10/01/12: Great Britain’s men’s artistic gymnastics team have qualified a full team place at the London 2012 Olympic Games after a sensational performance at the London Prepares gymnastic test event from the North Greenwich Arena.
Looking to finish in the top 4 of the 8 countries competing, the British boys dominated the proceedings to win by a huge margin from France, Spain and Italy, the other qualifying nations.
The British team of Dan Purvis, Dan Keatings, Louis Smith, Ruslan Panteleymonov, Kristian Thomas and Max Whitlock produced a near faultless display to bury the demons of the previous World Championships where they first looked to qualify a team.
Daniel Purvis led the performance with a brilliant all-around display scoring the team 89.948, with Kristian Thomas and Daniel Keatings not far behind across the 6 pieces of apparatus.
Great Britain – 358.227
France – 350.659
Spain – 347.292
Italy – 346.334
Men’s Technical Director Eddie Van Hoof: “I’m extremely pleased and hugely relieved with today’s performance. The boys had something to prove after the disappointment of the Tokyo World Championships and they excelled themselves. They have put a huge amount or work in over the Christmas period and it’s great to see that all pay off ,and we can now look really positively ahead to the Games”
Daniel Keatings: “It was amazing, I’ve got butterflies in my stomach, I can’t really believe we produced that performance. We really came together as a team over the last few weeks and this result is testament to that. We are now of course all massively excited about the Olympics and I’m personally really looking forward to getting the chance to hopefully compete in this amazing arena again.”
Daniel Purvis “It’s amazing and feels like a huge weight has been lifted of our shoulders. We have worked so hard for this and every team member produced on the day which is a great feeling.”
The British team competed in the third and final subdivision of the day, having watched the French set the benchmark score earlier in the day, the British boys knew what the needed to make the all-important top 4.
The team began on high bar, after a major upset on this apparatus in the previous World Championships in Tokyo, the pressure was really on the British boys to right the wrongs done in 2011. First up was Dan Keatings, he produced a great first performance with a stuck landing to score 14.533 and steady the nerves much to the delight of his teammates and the packed partisan crowd.
Dan Purvis gave another fantastic routine for the GB boys with another stuck landing while Kristian Thomas took the top marks on the first piece with a fabulous routine, packed full of difficulty with some high releases and good lines to score 15.133
Moving over to the floor, Kristian Thomas did not looked phased at all with some fantastic tumbles, high difficulty, and another clean routine to add to the team score. Dan Purvis was last up, his strongest apparatus and he also excelled. A solid routine with only a few hops on his landings he scored 15.400 to put him into the floor final along with Kristian.
On pommel Max Whitlock, making his senior debut for GB, produced an outstanding routine, with difficult skills and clean lines for 15.233 one point ahead of a very difficult routine from Louis Smith.
On rings Dan Purvis completed his routine in style with an extremely difficult dismount to score 14.800, while Ruslan Panteleymonov showed good control in his routine with just a small adjustment on landing but another strong British performance to score14.500.
On vault Ruslan again excelled, his massive power showing through for 15.933, with Dan Purvis scoring 16.266 and Kristian Thomas 16.100 the British boys were now looking comfortable.
On to the last piece and the British knew they just had to be solid. A clean routine to rounded off an excellent competition for Dan Keatings whilst with Dan Purvis last up, he nailed his routine and saluted the ecstatic crowd who then knew the team had qualified for the Olympics.