Max Whitlock hopes to clear final Olympic hurdle
MAX Whitlock faces one final hurdle to Olympic selection at the British Championships this weekend.
The 19-year-old will go head-to-head with the cream of the country’s best gymnasts at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
It will be the final trial for London 2012 before the five-man team is announced on July 4.
“It’s crazy to think what is coming up this summer, but I try not to focus on it too much,” said Whitlock, who trains with South Essex Gymnastics Club at the Basildon Sporting Village.
“I hope what we did in winning gold at the European Championships gives me an advantage because that was a five-man team, and we are sending a five-man team to the Olympics.
“But it’s hard to say what will happen and all I can do is focus on the British Championships and do my best.
“But I am only 19, so at the moment I’m just trying to take it all in and not put too much pressure on myself.
“My family and my girlfriend are very excited, but I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground and my coach Scott (Hann) tells me to just make sure I enjoy everything that is happening.”
The return to action of 2012 World all-around silver medallist Daniel Keatings and 2012 junior European all-around champion Sam Oldham will increase competition for Olympic places even more this weekend.
They’ll look to break into the five-man team of Whitlock, Louis Smith, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas and Ruslan Panteyleymonov, who picked up Britain’s first-ever European Championships gold medal in Montpellier last month.
“Dan (Keatings) and Sam coming back will increase the competition and I’ve heard their training has been going very well,” said Whitlock.
“But even though there are 15 of us going for five spots we are a close group and we know that whoever does the best will go and they will deserve it.
“But I am in a good position and I know that if I have a good competition I will be picked for the team.”
Whitlock says he is targeting the individual pommel Masters final on Sunday, and that he’d also like to make the final on the floor – the discipline in which he set a new PB at the European Championships.
He starts in the team event at midday on Saturday.
South Essex club junior Brinn Bevan will also be in action in the juniors’ competition, which gets underway today (Friday).
Three-time world champion Beth Tweddle MBE reigning British champion Hannah Whelan and former British champion Becky Downie will also be in action over the weekend.