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Knee Surgery Keeps Tweddle Out of Europeans
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World and European championship gold medalist Beth Tweddle (Great Britain) will miss this year's European championships due to recent knee surgery.

Minor knee surgery will keep Great Britain's Beth Tweddle out of the upcoming European championships, British Gymnastics announced this week.

Tweddle, who turned 27 on April 1, underwent arthroscopic surgery April 20 to repair her left meniscus. She is the reigning European champion on uneven bars, but will have to skip this year's event, May 9-13 in Brussels.

"I'm disappointed not to be in a position to attend the Europeans but also thankful that this gives me the opportunity to get myself fully fit and ready for the rest of the season," Tweddle said in a statement. "Certainly it's much better for this process to happen now rather than later in the year! I am very much still in the gym every day and will continue to work alongside the British Gymnastics medical team to ensure I manage my recovery."

Tweddle said she underwent a scan last week as a precaution after her knee began aching. Surgery was planned immediately when the scan revealed the meniscus tear.

"It was all done within about 24 hours, so they were quick off the mark," she said Thursday at a media event announcing the team. "It had to be done then, otherwise it could progress into something bigger, so with the support of everyone we made the decision that it was best to get it done and dusted. It is just unlucky it has come at this time, but then it would have been even more unlucky if it had been two weeks before the Olympics."

First-year senior Rebecca Tunney, the 2011 British junior champion, will replace Tweddle on the British squad. The British women placed second to Russia at the 2010 European Championships in Birmingham, their most successful team result to date.

The British squad also includes 2008 Olympians Imogen Cairns and Hannah Whelan, as well as world team members Danusia Francis and Jennifer Pinches.

"The line-up for the European Championship demonstrates the strength in depth that we have, and I'm sure the girls will do a great job in Brussels," Tweddle said.

Tweddle is Great Britain's most successful gymnast in history, with five world championship medals (three gold) and 11 European championship medals (seven gold). Now a specialist on uneven bars and floor exercise, she is hoping to cap off her remarkable career with an Olympic medal this summer in London.

"It is important for us to protect Beth and safeguard her Olympic dreams," said Tim Jones, performance director at British Gymnastics. "It is in Beth's best interests that we have decided not to consider her for the 2012 European Championships, allowing her to spend the time working with the British Gymnastics Medical Team and her coach to ensure a speedy return to full fitness."

Tweddle left open the possibility that she could just do bars at the Olympics in London.

"Obviously floor's a bit more difficult [on the knee] but there is a potential that if I'm not quite ready on floor I could still make bars," she said. "As long as I can prove my fitness to selectors, and they're happy and confident that I'm able to go out and produce a result for the team, then I don't think there's any issues there."

External Link: British Gymnastics

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