British Men dominate MAG Qualification in London

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The excitement last night in the North Greenwich Arena was unreal, the British men’s team of Daniel Purvis, Dan Keatings, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Ruslan Panteleymonov and Max Whitlock began on High Bar in top form setting the tone for the evening.  Dan Keatings was first up and there was no way a repeat of Tokyo, in fact after this performance Tokyo is long forgotten. The team nailed 5 strong high bar routines, not a foot out of place on the dismounts. They produced another 5 high quality routines on floor. It was a hairy moment for Louis Smith on Pommels when he broke leg form, losing some momentum but being the pro that he is, he kept it together. Rings, probably Team GB’s worst event weren’t too shabby either. On the second last rotation GB threw some fantastic vaults, huge from Kristian Thomas and Ruslan Panteleymonov who performed two each in the hope of reaching the Vault final.

Tonight, the team were one. They showed the meaning of being a team. On working as  a team Daniel Keatings said:

“It’s amazing. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach. I can’t believe we achieved that performance. We
came together as a team. We stayed together as a team over Christmas which meant we missed out
on loads of treats but it paid off. We had to pull together strongly. It felt great, it felt like a family.”

“It shows the strength we have in the team. Our performance will give us an extra boost. We are
looking forward to the Olympics, I’m really confident. I always knew this was a good luck arena. I
knew we could do it. We’ve still got a lot to do. But it’s amazing how far British Gymnastics has come
on.”

Questions were raised at the Press Conference afterwards as to whether Louis Smith holding a place on the Olympic Team (considering there are less places on the team than previous Olympics)  is a gamble, considering he only participated on Pommels here. In response Team GB Technical Director Eddie Van Hoof responded:

“We will look at structure and look at Louis to cover other apparatus but also at our best medal
chances. Louis is also good at parallel bars and, suprisingly, the rings as well.”

As well as securing their Olympic Team spot, Purvis, Thomas and Keatings who finished first, second and third respectively. It’s now onwards and upwards for the GB men as they prepare for the European Championships in May as Eddie Van Hoof explains:

“A bit of a break. It’s not just the gymnasts that have suffered but their families as well. There’ll be
a training camp in Cancun towards the end of this month. Then we will be full on in preparation
for the Europeans (European championships 2012 in Montpellier, France) in May and the Olympic
Games.”

Image via Getty Images.

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