Gymnastics-Becky Downie handed special Olympic trial after brother's death

FILE PHOTO: Becky Downie (L) and Ellie Downie (R) pose at the ball for Britain's Olympic and Paralympic teams at Battersea Park in London, Britain, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British Gymnastics will give world silver medallist Becky Downie a special chance to qualify for her third Olympics after the sudden death of her brother Josh before last weekend's final trial for Tokyo.

Downie's sister Ellie, who also competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, has decided to take time out of the sport, however.

"We felt it important in such an unprecedented situation to take time to look at how we might be able to grant an extension to the selection window to allow for a further opportunity to complete the trial," British Gymnastics said in a statement on Thursday.

"In such difficult circumstances we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do."

Neither sister took part in the trial in Cardiff after their 24-year-old brother suffered a heart attack during a cricket nets session.

Ellie Downie, 21, won bronze in the vault at the 2019 Stuttgart world championships while Becky, 29, won silver on the uneven bars.

British gymnastics said it would delay the selection of the four-woman team until early June.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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