Hemel Hempstead gymnastics star Max Whitlock will be doing all he can to get the better of his idol Kohei Uchimura when the two go head-to-head at the World Championships in Nanning, China.
Double Olympic bronze medallist Whitlock will lead Great Britain’s men’s team at this month’s Championships, with the team competition getting under way tomorrow.
The 21-year-old arrives full of confidence having claimed pommel horse silver at last year’s World Championships, not to mention securing floor, team and all-around gold at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
However, if Whitlock is to add another gold to his collection, he will need to get the better or defending Olympic and world all-around gold medallist Uchimura – who Whitlock admits is his all-time gymnastics hero.
Whitlock will represent Britain alongside his English Commonwealth gold medal team-mates Nile Wilson and Kristian Thomas.
Scottish 2014 Commonwealth parallel bars champion Daniel Purvis also takes a spot, as does his Commonwealth team-mate and pommel horse champion Daniel Keatings.
Double junior European Champion Courtney Tulloch completes the GB men’s squad, while the reserve is 2012 Junior European Champion Frank Baines.
Only the top 24 teams for men and for women in Nanning will qualify to the second Olympic Qualification stage – the World Championships in Glasgow in 2015 where the top eight men’s and women’s teams will qualify automatically for the Rio Olympics.
The teams ranked ninth through 16th will qualify for the Rio Test Event, to be held early in 2016. The top four men’s and women’s teams at the Test Event will then earn the final Olympic team berths.
This is the first World Championships since the London 2012 Olympic Games to feature the full gymnastics programme: team, individual all-around and apparatus finals for men and for women.