Belfast Telegraph

McClenaghan on the rise but I'm hungry to show class says England's Max Whitlock

 

By Robert Jones

Max Whitlock has vowed to repel the exuberant rise of Northern Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan as he leaves the Gold Coast Games with renewed desire to confirm his status as one of the greatest gymnasts of his era.

Whitlock suffered a shock defeat in the men's pommel final on Sunday, after which 18-year-old McClenaghan, who beat his idol by virtue of a higher execution score, took to social media to bullishly warn: "Coming for that world title next Max..."

The 25-year-old double world and Olympic champion is hardly the type to lose sleep over the performances of his potential rivals, particularly as he admits to never watching their routines.

"I think he (McClenaghan) is confident, which is a good thing," Whitlock said. "But stuff like that doesn't bother me, it's why I don't rise to that type of thing.

"I don't see the world title as my title. I'm proud to have those two, but the next one isn't mine. World titles can't be taken, they have got to be earned."

Whitlock admitted shutting himself off from the action around him could have cost him gold on his favoured pommel.

Ordinarily, Whitlock is advised by his long-time coach Scott Hann over potential last-minute changes in response to performances from his rivals, but he was not one of the two coaches accredited by the England team.

"I know Rhys is a good pommel worker but I've never watched one of his routines," added Whitlock.

Belfast Telegraph

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