World Gymnastics 2011: Britain's Dan Purvis fourth in all-around final
World Gymnastics Championships
- Venue: Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Japan
- Dates: 7-16 October
Coverage: Watch the finals live on BBC Red Button and online from 11-16 October, with highlights on BBC Two
Great Britain's Dan Purvis narrowly missed a surprise medal as Kohei Uchimura won a record third consecutive World Gymnastics men's all-around gold.
The Liverpudlian lay third before his final event but could not match Philipp Boy or Koji Yamamuro, who won silver and bronze respectively, on high bar.
"It's a really good position to finish but it's a bitter-sweet moment," Purvis told BBC Sport inside the Tokyo arena.
"I could have got a medal and I didn't, but I'm still proud of myself."
Purvis, 20, came fifth last year and, following in the footsteps of 2009 world silver medallist Dan Keatings, always had the potential to threaten the podium.
KNOW YOUR UCHIMURA FROM YOUR OROZCO
- Gymnastics is scored on two factors: the difficulty of your routine, and how well you execute it. Most gymnasts concentrate on maximising one or the other
- Kohei Uchimura is the world's number one because he combines extravagant, highly complex moves on each apparatus with the ability to pull them off stylishly and without error
- Dan Purvis and America's John Orozco are examples of those who reduce the difficulty but try to execute their moves to near-perfection
- At the other end of the scale, flamboyant gymnasts like Dutch high bar specialist Epke Zonderland are renowned for breathtaking manoeuvres but run the risk of looking ragged or, worse, falling
Of the six highest-qualified gymnasts, who compete together as one of four groups in the 24-man final, Purvis had the lowest combined difficulty score - which means he relies on consistency and stylish execution of his moves, rather than complexity, to earn marks.
That lack of difficulty would be interpreted by some as a disadvantage in a final of this quality, but the Briton's renowned unflappability came to the fore on Friday.
A sequence of five smooth routines, in circumstances where many others might fold, propelled him to dizzy heights before reaching the high bar.
Only a breathtaking final roll of the dice from Germany's Boy, scoring a deservedly mammoth 16.066, deprived Purvis of a second world medal following his bronze in the floor event in Rotterdam last year.
"I thought it was all over but I knew I could do that high bar routine and I needed it," said Boy, who captured the silver medal for a second year running. "The whole time I was keeping one eye on Dan's results. Every time he makes no mistakes - he's a machine.
"It was all or nothing. I had to fight and it was a perfect fight for me. I knew high bar wasn't his best and I had to catch him there."
Purvis said: "[On seeing Philipp's score] I thought, 'There's no way I'm staying close to that.' But I can go back, get my routines a bit higher and hopefully next year will be great for the Olympics."
The strength in depth Britain's men now offer - Purvis and Keatings have demonstrated their ability to challenge for world medals, while Sam Oldham is at the vanguard of an outstanding group of British teenagers - bodes well for London 2012.
And it only deepens the mystery of how the men's team failed to ensure their place at the Games during Monday's qualification, when they came 10th having needed a top-eight finish, meaning they must now qualify at January's Olympic test event in London.
However, at this moment in time the men's all-around Olympic gold appears sewn up for Japanese superstar Uchimura.
In front of an adoring home crowd, the 22-year-old proved he is above comparison with any other competitor as he collected a score of 93.631 to win by the stunning margin of three clear marks, his largest to date.
Boy, a phenomenon himself in any other company, scored 90.530 and professed himself devoid of the wherewithal to beat Uchimura.
"At the moment I can do nothing. You've seen his results, he can fall on high bar and still win," said the second-best gymnast in the world. "He's an idol of mine."
Uchimura's compatriot Yamamuro took bronze with 90.255 to Purvis' 89.932, having looked set to complete a Japanese one-two ahead of Purvis before Boy's stupendous high bar routine.
Saturday's action will see Louis Smith in the reckoning for a pommel horse medal, while on Sunday Beth Tweddle attempts to regain a floor world title she last won in 2009.
Meanwhile, Glasgow has been confirmed as one of four venues to stage gymnastics' new-look World Cup series in 2012.
The Scottish leg of the series is expected to be the first event staged in the city's new National Indoor Sports Arena, being built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.