World Gymnastics Championships: Max Whitlock falls on pommel as Britain finish fifth

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Dramatic finale as Russia claim first men’s team title

Max Whitlock fell on the pommel horse in the men's team final as Great Britain finished fifth at the World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart.

The 26-year-old, twice a world pommel champion, was last to compete for GB and recovered to score 14.133.

The team of Whitlock, James Hall, Giarnni Regini-Moran, Dom Cunningham and Joe Fraser scored 251.611, 10 marks behind winners Russia.

China finished second with Japan third and the United States fourth.

It was a first title for Russia with the former Soviet Union winning in 1991.

Russia and China, who took the top two places in qualification for the final, had a closely fought battle for gold throughout.

Sun Wei fell on the high bar as China scored 41.107 in the final discipline, compared to the Russian team's 43.498.

That gave China a final total of 260.729, with Russia crowned champions on 261.726.

Britain's Max Whitlock
Whitlock was denied his third world title on pommel last year as he took silver

Britain had sealed their place in the men's team event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by qualifying for the final in fifth place.

Regini-Morgan scored 14.833 on the vault in the final, while Hall returned the same impressive score in the parallel bars.

Hall said: "Fifth in the world is an enormous achievement and I'm so, so pleased, especially for the team. It was incredible and I enjoyed every second of it."

Only Regini-Moran from the quintet was not involved in last year's championships when Britain also finished fifth.

Analysis

David McDaid, BBC Olympic sports reporter in Stuttgart

The GB team improved on their qualifying scores with some inspired routines.

However, in the latter half of the final, falls on high bar, floor and pommel eventually nullified those gains.

One notable fall was Whitlock on pommel with the Olympic champion trying a high-difficulty routine with a start value of 7.0 with the prospect of improving upon a fifth-place finish already impossible.

That was still good enough to post 14.133, albeit down on his qualifying score of 15.266.

The Russians, led by defending all around world champion Artur Dalaloyan, and highest qualifier Nikita Nagornyy, showed incredible consistency to win gold.

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