World Gymnastics 2014: Max Whitlock targets gold in China

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Nanning, China
Max Whitlock
Max Whitlock won two bronze medals at the London 2012 Olympics before success at the 2014 European and Commonwealth Games.
2014 World Gymnastics Championships
Venue: Nanning, China; Dates: 3-13 October 2014; 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).

Commonwealth champion Max Whitlock hopes to end a successful year with a maiden world title in China.

Britain's Whitlock, 21, won European pommel horse gold this year, before claiming three titles at Glasgow 2014.

He is part of a 12-strong British team for the World Championships in Nanning, which begin on Friday and also feature Claudia Fragapane and Becky Downie.

"A gold medal is what every athlete aims for and you have to be ambitious," Whitlock told BBC Sport.

"It's been a tough year with three major championships, but it's also been amazing and every success just makes me more motivated so hopefully that can continue at the Worlds."

Whitlock is joined in the men's team by Kristian Thomas, Dan Keatings, Dan Purvis, rising star Nile Wilson and senior debutant Courtney Tulloch, who replaces injured Olympic team bronze medallist Sam Oldham.

Watch Fragapane's remarkable floor routine

The British men will compete in the team qualification round on Friday with performances there determining whether they reach team and individual apparatus finals next week.

Keatings, 24, pulled off a surprise victory over Whitlock and Louis Smith in the pommel horse event in front of his home crowd at the Commonwealth Games.

He is now hoping to secure his first world medal since 2009 after a series of injuries problems which also saw the Scottish gymnast miss the 2012 Olympics.

"I was over the moon with that achievement in Glasgow and it gave me so much confidence," he told BBC Sport.

"It would mean everything to be up there [on the podium] again at the Worlds and show that I'm back on top of my game."

The women's team of Downie, Fragapane, Hannah Whelan, Ruby Harrold, Gabby Jupp and Kelly Simm will begin their qualification campaign on Monday.

Whitlock impresses at Glasgow Commonwealths

"Individually, I'm looking to pick up a medal in the bars final," said Downie, who claimed European and Commonwealth gold in the event this year.

"Also, as a team I think we're well prepared and we're looking to build on the success we've had at the Euro's [silver] and Commonwealths [gold]."

Fragapane, 16, who won all-around, vault and floor gold in Glasgow, says her main priority in Nanning is the team event - but also hopes to reach two individual finals.

"I don't think I have too much pressure for the individual as it's my first senior World Championships but hopefully I can make the vault and floor finals," she told BBC Sport.

"I've never competed against the USA or China or anyone of those, so it's really exciting."

The World Championships represent the first stage of team qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, with the British men and women seeking a top-24 ranking.

They would then return for the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow knowing a top-eight place finish would secure them berths in Brazil.