All-around gold for Whitlock

  • Last Updated: July 30 2014, 20:36 BST

Max Whitlock is aiming to take the challenge to four-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura after claiming the Commonwealth title with a near faultless performance in Glasgow on Wednesday.

England's Max Whitlock dismounts from the high bar
England's Max Whitlock dismounts from the high bar

Whitlock won gold with a a total of 90.631 across all six pieces of apparatus to finish ahead of Scotland's Dan Keatings (88.298) in silver medal position with England team-mate Nile Wilson (87.965) in bronze.

The 21-year-old has been targeting a step up to all-around success ever since he won team and pommel horse bronze at London 2012, but the next item on his agenda is October's World Championships in China, where the big guns of the host nation, the United States and Japan will provide a much tougher test.

Japan's Uchimura is expected to defend his all-around crown and bid to become the first man to win five successive titles, but, after winning gold in Glasgow, Whitlock is ready to go toe to toe with his hero.

"It's an honour to be in the same sentence as that guy," Whitlock said.

"He's been an absolute idol for my whole gymnastics career and the guy I look up to. So I will be trying to push but I hit that 90 mark today and that's something that's a massive target of mine and hopefully I can keep pushing to get closer to 91.

"Since London 2012, all-around has been a massive target for me and to pull it off and for it to all come together on the day is great.

"It's a big marker experience-wise and confidence-wise as well. It gives me a massive push today. I'll be training really hard and hopefully I can get some new skills in there and that will be really good."

Whitlock led Keatings by two clear marks going into the final piece of apparatus, the high bar, but absorbed the pressure of being the last man to compete to produce the best score of the day on the piece - 15.100 - to claim a well-deserved gold.

"I wasn't paying much attention to the score. I just wanted to get my job done and get clean routines," Whitlock said.

"To have that bit of margin is a comfortable feeling and it feels really nice, it feels really good.

"I can't explain it. It's a crazy feeling. Even before the routine, I was so nervous. For everything just to come together and to stick the landing like that. To be so happy with my all-around performance and not just one piece, it's unreal. It really is - it's unreal."

Even though he was in control and nailing piece after piece, Whitlock refused to take the easy route, instead choosing to push himself with added difficulty on his routines.

The Hemel Hempstead-born gymnast admitted that approach is all part of a bigger masterplan which will hopefully pave the streets of Rio gold when the Olympics arrive there in two years' time.

"I like to do that in every competition that I do," Whitlock added. "Part of the reason why I do it is to give myself some more experience, so hopefully my 7.4 pommel horse routine I can keep pushing that. The whole idea is that I can be as good as I can for Rio."

Whitlock's team-mate Wilson, who had been competing in the junior ranks as recently as May, when he won five of eight available Junior European Championship medals, was not expecting to come away with an all-around medal.

"It was a surprise," Wilson said. "I didn't come here expecting to win an all-around medal, and the team gold was unbelievable (on Tuesday).

"I came into today not expecting much, just focusing on my job and trying to hit my routines, and it came off and I'm really, really happy to win a bronze medal. It's unbelieveable."