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Max Whitlock targeting World Championships medal
MAX Whitlock flies out to the World Gymnastics Champion-ships in Antwerp today aiming to win more medals on the global stage.
Whitlock, who trains at the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon, memorably won two bronze medals at last summer’s Olympics in London.
And the 20-year-old now has more success in his sights.
“It’s my first ever World Championships and hopefully I’ll be able to do well in it,” said Whitlock.
“I’m delighted to have been picked in the squad and to have got one of the two all-round spots for the competition.
“I’ll therefore be taking part in six events and, like always, I’ll be aiming to remain chilled and composed and just hope to be able to produce clean routines and then see where that takes me.
“But this is the second biggest event in the sport, behind the Olympics, and I’ll obviously want to do well.”
The championships get underway in Belgium on Monday and Whitlock will also be aiming to build on what has already been another successful season.
The youngster has been crowned English and British all-round champion as well as British floor champion.
On top of that he won all-round silver, pommel horse bronze and floor gold at the European Champ-ionships.
And, ahead of his latest appearance in Antwerp, Whitlock has increased the difficulty of that floor routine.
“I’ve added another tumble into it and that would increase my difficulty rating and means I’m able to score points,” said Whitlock.
“I’ve been working hard on that and everything has been going well in training, so hopefully it will in the competition too.”
Whitlock is also expected to challenge for honours in the pommel horse where he won bronze in London.
But he is not entirely sure what shape his main rivals are currently in.
“Gymnastics is different from other sports and the Japanese and Chinese are always quite secretive,” said Whitlock.
“I have had a look at one or two things on You Tube but you’re never too sure how they’re doing.
“We know more about the European countries and what’s required to do well.”
However, there will be no team event at the World Championships and Great Britain will therefore be unable to bid for a repeat of the bronze medal they won at the Olympics. Whitlock was mem-orably part of that line-up but insists his focus is now firmly on his future.
“After the Olympics it was initially quite difficult because it was just such a huge high,” said Whitlock.
“But I only ended up having three weeks off and soon got back into it all.
“Everything I do now is very much with the next Olympics in Rio in mind and that includes these World Championships and hopefully the Commonwealth Games next year.
“I see them as very big and important stepping stones towards going to another Olympics.”