Olympic gymnastics test event: Britain's men qualify for London 2012

Great Britain's men won the Olympic test event in style to qualify a full team for the Games for the first time since Barcelona 1992.

They missed their first chance to qualify for London 2012 at the World Championships in Tokyo , finishing 10th in team qualifying.

The squad needed a top-four finish at London's O2 Arena to secure their spot.

And, led by Dan Purvis's brilliant all-round performance, Britain comfortably beat France to win the event.

It was a qualifier for the Olympic Games and the guys handled it brilliantly. It just shows the depth of our squad and how we can perform if we do hit those routines

Louis Smith

Purvis, along with team-mates Daniel Keatings, Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Kristian Thomas and Ruslan Panteleymonov, triumphed with a total of 358.227 points ahead of France, Spain and Italy, who also qualified.

Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Belarus missed out.

Purvis scored 89.948 for the six pieces of apparatus to top the individual all-round standings ahead of Thomas, with Keatings third.

"After Tokyo everyone was a bit depressed but we got back in the gym and put our heads down," said Purvis.

"We knew we weren't going to have Christmas. I was really impressed with everyone getting stuck in and it paid off.

"The other teams [who qualified in Tokyo] don't get to do this. We get to test the equipment out and the atmosphere was amazing here, so hopefully we'll be more prepared for the Olympics."

ANALYSIS

Had Britain performed to this standard in Tokyo, they would have finished fifth in the world final, narrowly behind Russia. However, the team played it safe here and have much more in their armoury for the Olympic Games. A new, internal battle now begins - seven gymnasts made the trip here but only five can be chosen for the GB Olympic team this summer

Whitlock, who competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games for England and was making his senior GB debut, put in an impressive performance as he outscored Olympic bronze medallist Smith on the pommel horse.

However, Smith, who was team captain and only performed on one piece of apparatus, was not performing his toughest routine, preferring to save that for the Olympics.

"It was a scary competition," said Smith. "It was a qualifier for the Olympic Games and the guys handled it brilliantly. It just shows the depth of our squad and how we can perform if we do hit those routines."

Smith fell when competing at the 2009 World Championships at the same venue and said he was glad to put that behind him with a good performance this time around.

"In 2009, I was a lot younger and it wasn't long after the 2008 Olympic Games. I've grown up a bit now. I've learnt the tricks of the trade.

"It was tough coming here for just one piece. I'm team captain so it was nice to put in a strong routine and the celebration got the crowd going a bit."

We've got an advantage now - we've felt what the pressure in there is going to be like, and we're looking forward to the Olympics now

Dan Keatings

Keatings added: "It was a blessing in disguise what happened in Tokyo [because] we could come here and compete in front of a home crowd.

"We've got an advantage now. We've felt what the pressure in there is going to be like and we're looking forward to the Olympics now.

"The home fans are amazing. It gives that buzz around the arena. It gives you that extra boost going on to pieces [of apparatus].

"It is quite scary, jumping up on high bar first. I had to really calm my nerves, but the fans were amazing today."

Britain's women had qualified a full team for the London Olympics by virtue of reaching the team final at the 2011 World Championships, held in Tokyo last November.

With qualification safely in the bag, the two GB women sent to compete at this week's test event - Jocelyn Hunt and Rebecca Tunney - are younger members of the squad. Senior stars such as Beth Tweddle turned up on Tuesday to support Britain's men from the stands.

There is one more British qualification issue to be settled before the test event is complete, as GB women's rhythmic gymnasts take to the floor next Monday and Tuesday.

If they can pull off a score of 45.223 or higher at the test event - approximately 80% of the top score at the last World Championships - the British Olympic Association will send a rhythmic gymnastics team to take up the host-nation place available at the Olympics.