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Max Whitlock fifth in pommel horse final, Simone Biles takes vault silver

Whitlock fifth in pommel horse final, Biles takes vault silver
© Reuters
Great Britain's Max Whitlock finishes fifth in the men's pommel horse final at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, while Simone Biles wins vault silver.

Max Whitlock's quest for a fourth pommel horse world title ended in disappointment as the 30-year-old placed fifth in Saturday's final at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.

The returning three-time Olympic gold medallist was left to rue a fall in the closing stages of his routine as he posted a total of 14.300, 0.800 marks behind champion Rhys McClenaghan of the Republic of Ireland.

Whitlock admitted that the result left him "gutted", having qualified for the pommel horse final in first place with a whopping 15.266, telling BBC Sport: "I don't really know what to think. I'm gutted.

"I was really ready for that, I felt confident. Scott [Hann, coach] just said to me the fall was a bit uncharacteristic. But it is what it is, there's nothing I can do about it. It's done now.

"It's just really hard. I suppose when it doesn't go to plan, it feels like the whole thing has gone so quick and you want to get up and do it again. I need to go back, take some time now, reflect with Scott and try again."

Thanks to Whitlock's error, McClenaghan defended the title he won in Liverpool last year with a score of 15.100, while the USA's Khoi Young (14.966) and Jordan's Ahmad Abu Al-Soud (14.633) took silver and bronze respectively.

Gold medallist Brazil's Rebeca Andrade celebrates on the podium with her medal after winning the vault exercise at the women's apparatus finals alongside silver medallist Simone Biles of the U.S. and bronze medallist South Korea's Seojeong Ye on October 7© Reuters

Prior to the start of Saturday's apparatus finals, Great Britain's medals hopes suffered a major blow as reigning all-around European champion Jessica Gadirova withdrew from the remainder of the competition due to injury.

In Gadirova's absence, Brazil's Rebeca Andrade edged out 21-time world champion Simone Biles to win gold in the women's fault, scoring 14.750 after two near-faultless routines.

Biles went for her historic Yurchenko double pike on her first vault routine, but the American overcooked her attempt and fell backwards, taking a 0.50 penalty as she settled for silver, while the bronze went to Yeo Seojeong of South Korea with 14.416.

Meanwhile, Harry Hepworth competed in the floor and rings finals for GB, finishing sixth in the former with a total of 14.333 as Israel's Artem Dolgopyat (14.866) took the world title.

A comparative lack of difficulty on rings saw Hepworth finish eighth in that final with 14.100 on the board, over one whole mark below Chinese champion Yang Liu (15.233).

China's second gold medal of the day arrived in the women's uneven bars final, as Qiu Qiyuan won her first world title with 15.100, ahead of second-placed Kaylia Nemour (15.033) and Shilese Jones (14.766) while Biles was down in fifth with 14.200.

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Simone Biles in action on October 6, 2023
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