12162017

GB’s Whitlock makes history by retaining world title – report & highlights

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Whitlock wins world pommel gold

Max Whitlock became the first British gymnast to retain a world title by taking gold in the pommel horse in Montreal.

The Olympic champion, 26, scored 15.441 to push Russia’s David Belyavskiy into silver, with world all around champion Xiao Ruoteng of China taking bronze.

“I’m speechless to go out there and do it again this year,” he told BBC Sport.

The medal is Whitlock’s sixth at a World Championships and makes him GB’s most decorated gymnast at that level.

“It’s very, very special,” he added. “It’s been quite a stressful build-up. It was cut tight, and me and Scott [Hann – Whitlock’s coach] have worked so hard to get to this position today.

“To be honest, I think we can stand here and be very proud and making history again – I couldn’t be happier, I really couldn’t.

“I don’t know what to say. It feels amazing.

“I’ve always aspired to look up to the guys that get a title and go back to the training and they go and do it again. So I’m so proud to stand here today.”

Whitlock’s six world medals mean he has one more than Beth Tweddle but, with three golds, she has one more title.

Whitlock was competing in his first competition final since the Rio Olympics last summer, where he won golds in pommel and floor, as well as all around bronze.

In Montreal he chose to focus on his two gold medal apparatus, missing the floor final but qualifying top for pommel.

His winning score was a tenth of a point higher than in qualifying thanks to a last-minute change of routine to give him a higher difficulty value.

“I just tried to put that [pressure of trying to defend a world title] to one side, try and focus on what I do, like I always do, focus on my job, and my job was to go there today and perform as good as I possibly can. That is what sport’s all about,” he added.

Meanwhile, Courtney Tulloch was unable to claim a maiden world medal for Great Britain in the rings, finishing eighth in his final.

“I’m a little disappointed because I know I’m better than that,” said Tulloch.

“I made a couple of mistakes near the end of my routine and the judges punish you for those.

“I’ll speak to my coach to see what we can work on for next year because it’s going to be a big year.”

On Sunday, Claudia Fragapane is Great Britain’s only finalist when she goes in the floor, although Nile Wilson is first reserve should any gymnast withdraw from the high bar final.

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