Max Whitlock admits he is relishing the chance to go up against reigning Olympic and world champion Kohei Uchimura in Nanning.
Double Olympic bronze medallist Whitlock will lead Great Britain’s men’s team at this month’s World Championships in China, the competition getting underway on October 3.
And the 21-year-old arrives full of confidence having claimed pommel horse silver at last year’s World Championships, not to mention securing floor, team and all-around gold at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
However, one man not standing in his way of glory in Glasgow was Japan’s Uchimura, the defending Olympic and world all-around gold medallist.
And despite insisting Uchimura will be tough to beat, Whitlock can’t wait to give it his best shot.
“Uchimura inspires me and motivates me because I could watch his gymnastics all day,” Whitlock told The Guardian.
“I met him in 2010 at a Japan Cup competition. I was starstruck seeing him. Honestly, he’s been my idol – always. He’s unbelievable, so to compete alongside him is pretty crazy.
“I have been gradually making my routines more difficult and I’m aiming to add some new moves for the worlds, like I did for the Commonwealths.
“I want to keep pushing that but it’s actually all about perfecting your routines and making sure your dismounts really stick.
“If you watch Uchimura’s work it’s pretty much perfect and that’s how he gets his scores. He does not have any off days and he’s known for sticking his landings. That’s a big thing. Think of the six apparatus. You take one step on each one and a step can be 3/10ths of a point, so it builds up rapidly. Those little things need a lot of focus in training.
“Last year at the worlds [in Antwerp] I was just a few tenths from a medal [in the all-around competition]. It’s been a massive target of mine and Scott’s [coach Scott Hann) to hit the 90-point mark, and to have finally done it twice at the Commonwealths means I’m well happy.
“I got 90.6 on one of those days – so I only need 4/10ths to get to 91, which is my next goal. If I’d got that 90.6 mark last year I’d have been second at the worlds.”
© Sportsbeat 2014