Max Whitlock leads Britain to top qualification score at European Championships

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Hemel Hempstead’s Max Whitlock was on scintillating form yesterday as he led the Great Britain senior men’s gymnastics team to top spot in qualification for the European Championship final in Bulgaria.

The British team of Max, Sam Oldham, Dan Keatings, Dan Purvis, and Kristian Thomas finished top of the standings with a score of 267.076 points and will now be aiming to repeat their performance tomorrow as they look to defend their team title.

The British total was well above second-placed Russia (264.304) and third-placed Ukraine (261.277).

As well as aiming to reach the team final, the gymnasts were also looking for top-eight places on each piece to make Sunday’s individual apparatus finals.

Double Olympic medal winner Max was the stand out performer for the British team, posting the top qualification score on pommel horse, ahead of the Olympic champion Kristian Berki and will be high on confidence going in to that final.

Adeyfield man Max also qualified in top spot for the floor where he will be joined by second-placed qualifier Daniel Purvis.

Reigning European silver medallist Sam Oldham qualified in fourth on high bar and is joined by Kristian Thomas in the final.

Speaking to British Gymnastics, Max said afterwards: “It’s a great as team that we’ve topped the standings and continue our form from when we took the gold last time.

“We try not to the think about the pressure or expectation going in to it, each of us knows what we are capable of and knows how hard we work in the gym every day for competitions like this and the aim is always to go out and put all that hard work into the routines on the day.

“Personally of course I’m really happy with my performance and looking forward to the apparatus finals but the main target for this event is the team and we have only completed part of the job, we now need to focus ready for the final.”