Tara Vella Clark placed in eighth place in the Beam final at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Mersin, Turkey, on Sunday.
The young gymnast made history on Friday when she became the first Maltese representative to ever manage to qualify to a final in a continental championship that brings together Europe’s best talent in the sport.
During her qualifying routine, Vella Clark produced a strong performance on the beam when she managed to secure an impressive score of 12.200.
That result put her fourth in the standings to book her place in the final which will be held on Sunday morning.
Romania’s Ana Barbosu topped the standings on 13.033 ahead of team-mate Andreea Preda (12.866) and Sevgi Kayisoglu, of Turkey, who scored 12.266.
On Sunday, Vella Clark was the first on the beam and tried to keep hold of her nerves on such a big stage.
The 14-year-old produced a polished display which was marred by a fall that ruled her out of contention for a medal.
Vella Clark attained a score of 9.350 points that left her eighth in the standings, which was still Malta’s best result at the European
Romania’s Ana Barbosu took the gold medal with a score of 13.100 ahead of Greta Mayer, of Hungary, and Romania’s Andreea Preda.
“The Malta Gymnastics Federation is really proud of the achievement of Tara Vella Clark,” Francesca Borg, the MGF technical director told The Times of Malta.
“Tara was really brave in these European Championships and she did really well. It is an experience that she will surely learn and grow from. I cannot hide that she is upset at herself for her performance today because she felt the pressure. But she wants to do better and better and keep going.”
“Making it into the final is certainly a very important step and she deserves all the praise,” concluded Borg, who is Malta’s only qualified international artistic gymnastic judge and was part of the jury in Turkey.
Vella Clark is regarded as one of the rising stars in the sport in Malta as her results shown.
Last year she made the floor exercise final at the Stella Zakharova Cup in Ukraine, finished ninth all-around and made the vault and balance beam finals in the junior division at the Mediterranean Championships in Italy.
Vella Clark also won the Category II all-around title and two apparatus finals at the Laza Krstic and Marica Dzelatovic Memorial in Serbia, and placed fourth all-around at the Old Trnava Cup in Slovakia.
This March, just prior to quarantine, Vella Clark finished fourth all-around, first on vault and on balance beam at the Tiger Cup in Latvia.