World Gymnastics 2014: Keatings, Wilson & Tulloch into finals

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British trio qualify at World Gymnastics Championships
2014 World Gymnastics Championships
Venue: Nanning, China Dates: 3-13 October Coverage: Daily highlights of the team and individual apparatus finals - 12:00 BST on Red Button and 15:00-17:15 on BBC Two from 7-10 October; 14:20-15:50 on 11 October (BBC One) and 16:00-17:30 on 12 October (BBC Two).

Dan Keatings will aim for a pommel horse medal at the World Gymnastics Championships in China, despite only scraping into the final in eighth.

The Commonwealth champion struggled in qualifying but BBC pundit Craig Heap says the Briton can challenge Hungary's Olympic champion Krisztian Berki.

"Sometimes he struggles in round one and then does well," said Heap.

"A lot of the others performed at their best but Dan didn't so I think he's the only one who could challenge," he said.

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Keatings wins gold as Smith falters

Nile Wilson (high bar), Courtney Tulloch (rings) and Britain's men's team also qualified for finals, while Dan Purvis and Wilson clinched places in the all-around final.

Max Whitlock, Keatings, Purvis, Kristian Thomas, plus World Championship debutants Wilson and Tulloch, scored 357.193 points as Britain finished fourth in qualifying for the team event.

China led the rankings with 362.698, ahead of Japan on 361.609 and the USA with 360.393.

Britain won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London, but their best result at a World Championships is seventh.

"They beat European champions Russia which is a good sign, whilst I don't think USA can do any better," added former Olympic gymnast Heap.

"The significant thing about the score is that they've done it with guys like Wilson and Tulloch in there who are new to the scene and it's a great sign."

Purvis and Wilson were easily inside the required top 24 positions needed to reach the all-around final, but there is the possibility that Whitlock could be brought in to replace Wilson.

Whitlock, the Commonwealth champion, struggled during qualification on Friday, but was fourth in last year's World Championship all-around final and, on his best form, would represent a stronger medal prospect.

Why Whitlock could replace Wilson
Each nation is only permitted to enter two athletes into an individual final, but for the all-around event athletes secure berths for their country rather than a place for themselves. As long as a third or even fourth-placed athlete from a nation secures a top-24 place during qualification they can be included in the final line-up because it is down to the country who they nominate.
Selecting anyone other than those who qualify outright is extremely rare but essentially Max Whitlock could potentially challenge for silver or bronze in peak form, whereas Nile Wilson does not yet have the array of difficult routines to score high enough to challenge for a medal.

The British team say "no decision has been made" about who will line up in Thursday's event but Heap is convinced there should be no changes.

"I think really it should stand as it is," Heap told BBC Sport.

"If it was me who's worked so hard and qualified and then was replaced I'd be mortified and I don't think Max, being the guy he is, would want to take the place he hadn't earned."

The women's qualification round begins on Sunday with the British women, including four-time Commonwealth champion Claudia Fragapane, in the second group who compete on Monday.

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