(Reuters) – Olympic champion Max Whitlock became the first British gymnast to retain a world title when he won the pommel horse gold medal at the gymnastics world championships in Montreal on Saturday.
Whitlock, a five-time Olympic medalist, finished with a score of 15.441 to defeat Russian David Belyavskiy (15.100) and China’s Xiao Ruoteng (15.066).
“Making history again, I couldn’t be happier,” said Whitlock, who won Olympic gold medals in floor exercise and pommel horse at the 2016 Rio Games and also the world pommel horse title at Glasgow in 2015.
“It feels amazing. I have always looked up to the guys who get a title and they go back to training and they go and do it again.”
There was also victory for another Rio individual champion, rings gold medalist Eleftherios Petrounias, on the penultimate day of the championships.
The Greek’s mastery of his event, which saw him hailed as the new ‘Lord of the Rings’ after victory at the Games, was in evidence again.
His score of 15.433 enabled him to add to his 2015 world title by defeating Russia’s 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Abliazin (15.333) and China’s Liu Yang (15.266).
Japan’s Kenzo Shirai won his third world title in the floor exercise (15.633) and his second medal of the championships after taking the bronze in the all-around on Thursday.
Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat (14.533) took silver behind Shirai while American Yul Moldauer (14.500) annexed bronze.
In the women’s competition, Russia’s outstanding Maria Paseka won her third consecutive vault title.
Paseka (14.850) was joined on the podium by American Jade Carey (14.766)and Swiss Giulia Steingruber (14.466), the Olympic bronze medalist.
The women’s uneven bars gold was won outright by China’s Fan Yilin, who had shared the title in 2015.
She scored 15.166 to finish ahead of Russia’s Elena Eremina (15.100) and Belgian Nina Derwael (15.033), whose bronze was her country’s first-ever medal at a world championship.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Chadband