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Max Whitlock named in five-man Great Britain squad for World Championships

Max Whitlock named in five-man GB squad for World Championships
© Reuters
Max Whitlock is called up to the Great Britain squad for the upcoming World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, his first major competition since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Max Whitlock has been called up to the Great Britain squad for the upcoming World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.

The three-time Olympic champion will make his return to international competition in Belgium after a three-year absence, having taken time out from the sport after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Whitlock - who placed seventh in the pommel horse final at this year's British Championships - was due to compete in April's European Championships with the GB squad, but he was forced to withdraw due to a minor injury.

However, the 30-year-old - a three-time world champion on the pommel horse - is now poised to make his comeback on the biggest stage as part of a five-man team with Courtney Tulloch, Jake Jarman, Harry Hepworth and James Hall.

The upcoming World Championships also serve as a qualification event for the Paris 2024 Olympics, where GB have already sealed their men's and women's team spots owing to last year's world medals.

"I'm really excited to be selected for my 7th World Championships. This one however feels special - my first major competition since the Tokyo Olympics," Whitlock told the official British Gymnastics website.

Max Whitlock in action at the Tokyo Olympics on August 1, 2021© Reuters

"I've worked harder, become fitter and approached this build-up like never before. I'm excited to be back with the team with some big targets ahead. Thank you for all the support and messages sent in during the harder times, I wouldn't be here without you all."

BG's Olympic Disciplines performance director Tracy Whittaker-Smith added: "We're delighted to announce a very strong men's line up for these World Championships. The team have had huge success at recent major championships and this line up will travel to Antwerp with confidence knowing they can compete for medals in a range of events.

"The British men's programme has a great depth of talent with world class gymnasts supported by fantastic coaches - all motivating and pushing each other to be the best they can be - which is hugely exciting with the Paris Olympics approaching."

Hall, Jarman and Tulloch all formed a part of GB's bronze-medal winning team at the 2022 World Championships, where the latter also finished third on rings, while the other two members of that quintet - Joe Fraser and Giarnni Regini-Moran - are both on the road to recovery from injury.

The 2023 edition will mark Hepworth's first World Championships and second major international competition following his debut at April's Europeans, where he finished fourth in the floor exercise and seventh on vault.

Luke Whitehouse - the reigning European champion floor - has been selected as the travelling reserve, while Joshua Nathan, who won continental team bronze in April, will be the non-travelling reserve.

The World Championships take place from 30 September to 8 October, and GB have confirmed that the women's team should be announced at the end of August following this weekend's final selection event.

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