European Championships: Gold for Whitlock in record medal haul

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
European Gymnastics: GB's Max Whitlock wins European pommel gold

Britain's Max Whitlock defeated reigning Olympic champion Krisztian Berki to claim pommel horse gold on the final day of the European Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Bulgaria.

Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas won high bar silver and bronze respectively and Dan Purvis took bronze on the floor.

It meant Britain's men equalled their best-ever European medal haul of five from Moscow last year.

"It's an amazing achievement for me and the team," Whitlock, 21, said.

Double Olympic bronze medallist Whitlock scored 16.166 for a routine which includes a rare 'triple-Russia' and is ranked as one of the most difficult moves the sport has ever seen.

"I have been working so hard on my routine and to beat someone like Berki, who is someone I really look up to in the sport, is great," he told BBC Sport.

"I'm not finished there though, I've always wanted to do a move that has my name on it and that's what I'll be working on in the future."

The high bar final produced high drama as London Olympic silver medallist Fabian Hambuechen fell during his routine and was unable to continue.

Oldham, 21, who won his maiden senior international medal with silver at last year's Europeans, repeated that achievement with a score of 14.866.

European Gymnastics: GB men enjoy medal success on final day

Olympic champion Epke Zonderland (15.866) eased to victory, with British team captain Thomas, 25, (14.808) claiming the final podium position.

"I knew that Hambuechen had gone down and decided to play it safe and go for my easier routine," Oldham told BBC Sport.

"It paid off and I'm a bit speechless to be honest, but it shows the importance of just putting down a clean routine."

Thomas added: "We were a bit down after missing out on gold in the team event yesterday [Saturday] but refocused and delivered some great performances out there today."

Whitlock was the defending champion on the floor, but a foot-fault early cost him a chance of a medal as Purvis, 23, secured his first individual European medal since 2010.

"I'm delighted with that against such a tough floor field," said Purvis, who won bronze on the same apparatus four years ago.

"The medal has been a long time coming and I just hope I can sustain this level heading into the Commonwealths."

Earlier the British boys junior team secured a record haul of 11 medals from their championships with Nile Wilson, 18, becoming the first gymnast in history to win five titles at the same event.

The next major event for British gymnasts will be the Commonwealth Games where they will be represent their respective home nations.

Top Stories