OLYMPIC champion Max Whitlock received a hero’s welcome on his return to Basildon.

The 28-year-old won gold on the pommel horse in Tokyo.

And Whitlock wants his achievements to inspire the next generation at the South Essex Gymnastics Club.

“I think even a chance just to hold an Olympic medal for a young child is hugely impactful and I think that can really set them up and think ‘maybe I want that one day,” said Whitlock.

“When I was young, it wasn’t the case that there were many people ahead in terms of who you can look up to.

“I think the impact that [having senior gymnasts around] would’ve had on me is incredible so if I can offer that and help out where I can, then I am up for it.”

Whitlock won gold in the men’s pommel horse gymnastics in Tokyo to add to the two he won in Rio in 2016.

It was the sixth Olympic medal of his career overall, making him one of Britain’s most successful Olympians.