European champs Whitlock and Keatings head team for worlds

16 September 2013 / 12:51

Men’s head national coach Eddie Van Hoof is confident Britain can carry on the form shown at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships after naming a six-strong team that will take on the globe’s finest in Antwerp.

Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas – four of the five that helped Britain win an historic team bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics last summer – form the spine of the men’s team.

Beijing 2008 Olympian Daniel Keatings and Ashley Watson complete the six-strong line-up for the World Championships, which are individual only and run from September 30 to October 6 in Belgium.

Britain won five medals at the European Championships in Moscow back in April all from the men – Whitlock with gold on the floor gold, silver in the all-around and bronze on the pommel horse, won by Keatings.

Oldham claimed silver on the horizontal bar and men’s head national coach Van Hoof is backing the six-strong team to delivering further success at the World Championships in Antwerp.

“An individual World Championships gives an indication as to the progress of gymnasts from the top nations and the improvements made in the new cycle,” he said.

“For the British boys it gives a chance to show upgraded routines and the opportunity for individual gymnasts to shine.

“We hope to build on the success of the European Championships and demonstrate the great depth we have in our squad.”

Britain will also take a four-strong women’s team to Belgium with Ruby Harrold, Rebecca Downie, Hannah Whelan and Rebecca Tunney all earning selection.

And women’s head national coach Amanda Reddin wants Britain’s athletes to lay down a statement of intent at the first World Championships of the Olympic cycle towards Rio 2016.

“As these are the first World Championships of the new Olympic cycle it gives all nations the chance to assess the current situation and see what will be required going forward,” she said.

“The team we have selected has great experience with three Olympians in Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney and Rebecca Downie who are joined by Ruby Harrold who made three finals at this year’s European Championship.

“The aims for the championships are to compete good quality routines working towards qualification for finals and putting a marker down for the rest of the cycle.”

© Sportsbeat 2013