MAX Whitlock will put being the reigning pommel horse world champion to the back of his mind when the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships gets underway today.

Whitlock is a member of the five-man squad representing Great Britain in Doha.

And although the South Essex Gymnastics Club member will go into the competition having won gold on the pommel horse in Montreal last year, Whitlock insisted that has not resulted in him putting more pressure on himself.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist said: “Going into it as reigning world champion is obviously in the back of my mind, but I try not to think about medals or results too much. That is quite hard nowadays.

“I will go into it with the same mindset as any other competition. I need to enjoy it and be as chilled as I possibly can.

“I have worked as hard as I can in the build-up to the World Championships but it’s all about making sure that I can do the same on a competition day.

“I’ve been working through the routines and building up numbers, but it’s about performing on the day.

“It’s a tough job but I’m hoping that it will pay off.”

Since coming out on top in the World Championships 12 months ago, Whitlock has won gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, along with claiming the runners-up position in the European Championships.

And although Whitlock went into both competitions as the favourite to emerge victorious, he admitted missing out on top spot did not come as a surprise.

“I can take a lot of positives from my form since Montreal last year,” he added.

“The Commonwealth Games and European Championships didn’t go 100 per cent to plan, but that is part of the process.

“I’m upping my difficulty and risks come with making upgrades.

“I knew that was the case before I went into the competitions, so it’s not a massive shock to me but it’s a learning process.

“Now it’s about consolidating my routines and working hard.”

Whitlock has been joined by Brinn Bevan in the Great Britain side after Nile Wilson pulled out with injury, while Reiss Beckford will be representing Jamaica.

And Whitlock, who lives in Basildon, is pleased to be among the trio of South Essex Gymnastics Club members competing in the Qatari capital of Doha.

“Brinn and Reiss also being at the World Championships is a nice feeling for me because I train with these boys day in, day out,” confirmed Whitlock.

“It’s really good that three of us from South Essex Gymnastics Club will be competing.

“Their preparations have gone well and their routines are looking good so hopefully they can produce what they are capable of on the big stage.”