Smith has high hopes for gymnastics team

04 July 2012 / 16:43

Great Britain boast such a pool of male gymnastic talent they can afford to leave former European champion Daniel Keatings out of their Olympic squad, according to gold medal hope Louis Smith.

Keatings, who won pommel horse gold in Birmingham two years ago and all-around silver at the 2009 World Championships, missed out on a place in the five-man gymnastics team which was announced in Loughborough on Wednesday.

Smith admitted Keatings' omission was a tough one, and he told Press Association Sport: "It's sad that he didn't make the team. I've trained with him for years and years and am friends with him and his family. It goes to show you the strength-in-depth of the squad so you've got to remain positive and support the guys in the team."

He added: "It's a very good team and it's unfortunate that he couldn't be in it."

Smith, a bronze medallist in Beijing four years ago, will compete alongside Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham at the London Games.

However, Keatings could still make the Games if a member of the team is struck with a late injury.

Smith said: "Dan is still training. He's in the reserves slot so if anything did happen he will be jumping at the chance to fill in."

British Gymnastics Olympic Performance director Tim Jones revealed the decision to omit all-around medal hopeful Keatings came after hours of discussion about the best fit for the team.

Keatings, who has recently been recovering from ankle ligament damage, was not part of the squad who won team gold at this year's European Championships - their first ever team gold at a major competition.

His place has been filled in the Olympic squad by 19-year-olds Whitlock and Oldham, who also pushed out Ruslan Panteleymonov, a member of the team who claimed gold in Montpellier.