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Britain in the lead after qualifying round at Euro gymnastics champs

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Daniel Purvis led Britain past Russia in qualifying at the European men's gymnastics championships, despite falling on top of a judge on his first event.

Britain, the European runner-up two years ago, finished with 265.718 points on Thursday, more than a point better than Russia. Defending champion Germany had a rough day and was fourth with a score of 260.801, trailing France by 2.886. Romania, Belarus, Ukraine and Switzerland also qualified for Saturday's team final.

Purvis, who got only three hours of sleep because he was sick with the flu, got off to a rough start, botching the landing on his vault and tumbling onto a judge. But he rallied nicely, finishing with a score of 86.764 points. He was followed by Ukrainians Oleg Verniaiev (85.064) and Oleg Stepko (84.832).

Three 2010 champions won't be able to defend their individual titles.

Tomi Tuuha of Finland won the vault in Birmingham but finished 10th on Thursday. Likewise, Yann Cucherat of France won the gold medal in parallel bars and Matthias Fahrig of Germany clinched the floor title two years ago. But Cucherat placed 40th and Fahrig was 32nd in those respective disciplines.

Fahrig did qualify for the vault final, however. Cucherat was still in the running for the horizontal bars title but won't compete this weekend after injuring his right hand in parallel bars. He will be sidelined for a month.

Individual events will be held on Sunday.