Max Whitlock: Consistency needed for world glory, says coach

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Whitlock eyes pommel consolidation

Max Whitlock's coach says he is very close to becoming Britain's first male gymnastics world champion.

The 20-year-old from Hemel Hempstead won silver in the men's pommel horse at the World Championships last week.

"Max has certainly got the routine and start value to do that," Scott Hann told BBC London.

"He just needs a bit more experience and exposure on the world stage. The Worlds were a very different experience where people expected him to do well."

Whitlock, a double Olympic bronze medallist at London 2012, missed out on gold when his score of 15.633 beaten by the 15.833 of Japan's Kohei Kameyama in Antwerp.

Whitlock became Britain's first European champion on the floor earlier this year and also took all-around silver in Moscow.

However, Hann, who coaches Whitlock at South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon, says he is making progress with his pommel horse routine and is a genuine contender.

"To actually come away with a silver medal was a good step in the right direction," Hann said. "Max is very focused and he has got one vision - to basically be a legend in the world of sport and win as many medals as he can.

"He is very driven towards that. It is about consolidation now.

"He has already got the level there. It is a real possibility but it is not going to be easy. The pommel routine is there - we just need to make it consistent."

Whitlock says his target is now to build on the routine which he used in Belgium as he continues the cycle building up to the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

"I went to the World Championships going for this big routine and we managed to post the highest start score, which we are both very proud of," Whitlock told BBC London.

"It was always going to be risky as we put in two 'G' [difficulty] elements. I wanted to start this routine as early as I can and lead up to Rio.

"The more times you compete it the more confident and relaxed you feel going into it. It is about toning it and cleaning it up now and that is what I am going to work towards.

"Every sportsperson aims for that gold medal. I am quite an ambitious person and think in training about what I can do to raise my scores.

"The Japanese inspire me a lot. I hope it is possible and I will keep training hard.

"I've got two more chances [to become world champion] before Rio and am working as hard as I can to get that medal.

"It would be an amazing achievement for me and Great Britain so I'd like to do my country proud in that way."

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