Keatings and Whitlock win European titles on penultimate day

20 April 2013 / 14:15

Daniel Keatings believes he proved a point after claiming pommel horse gold on his return to the British team for the European Artistic Gymnastics Individual Championships.

Keatings failed to make the team for the London 2012 Olympics with injuries hampering his chances but booked his place at the Europeans with five golds at the British Championships last month.

The 23-year-old, who competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, has happy memories of the European Championships having in particular won pommel gold on home soil in Birmingham in 2010.

And he won back that title on the penultimate day of action in Moscow having qualified for the pommel final in eighth place with Olympic champion Krisztian Berki leading the way.

Keatings upset both Berki and double Olympic bronze medallist and British teammate Max Whitlock in the final after producing one of the routines of the Championships to score 15.600.

Berki finished second with 15.533 while Whitlock, who won all-around silver in Russia, finished third with 15.500 but, like Keatings, he collected a gold medal, this time on the floor.

And Keatings said: “That means everything to me, I felt like I’ve had something to prove after missing out on the Olympics so I was very determined.

“Going clean in the final and beating the Olympic champion, it means everything. I knew I’d done the best routine I could have done and was in with a shout so the cheer on landing was more relief than anything, it’s fantastic.”

Whitlock became the first British male gymnast to win the European floor title but he had to share it with Israel’s Alexander Shatilov, both scoring 15.333.

British teammate Sam Oldham was fifth in the same event and Whitlock said: “It’s all a bit crazy; to go out there and win a gold medal at the Europeans and to be champion is an amazing feeling.

“I’m very proud to win the first floor gold for Great Britain, it’s an amazing feeling to stand there and see the British flag and hear the national anthem.”

Elsewhere Becky Downie and Ruby Harrold were seventh and eighth respectively in the bars final with the latter in action on Sunday in the beam while Oldham joins Ashley Watson on the high bar.

© Sportsbeat 2013