All hail the World Champion! Mighty Max Whitlock crowned pommel horse king

Max Whitlock, left, with coach Scott Hann
Max Whitlock, left, with coach Scott Hann

Max Whitlock rounded off his historic week in style as he claimed individual World Gymnastics Championships gold and silver medals in Glasgow.

After claiming silver in the team all-around final on Wednesday, the 22-year-old blew his opportunity for an individual all-around medal on Friday evening when he slipped off the high bar to eventually finish fifth.

However, Saturday’s individual floor and pommel horse finals offered a chance for Whitlock to bounce back and he certainly delivered the goods.

Beaten only by Japanese sensation Kenzo Shirai on the floor to claim another silver, Whitlock returned for the pommel horse final after team-mate and London 2012 silver medallist Louis Smith had set a brilliant score of 16.033.

Whitlock was not to be beaten this time however, and with an outrageously flamboyant finish he pipped Smith by 0.100 and became the man who ended Britain’s 112-year wait for an individual men’s World Championship gold medal.

“That was brilliant; to be honest I can’t really believe it. The word to describe this week is historic,” said Whitlock, who also won two bronze medals at London 2012 as well as three golds at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

“Louis couldn’t be happier for me, and that’s just what our sport is like, and what our team is like in particular - we want everyone to do the best they possibly can.

“Louis has done a brilliant job this week too, so everyone is over the moon. The journey to this competition has been very long, and to pull it off under that pressure makes me very happy - although I wasn’t watching Louis as I was in the back gym warming up.

“I didn’t even hear the crowd as it is a long walk over from there, but I knew Louis would do his job as he is a persistent and very talented pommel worker, and I just had to focus on mine.

“It wasn’t until I stepped off the podium at the end of my routine that I saw his score, and I knew it was going to be close so it was up to the judges from then on.”

That was brilliant; to be honest I can’t really believe it. The word to describe this week is historic.

Max Whitlock

Whitlock has proved himself to be the British team’s greatest bounce-back artist, showing huge character to come back from Friday evening’s disappointment in the all-around.

And after also coming back from the glandular fever that kept him out of the British Championships earlier this year to make the team for Glasgow, Whitlock admitted his success tasted all the sweeter.

He added: “I haven’t competed like I did here for a very long time. The beginning of the year was a bit shaky for me, so to come here and do this has been massive and I couldn’t really ask for more.

“But I’ve got these results behind me now, and I’ve hit my targets massively. I can go into my next competitions and the Olympics next year with a lot of confidence - and so can the whole of Team GB.”

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