MAX Whitlock believes the Commonwealth Games has proved just how quickly gymnastics is improving in Britain and is quietly confident that can translate into medals in October’s World Championships.
The 21-year-old South Essex Gym Club star achieved his aim of claiming all-around gold in Glasgow by smashing through the much-vaunted 90-point barrier – the blue riband event for any gymnast – and now hopes to replicate his form in China later this year alongside the powerhouses of the host nation, Japan and the United States.
Whitlock helped England to team gold while also winning the individual floor title, pommel horse silver and parallel bars bronze, four years on from competing at his first senior major competition at the 2010 Games in Delhi.
“I’m over the moon. It’s been an amazing competition and is one of my favourites by far,” Whitlock said. “It’s just been an amazing experience and has put us in really good stead for the worlds coming up. We’re really looking forward to it.
“Going from Delhi I feel like I’ve made a massive improvement and I’ve put in a lot of new skills and that’s something I’m very pleased about and hopefully I can continue it.
“For this competition it was to hit the 90 mark and over (in the all-around) and I’m happy as I’ve done that twice here. Hopefully I just need to to get that as consistent as I can and if I go to worlds and get over 90 hopefully that will bring a good result but as I say it’s what happens on the day.”
One of the men Whitlock is set to face at the world championships is Japan’s superstar gymnast Kohei Uchimura. The 25-year-old has won an unprecedented four successive world all-around titles and is widely regarded as the best male gymnast of all time. He is also Whitlock’s idol.
“That guy is unbelieveable and he won’t be beaten for a long time I think,” Whitlock said. “I’m not looking at trying to beat Uchimura now, I’m looking to get the highest score I can and if I can come close to Uchimura I would be honoured. I would be absolutely honoured.
“I’d like to think I’m on his radar. I’d like to think he knows but that guy is one of a kind.”