Whitlock ready to take on the world

Max Whitlock claimed five medals in Glasgow

Max Whitlock claimed five medals in Glasgow

First published in National Sport News © by

England gymnast Max Whitlock believes the Commonwealth Games has proved just how quickly gymnastics is improving in Britain and is quietly confident that can translate into medals in October's World Championships.

The 21-year-old double Olympic bronze medallist achieved his aim of claiming all-around gold in Glasgow by smashing through the much-vaunted 90-point barrier, and now hopes to replicate his form in China later this year alongside the powerhouses of the host nation, Japan and the United States.

Whitlock helped England to team gold while also winning the individual floor title, pommel horse silver and parallel bars bronze, four years on from competing at his first senior major competition at the 2010 Games in Delhi.

"I'm over the moon. It's been an amazing competition and is one of my favourites by far," said Whitlock. "It's just been an amazing experience and has put us in really good stead for the worlds coming up. We're really looking forward to it.

"Going from Delhi I feel like I've made a massive improvement and I've put in a lot of new skills and that's something I'm very pleased about and hopefully I can continue it.

"For this competition it was to hit the 90 mark and over (in the all-around) and I'm happy as I've done that twice here. Hopefully I just need to get that as consistent as I can and if I go to the worlds and get over 90 hopefully that will bring a good result, but as I say it's what happens on the day."

One of the men Whitlock is set to face at the World Championships is Japan's superstar gymnast Kohei Uchimura.

The 25-year-old has won an unprecedented four successive world all-around titles and is widely regarded as the best male gymnast of all time. He is also Whitlock's idol.

"That guy is unbelieveable and he won't be beaten for a long time I think," Whitlock said. "I'm not looking at trying to beat Uchimura now, I'm looking to get the highest score I can and if I can come close to Uchimura I would be honoured. I would be absolutely honoured.

"I'd like to think I'm on his radar. I'd like to think he knows but that guy is one of a kind."

Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith's much-heralded return following a lengthy break from the sport slipped into the realm of sideshow as he could only claim bronze on the pommel horse behind Whitlock and gold medallist Dan Keatings.

The 25-year-old is now returning to his media career to sit on the judging panel of new gymnastics entertainment show 'Tumble' but Whitlock thinks he could live up to his word of coming back for the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow ahead of a possible Olympic return in Rio.

"It all depends on the make-up of the team but if he's posting massive scores - if anyone is scoring massive scores - then they deserve to be in the team," Whitlock said.

"It's very hard to have a long break, especially in gymnastics. The longer you have off, the longer it takes to get back into it. It will be a very hard job to do.

"But he's proved he can do it here. Pommel horse isn't the most demanding on the body so pommel horse is a good piece to do it on. He's proved he can bring it back, he's done a good routine but it's hard to say. We'll just have to wait and see."

With Smith out of the limelight until at least next year, it could be 18-year-old Nile Wilson who steps up alongside fit-again Keatings, with the Leeds teenager proving he has what it takes to cut it at senior level after winning high bar gold alongside other impressive performances after only being crowned Junior European champion in May.

"It's getting stronger really quick and hopefully we can keep it up," Whitlock said of Great Britain's strength. "London 2012, that was our first team medal in 100 years and that was really unexpected. It's a big target of ours at the World Championships and it will be a really hard job to get a team medal but that's what we're pushing towards and it's one of our targets, it has to be.

"Our gymnastics is improving and hopefully we will improve as a team, but we will have to wait and see."

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