Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Whitlock takes it to the Max to strike gold for England at games

By Robert Jones

Resisting the temptation to watch his team-mates establish an almost unassailable lead, Max Whitlock staged a triumphant late entrance to confirm England's first gymnastics gold medal of the Commonwealth Games.

The double Olympic champion is notorious for not watching his rivals during competition, and his self-absorption even stretches to shutting out his closest allies in order to focus on delivering his best possible routine.

Whitlock's isolation paid dividends as he went on produce his expected top-scoring routines on the floor and pommel apparatus to confirm the men's team title alongside Nile Wilson, James Hall, Courtney Tulloch and Dominick Cunningham.

England totalled 258.950, comfortably ahead of second-placed Canada on 248.650, with the Scotland team of Frank Baines, Hamish Carter, Kelvin Cham, Dan Purvis and David Weir taking bronze with 240.975.

Keen to build on his stunning double Olympic success in Rio, Whitlock has temporarily ditched his all-around aspirations and is currently focused on increasing the difficulty levels on his favoured two pieces of apparatus.

In truth, he was not required to stretch himself too much, the hard work having already been done by Wilson and Hall, who qualified in first and second places respectively for the men's all-around final taking place later this week.

Wilson, the Olympic high bar bronze medallist, shrugged off a wrist injury to score highest on that piece of apparatus as well as the high bar, while Hall scored consistently across the board to trail his team-mate by less than two points.

In stark contrast to Whitlock, Wilson had whooped and smiled his way through his routines, cheered by a sizeable contingent of supporters he has gleaned from his increasingly successful series of online gymnastics blogs.

"There were a few 'Wilsonators' in the crowd and it feels amazing to have created something like this," said the Leeds-based Wilson, who had even been greeted at Brisbane airport upon his arrival for the Games at the end of last month.

"I'm a vlogger as well as a gymnast now. Video creation is something I've been doing since I was young and no-one has seen the years of graft it has taken to get it to where it is today."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph