Olympic champion Max Whitlock MBE has again proven himself to be the greatest pommel horse gymnast in the world by successfully defending his title at the artistic gymnastics World Championship in Montreal.
Max was 7th up of the 8th pommel finalists, having qualified with the top score of 15.300 on Monday. He had a nervy wait to watch his competitors but in truth his routine was so good he could never be beaten. He made a decision just before competing to up his difficulty value and add a “double Russian” move giving him a routine that no others could match. His near faultless routine for a final score of 15.441 comfortably taking him to gold to become the first British gymnast to defend their World title*. Belyavskiy of Russia took silver with 15.100 with Xiao of China in bronze scoring 15.066.
Max was ecstatic after saying: “I was pretty nervous as I had to wait a long time but I’m so, so happy now. I can’t be more pleased really. Just before competing I spoke to my coach and we decided to up the routine by .1 compared to qualifying. Today I’m so happy, my build up hasn’t been perfect but I’m here with the title again, I can’t believe it. It feels very, very special, I’ve worked so hard and to defend my title is a big moment for me, that’s what I’ve always aspired to do.”
Courtney Tulloch was also in action in the rings final. The European silver medallist has made a name for himself on this apparatus and showed his array of tough skills. His routine was highly difficult and he used his strength well when required to keep in the testing hold positions and minimise any wobbles. He had trouble near the end staying in handstand then dismounted, landing with a step, to score 14.533 and give him World Championships 8th
*Beth Tweddle won back-to-back World titles on different apparatus, floor then bars in 2009/10.