Commonwealth Games 2014: Max Whitlock's gymnastics gold puts down a marker for Rio Olympics
21-year-old ready to take on Kohei Uchimura in 2016
Wednesday 30 July 2014
Another day, another gold medal for Max Whitlock – and, as Beth Tweddle put it, another nice day in the gym. There may well be more medals to come for Whitlock in the individual apparatus finals over the next couple of days, following today’s all-round gold and Tuesday’s team win, as the 21-year-old marks himself out as the dominant gymnast at these Games.
There are greater challenges to come, the first of which will be October’s World Championships in China, but today was a statement of how good Whitlock might become.
His aim for the Games was to break the 90-point mark and his final score of 90.631 was a total bettered only by Kohei Uchimura, the Olympic champion, at last year’s World Championships.
Whitlock, a double bronze medallist in London, laughed when he was asked how close he thinks he can get to Uchimura. “It’s an honour to be in the same sentence as that guy,” he said.
Whitlock finished ahead of Scotland’s Dan Keatings, who scored 88.298, while Nile Wilson of England took the bronze with 87.965 ahead of another Scot, Daniel Purvis.
Wilson is just 18 and in his first senior competition – and with England and Scotland winning five of the six men’s gymnastics medals so far, it demonstrates the growing depth to the sport in this country. The historic team medal in London could prove the beginning of something special.
“Success comes from success,” said Wilson, who won five of the eight gold medals on offer at May’s European Junior Championships.
Whitlock heads the pack and Tweddle, for so long the lonely standard bearer for British gymnastics, is impressed with his progress.
“After London 2012 he was a double bronze medallist and I don’t think he really realised what he had achieved,” said Tweddle. “Since then he has been building on that success and he is definitely a star of the future.
“He was wanting to hit the 90 mark. He did it in qualification and he set that mark for himself again today. This competition isn’t the be all and end all for the England team. It is an amazing opportunity but we are preparing for the World Championships, we are preparing for [Rio] 2016.
“This is the competition to try out those tricks, hence why he tried the new vault.”
Whitlock wobbled on landing the vault but otherwise his performance was admirably consistent and he rounded off his triumph with 15.100 on the high bar - the highest score of the day.
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