeds are now set to meet compatriots and second seeds Ellis and Lauren Smith, 21-19, 21-12 winners over France’s fourth seeds Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue.
The losing semi-finalists have each earned bronze medals.
France’s fourth seed Brice Leverdez booked his place in tomorrow’s final with a 22-20, 21-8 win over unseeded Raul Must of Estonia, who had to re-book his flight back home to take in his unexpected run in this competition.
He will be packing the extra luggage of a bronze medal on his return flight now.
In the second badminton men's singles semi-final, second-seeded Anders Antonsen of Denmark beat fifth seed Misha Zilberman of Israel 21-9, 21-11.
Russia’s David Belyavskiy earned the gold medal in the men’s all-around artistic gymnastics final, holding off the challenge of the defending champion, Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev, who took silver.
Belyavskiy, a winner of two golds, a silver and a bronze at Baku 2015 in parallel bars and floor exercise and was fourth in the all-around at Rio 2016, finished with a total of 85.465 points in the Minsk Arena.
Verniaiev, who had surgery on his ankle in January, totalled 84.632 points.
The bronze medal went to Belyavskiy’s team-mate Vladislav Poliashov, who scored 84.464 points.
"I had my problems after the first two exercises, but even being the sixth after the first three apparatus, I knew there was a good chance to win," Belyavskiy said.
"The other competitors had already done the routines that they are best at, while my best apparatus were yet to come.
"Parallel bars are what I'm good at, and I managed to catch up with some and leave others behind.
"I had a flashback to the world championship in 2017 when I needed only to come and do the horizontal bar routine to become the world champion.
"It was almost like that today.
"The main thing was just to do the routine, no matter how well, and not to fall.
"That's the most 'important' medal for me.
"The gold in the European Games in Baku was for the team, but this one is my personal achievement."
Verniaiev, meanwhile, was left reflecting on his impetuosity on the rings, where he fell on his dismount.
"The only thing I regret is that I went out full force on the rings, but I wasn't prepared for them," he said.
"I just wanted to hit the jackpot, but I didn't have enough physicality or strength and I didn't pull through.”
Describing his routines after that mistake, he commented: "I was just swimming, trying to reach the shore, pulling myself forward because there was no strength left. I went at it little by little, step by step.
"Everyone falls, everyone makes mistakes, somebody on the first apparatus, somebody on the last.
"That's why the main thing you have to do is to do your job and then see what happens.
"I started to feel like an old man after Rio .
"Everything didn't go the way it should.
"Everything aches, everything breaks.
"It's much harder than it was before, but we still hold on and try to fix everything.
"l will probably manage to do one more cycle and then we will see what happens.
"The main thing now is Tokyo ."
The women’s all-around gold was claimed by Russia’s Angelina Melnikova.
The 18-year-old, winner of a team gold medal at the 2016 European Championships and Olympic team silver at Rio 2016, claimed gold with a score of 54.498 points.
Silver went to France’s Lorette Charpy, who totalled 54.166 points, while Ukraine’s Diana Varinska claimed bronze with a score of 52.766.
Russia also earned three out of three Greco-Roman wrestling golds on offer at the Minsk Sports Palace tonight.
World champion Aleksandr Chekhirkin completed the hat-trick as he won the under-77 kilograms title with a tense 7-6 victory over Armenia’s Karapet Chalyan.
Bronze medals went to Alex Kessidis of Sweden and Hungary’s Tamás Lőrincz.
Stepan Maryanyan - the world and European Greco-Roman wrestling champion and winner of the Baku 2015 under-59kg category- was a heavy favourite to beat Erik Torba of Hungary in the under 60kg category in the first of the gold medal matches.
For good reason.
He won 9-0.
Bronze medals went to Moldova’s Victor Ciobanu, a 3-1 victor on the day against Zhora Abovian of Ukraine, and Georgia’s Dato Chkhartishvili, who earned victory by points after finishing at 3-3 with Romania’s Razvan Arnaut.
"I am really happy," said Maryanyan.
"It is really amazing to win the gold for the second time [after Baku 2015 under-59kg].
"The previous victory was amazing because it was my first victory in a competition of such a high level.
"I have lost three kilograms since my last championship and I believe that it was quite a huge loss, but it somehow didn't prevent my victory.
"I'm ready to win in any weight category: under-60kg, under-63kg or even under-67kg."
Bronze medals were won by Italy’s Michele Martina and Valerii Chobotar of Ukraine.
Kaur Kabaloev secured a second Greco-Roman wrestling gold for Russia on the night.
The world under-23 silver medallist was successful in his under-67kg final as he earned a 3-1 win against Georgia’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Shmagi Bolkvadze.
Bronze medals went to Mate Nemeš of Serbia and home wrestler Soslan Daurov.