Hemel Hempstead’s Max Whitlock came agonizingly close to claiming an Artistic Gymnastics World Championship medal as he finished in fourth place in the all-round final in Antwerp.
The 20-year-old double Olympic bronze medallist was just 0.301 points off the podium place as Japanese superstar Kohei Uchimura won his fourth title in a row, ahead of compatriot Ryohei Kato and Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen.
“That was amazing. Uchimura is unbelievable,” said European floor champion Max. “It’s a pleasure to compete against him.”
Adeyfield man Max excelled on the pommel horse to score 15.633 and take an early lead, before finishing with 15.266 on the floor.
But Hambuechen snatched the bronze medal away from Max with a colossal score of 15.933 on his final piece of apparatus, the high bar.
“I’m very happy with that, coming in to my first World Championships and leaving with fourth place, competing amongst the very best its fantastic,” said Max.
“Going up first on pommel there was some pressure but I went all out for it and I’m really happy to have got through it, and the whole competition, cleanly.”
The action is not done there, though, with Max back in action on Saturday in the pommel horse final – where he is one of the top medal contenders.
“I’m really happy with what I have done here so I am looking forward to it,” Max said.
“I had a quick practice here as I tried my big routine so I’m just looking forward to it.”