Paul Hall backing GB men to perform

Paul Hall and Louis Smith
Paul Hall works alongside Olympic bronze medallist Louis Smith on a daily basis

Great Britain coach Paul Hall has tipped the men's team to meet their aim of qualifying the maximum number of gymnasts for the London Olympics.

The British men travel to the World Gymnastics Championships in Japan in search of a top-eight finish in the team event.

Hall told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "The team look absolutely brilliant at the moment and very fit as well.

"Barring injury, I think we'll get the job done."

Team GB have never before qualified a full men's team for an Olympic Games, with just Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings competing in 2008.

Hall has worked with Smith and Keatings at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club in Cambridgeshire since they were young children.

Smith became the first British male gymnast in over 80 years to claim an Olympic medal with his bronze on the pommel horse in Beijing.

Smith and Keatings are both part of the team for Japan, along with fellow Huntingdon star Sam Oldham.

"Of the 24 nations competing in Japan, the top eight will qualifying for the Olympics Games by right," Hall said.

"The teams which finish in places nine to 16 will have to compete in a test event in London in January, but ideally we don't want to be doing that."

The British team fly to Tokyo on Friday and will have a week to prepare ahead of the start of qualifying on 10 October.

Hall pleased with Team GB preparations

"Japan are favourites, but China and the USA are also strong. Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Romania and ourselves are probably in the next bracket," Hall said.

Keatings, who comes from Corby, returned to action earlier this year after a lengthy injury lay-off.

Hall says he is fully fit and is now concentrating on the mental side of his recovery.

"A year out of the sport takes its toll and it takes time to get right psychologically," he said.

"It's not been easy for him to return to competing, but he's done very well and I'm very excited about what he can achieve."

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