Jones pleased with her Olympic bow

Francesca Jones in competition at the Olympic Games

Francesca Jones in competition at the Olympic Games

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Francesca Jones admitted to being happy with her introduction to Olympic competition.

Russia’s Daria Dmitrieva topped qualifying in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around competition with Wellingborough’s Jones in 21st place at the halfway stage.

Twenty four gymnasts are bidding to finish in the top 10 in the individual competition to qualify for Saturday’s final and they all competed with the ball and hoop today, with the ribbon and club apparatus rounds tomorrow.

Jones was the fourth gymnast to take to the floor and competed with the ball to score 24.550 before 24.200 with the hoop gave her a total of 48.750.

Dmitrieva went to the top of the leader board after two rotations with a total of 57.800 ahead of fellow Russian Evgeniya Kanaeva and Belarus’ Liubou Charkashyna.

Jones was pleased with her performance on her Olympic debut.

She said: “It was probably the most overwhelming competition I have ever done.

“I knew there was going to be a lot of support but that much blew me away.

“I was happy. There’s always more you can do but with how nervous I was I was pleased with how it went overall.

“My target is just to be pleased when I come off the floor.

“I’m not really thinking about positions so for me it’s just about doing the best I can and showing rhythmic gymnastics in this country is here and hopefully will inspire a lot of people.”

Jones is competing thanks to a host nation place and the reigning British all-around champion produced a crowd pleasing performance to a haunting piece of music to be in 21st place - Britain’s best ever finish in an individual event at a Games - after the first two rotations.

With the hoop, the Kettering-born gymnast remained composed in front of the home crowd to produce another clean routine.

Russia’s Kanaeva is the favourite to defend her individual title from Beijing and become the first two-time individual all-around champion in rhythmic gymnastics.

Kanaeva, competing with a gold hoop, was marked slightly down after losing control to score 28.100 thanks to a 9.500 difficulty tariff and good artistry.

She then followed up with a spectacular performance with the ball to score a huge 29.525 out of a possible 30 marks to place second with 57.625 ahead of the resumption tomorrow.