Max Whitlock delighted to help Britain to gymnastic European gold

Echo: Max Whitlock - training at Basildon Sporting Village with South Essex Gymnastics Club Max Whitlock - training at Basildon Sporting Village with South Essex Gymnastics Club

MAX Whitlock had a fine week at the European Championship as he helped Britain win their first ever major championship team gold and made the individual pommel final he targeted.

The 19-year-old, who trains at the Basildon Sporting Village, must now wait to see if his performances were good enough to earn him one of the five coveted spots for the London Olympics.

The team will be announced on July 4, and the Commonwealth silver medalist and pommel horse specialist has now given himself a chance of going to the home Games after an incredible year of competition.

"I think how I've performed this week will help my chances," said Whitlock.

"It's the biggest competition of my career, so I'm delighted with how it has gone overall.

"I tried a harder routine in the pommel final and it was a bit scrappy in places, but it was still great experience for me.

"And I did really well on the floor in the team event so that was a big plus for me.

"And now, with the Olympics, it is just a case of having to wait and see. So hopefully I've done enough."

Yesterday the South Essex Gymnastics Club member finished a creditable sixth in the individual final of the pommel with a score of 14.983.

His parents were in the crowd to see Whitlock, from Hertfordshire, give a mature display in front of a big crowd in Montpelier.

At one stage he was in the silver medal position, but he could only look on as team-mate Louis Smith claimed silver with 15.775, before he was pipped to gold by Hungarian Krisztian Berki, who retained his title with 15.958.

On Saturday, Whitlock helped Britain to win team gold after they dominated the competition.

Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Louis Smith, Ruslan Panteyleymonov and Whitlock claimed a winning score of 266.296 ahead of Russia in second (265.535) and Romania in third (261.319).

Whitlock helped get the team off to the perfect start with a great, clean floor routine with lots of twists and flare work for 15.300, and then followed up with a world-class performance on pommel with nice lines and quick hands for 15.300.

There was an early fall from Whitlock on the last piece - the high bar - as he lost his grip trying to re-catch, but he remounted and recovered well for 12.533. That left teammate Thomas - needing 14.372 for gold - and he scored a massive 15.133 to seal the European crown.

British Gymnastics Olympic performance director Tim Jones said: “This was a really important step looking ahead to London, and a fantastic achievement.

"There will be a lot of people who thought they would never see this day and to have both the junior and seniors as champions of Europe is a tremendous result."

It was also a fantastic week for South Essex's Brinn Bevan. The precocious 14-year-old helped the British junior team to gold and qualified for the individual final of the parallel bars, where he came fifth after wowing the crowd with a huge release and catch before a costly step on dismount left him with a score of 13.533.

London 2012 Olympics

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