SOUTH Essex Gym Club’s Max Whitlock had a stunning first session in the gymnastics.

Whitlock helped England lead the team standings after three rotations and he himself sat pretty on top of the individual all-round qualification standings.

England now look well set to win the team gold medal when the rest of the routines are completed on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old started with an impressive floor routine that earned him a score of 15.600 before he turned to his strongest event, the pommel horse.

Whitlock was awarded a score of 15.733 for his routine on the pommel, just ahead of his team-mate Louis Smith who scored 15.700.

Smith is returning to the sport after time away following the London Olympics where he won a silver medal.

On that occasion, Whitlock won a bronze medal and he will be hoping to get the better of his England team-mate in Thursday’s individual pommel final.

Whitlock concluded his opening session with a score of 14.433 on the rings and ended with a combined total of 45.766.

Scotland’s Daniel Keatings was second in the all-round qualification standings (43.399) and England’s Nile Wilson third (42.474).

Whitlock said afterwards: "I was a bit shaky on the pommel horse today. I was a bit nervous but I am happy to have gone through the whole routine clean.

"Sleeping has been quite hard. It's hard during a competition. You're quite hyped during the whole event and being in the village the whole atmosphere is amazing."

England lead the team standings on 133.806 ahead of Scotland (127.240) and Canada (125.380).

While five gymnasts make up a team, a maximum of four gymnasts can compete on each apparatus. The team score is then calculated by totalling the top three scores on each piece.

The top 24 men and women who have competed on each piece of apparatus will take part in Wednesday’s all-around finals while the top eight on each piece will progress to individual apparatus finals, although only two from any given country can appear in the same final.