Max Whitlock retains his British Gymnastics title

Echo: Max Whitlock Max Whitlock

SOUTH Essex Gymnastics Club’s Max Whitlock was crowned British champion last night for the second year in a row.

The Olympic star finished with an all-round score of 89.000 points at the championships at Liverpool's Echo Arena.

Double Olympic medallist Whitlock, who won the English title earlier this month, finished with an all-around score of 89.000 to defend his British title and beat Dan Purvis into silver with 87.200, while Dan Keatings won bronze with 87.050.

The championships form the last trials for Commonwealth Games selection and Whitlock impressed, topping the standings in the floor and pommel horse.

He scored 15.850 on the latter to best European champion Keatings by 0.050 of a mark, with Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith finishing in third on 15.750 as only a tenth of a mark separated the top three.

Whitlock said: “My competition went really well and I managed to recover from the little mistake I made on high bar earlier on in the competition.

“The British Championships means a lot to me and to retain that title is really great, the crowd support really helped me get through the routines.

“The next few months I am going to try and up my difficulty a bit in preparation for the Europeans, Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.”

It was another good weekend for South Essex Gymnastics Club, which is based at Basildon’s Sporting Village, as two of their young guns also brought home medals from Liverpool.

In the under-18s category, former Deanes School pupil Brinn Bevan (82.650) won a silver medal and his team-mate Jay Thompson (82.450) bronze.

Bevan impressed on the parallel bars and produced a superb high bar routine but unfortunately had mistakes on the pommel where a loss of leg form and fall pushed him down into second place. Thompson also made mistakes, such as sitting down on his vault and a fall on the high bar, which prevented him from placing higher. However he showed world class skills across the other apparatus that kept him on the podium.

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