Firstly, I must mention how proud I am of our British male artistic gymnasts- Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Ashley Watson, Sam Oldham and Daniel Keatings, throughout this competition. I don't tend to write about Men's Gymnastics but I do enjoy watching it and respect it as much as I do the Women's events. My favourite is the High Bar. Anyway I will disclose now, a few of my comments from this World Championships-
I have often heard the pommel horse described as the male version of Women's Beam; it is difficult to stay on there, but if you manage it, and have the difficulty score, you are likely to final.
2013 European Champion Daniel Keatings unfortunately fell on his pommel routine in the qualifications, as did 2012 Olympic Champion Kristian Berki. These facts alone illustrate such an allusion to Women's Beam, demonstrating that even reigning champions on this event are not guaranteed to final. But this does not mean that they are not still champions, although they have missed out on a chance to medal at this World Championships.
Max Whitlock, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist on the Pommel, did qualify however, and topped this off with a World Championship Silver medal for himself and Britain! If he continues to train and compete like he is doing so at the moment, for a few more years, I believe that Max could become our most successful male British gymnast ever. Considering he did not even compete at the Tokyo World Championships of 2011, as the reserve, his last two years have been mind blowing! I have said it before, and will say it again- British Gymnastics is full of talent at the moment. It is very exciting!
Speaking of this, and nicely demonstrating why I have such confidence in our current British Team, our Men did fantastically in the all around Final too- with Max placing 4th and Dan Purvis in 7th. The winner was, of course, 'King Kohei' Uchimura of Japan. This fourth consecutive world title of his has made gymnastics history, not just on the men's side. If anyone can be called a living legend, it is him. If you want a bit more scale, here is a great article (from an American perspective, not neutral, but still) stating all the facts from his past five years of dominance (don't forget, he also won the Olympics!) http://olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/03/kohei-uchimura-wins-world-gymnastics-all-around-championship-sam-mikulak/.
Although they did not qualify for Finals, and have not featured heavily in the media this week, let's not neglect the participation of Ashley Watson and Sam Oldham at this championships, who each competed solely on one event- the Parallel Bars for Ash, and the Floor for Sam.
Ashley competed a very difficult routine, to score 15.133 altogether. Although his routine had a difficulty value of only 0.100 less than Vasileios Tsolakidis, the top qualifier, his execution of 8.433 was a few tenths too low to make the final. Despite this, he still finished within the top 20 on the apparatus, which is something to be proud of.
Part of the Olympic bronze medal winning team last year, Sam Oldham, was here for some Floor work only, in Antwerp. After a number of penalties he also missed out on the final, but we can look forward to seeing him back in full shape on all six events next year, I'm sure.
Dan Purvis on the other hand, did make it to the Floor final, and to complete our lads' championships, Kristian Thomas competed on Vault.
Dan, like Max in the all-around competition, narrowly missed out on a World medal after finishing fourth in the Floor final, however Kristian Thomas managed to pull it just the other way in his favour, winning a bronze medal on the Vault, the next day!!!
Before I go, I can't exclude my favourite male apparatus- the High Bar. Epke Zonderland put joy in my heart, by winning the competition with his incredible routine, alongside his warm bromance with Silver medal winner Fabian Hambuechen. Uchimura finished third this time. I wonder where he puts all his medals, and awards?
Again, I am so proud of our male British gymnasts- of their immense talent, but also of their maturity and sportsmanship here in Antwerp. Here are some videos to round off my little MAG section-
Dan Purvis after Floor Final (4th)
Kristian Thomas after Vault Final (3rd)
Max Whitlock after Pommel Final (2nd)