Max Whitlock underlined his status as one of the very best gymnasts on the planet by claiming the pommel horse silver medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp.
Max, the Olympic pommel bronze medallist, produced the most difficult routine of the final to score him 15.633 – a score beaten only by gold medal-winner Kohei Kameyama of Japan.
Hemel Hempstead man Max opted for his 7.2 difficulty routine in the final and knew had to go for broke to take on the best and earn himself a spot on the podium.
He had a few form errors throughout but battled well to tie for the silver medal with Corral Barron of Mexico in his World Championships debut.
Max said: “I’m very happy with silver, to just miss out on coming fourth in all-around and now to have a medal – I’m over the moon.
“It was a 7.2 start score and to be honest I’m just happy to make it through the routine, it was a little bit scruffy and there’s room for improvement but I really can’t complain with a World Championship silver medal to cap a great year for me.”
The silver medal completed an excellent week in Antwerp for Max, who also took fourth place in the all-round final.
The 20-year-old was just 0.301 points off a 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,” Max said after the final. “It’s a pleasure to compete against him.”
Adeyfield man Max excelled on the pommel 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.”