Can Britain's gymnasts win medals at London 2012?

Great Britain's gymnasts finished the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo with one medal to show for their efforts - Louis Smith's pommel horse bronze.

On paper this marks a worse performance than the previous two Worlds, but the more important factor in Japan was Olympic qualification.

The British women qualified  the maximum five gymnasts for London 2012, but the men failed  and must try again at the Olympic test event in January.

Having watched every moment of the World Championships, BBC commentators Mitch Fenner and Christine Still assess Britain's chances of medals at the London Olympics.

Mitch Fenner on Britain's men

Individually, Britain's men came up with the goods - Louis Smith won bronze and Dan Purvis came fourth in the all-around final.

Britain's men struggle in Tokyo

The team, however, are looking at a wake-up call. Not qualifying for the Olympics here will probably do them a lot of good. Uncharacteristically, they failed on high bar and they have to focus on that.

Smith has the best medal chance next year. He demonstrated with the difficulty of his routine that he has the armoury - he can produce under pressure. There was one last-gasp slip but he can add even more difficulty in future and is a real prospect.

But I like Dan Purvis - the way he focuses and remains solid all the way. I would love to see him get bronze at the Games. Louis has the slight edge but don't write Dan off.

Japan's all-around champion Kohei Uchimura demonstrated how to blend flashes of individual brilliance with a team head. I can't see him being beaten for a long, long time. Individually he is unassailable

Dan Keatings has been out of the real big scene for over a year, through injury, and his troubles in qualifying show he needs another opportunity - at the test event - to get back into the feel of the big atmosphere. If he learns from this, he too could be up there.

Beyond those three, two places remain in the five-man team GB hope to qualify for the Olympics. Those will be filled by two from Kristian Thomas, Ruslan Panteleymonov, Sam Oldham and Max Whitlock.

The first three were here in Tokyo and, although it's a difficult equation to solve, the mix looked right until cracks appeared on parallel bars and became a chasm on high bar. You can't foresee things like that.

Beyond the Brits, Japan's all-around champion Kohei Uchimura demonstrated how to blend flashes of individual brilliance with a team head. I can't see him being beaten for a long, long time. Individually he is unassailable.

Christine Still on Britain's women

The women made heavy weather of qualification but top-eight was what they were after and what they achieved.

Both the gymnasts and the coaches said the pressure was unbelievable. They knew they couldn't make mistakes.

GB's women celebrate best ever Worlds result

Beth Tweddle probably remains Britain's only realistic medal hope next year. However, Hannah Whelan - ninth in the all-around final - showed just how much she has improved.

If she is able to consolidate a harder vault she has been working on, and lift her bars score a little, higher all-around positions are there for grabbing.

Beth's more realistic medal aspiration must come on the uneven bars. Even though errors stopped her qualfiying for the final here, she has a higher difficulty, or start value, than anyone else in the sport.

In the past she has lost to Olympic champion He Kexin, from China, but He has grown a lot and fell in qualifying. China did not use her in the team final and that suggests things are not going well for them in training either.

We learned here that most teams don't have fantastic depth. In Britain we're as well set as anyone, with the exception of the US and China

Beth won the floor world title in 2009 but she and her coach had been clever, working out which moves would be most valuable when the judging system was revised after Beijing 2008.

For a couple of years she had quite a large start-value advantage, but they've all cottoned on now. For example world bronze medallist Aly Raisman, from the United States, does the same first and second tumbles as Beth.

Beyond Beth and Hannah, nobody else has their name nailed onto a place in the 2012 team. Competition for places is fierce and, aside from those competing at Worlds, Niamh Rippin is still to come back from injury and the reserve here, Laura Edwards, is a rising young gymnast.

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: THE STATE OF PLAY

  • Britain's women qualified a full team for the Olympics on Saturday and need no longer worry, this was the best possible outcome for them
  • Britain's men failed to match them and did not qualify in Tokyo, but have one more opportunity at the Olympic test event in January
  • It is thought highly unlikely that GB's men will fail to finish in the top four at the test event , as required to reach the Games
  • Were that to happen, it is likely Britain would be able to send one male gymnast to London 2012 - likely to be Dan Purvis or Louis Smith , depending on results and interpretations of the qualification rules

Of the team who did compete, Danusia Francis has to lift her start values. She is trading on being a beautiful performer, which is great, but if others come in with more difficult work then she could be in danger.

Jenni Pinches did herself a world of good on beam for Britain, and fought like I hadn't seen her fight before, but she remains inconsistent.

Becky Downie's place is secure as long as she can maintain her fitness, having snapped her Achilles tendon at the end of last year. Without her bars score, the girls face an uphill struggle. She's the other class performer after Beth and Hannah.

Imogen Cairns came here to do floor and vault, but needs to jump her start values up in both. There are junior gymnasts about to turn senior who may offer more than she can. One from Liverpool, Rebecca Tunney, is a very good vaulter, and Ruby Harold is powerful on floor and bars. Those two will come into contention.

Importantly, we learned here that most teams don't have fantastic depth. In Britain we're as well set as anyone, with the exception of the US and China.

Top three as a team may be out of the question next year - but you have to stand up and be counted out there, and the hunger for an Olympic medal will be great.

Purvis impresses with fourth in all-around