Whitlock clinches third world title
Gymnastics Artistic

Whitlock clinches third world title

12 October 2019 / 20:04

Max Whitlock spearheaded an incredible day at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships as he regained his pommel horse world title while the Downie sisters both secured individual apparatus medals.

The Olympic champion clinched his third world crown on the pommel, after wins in 2015 and 2017, a score of 15.500 edging him ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chih-kai and Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan, who scored 15.433 and 15.400.

After recovering from a small mistake at the start of his routine, the 26-year-old went on to produce an excellent performance to upgrade his silver from last year’s edition of the championships.

Despite having success on the world and Olympic stage, Whitlock was stunned at this victory and believes the standard on show in Stuttgart will drive him to further triumphs.

“This time for some reason I’m speechless, I feel so emotional,” Whitlock said.

“I can’t believe it and what I’m really pleased about is that I’ve done a clean routine apart from the first bit.

“I made a small mistake at the beginning which cost me a few tenths so hopefully I can work on that in the future and up it even more.

“At that time a million things are running through your head but one of the things was I need to make the rest of this routine the best one I’ve ever done in my life.

“It was a really tough final and because I was second up, I had the opportunity to watch because I was finished.

“The margins are tiny and that’s what really calls for more training, aiming for perfection and going and doing it again.”

Becky Downie claimed her first medal on the world stage with a scintillating silver on the uneven bars, finishing just behind Belgium’s Nina Derwael.

The elder of the Downie sisters competed second on the apparatus and had a nervous wait to find out if her score of 15.000 was enough to medal.

After undergoing ankle surgery last year, the two-time European champion was amazed she had finally achieved a dream in what could be her last World Championships.

“It means so much, it’s taken so many years and I just can’t believe I’ve done it,” the 27-year-old said.

“That’s a routine I’ve been working on for so long and I did a medium routine in team finals, so at each competition here I’ve upped my game and I’m super happy.

“I didn’t know if this was going to be my last worlds, so I’ve put my heart and soul into it. I always do but it’s not always quite gone my way but to finally have done it, it’s amazing.”

Meanwhile younger sister Ellie secured bronze with a score of 14.816 from her two vaults and became the first British woman to ever medal on the apparatus.

In the team final, earlier in the week, the 20-year-old could only contribute in certain events as she was worried about an injury, so she was thrilled to bounce back with a world medal.

“I’m over the moon! I don’t even have words right now,” said the younger Downie.

“I was up first and had to wait for everyone to go and I was just hoping they would go below me.

“I’ve been on a rollercoaster this week with so many ups and downs but to finish like this it’s unreal.”

Elsewhere, the other British representative on the first day of apparatus finals was Dominick Cunningham who finished eighth in the floor final.

Sportsbeat 2019