Whitlock & Fragapane win British titles

GB gymnast Max Whitlock

Whitlock will be hoping to secure a place at the Rio Olympics later this year

Max Whitlock underlined his Rio Olympic gold potential with a personal best total of 92.7 to win the all-around title at the British Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool.

Last year’s men’s champion Dan Purvis (89.5) took silver while Nile Wilson (87.150) claimed bronze.

Claudia Fragapane won the women’s event with a lifetime best of 58.1.

Rebecca Tunney finished second after two years out injured on 56.35 with Ellie Downie (55.25) in third.

Whitlock’s score was better than the last world and Olympic gold-winning totals posted by Japan’s Kohei Uchimura.

Uchimura claimed gold at London 2012 with 92.69 and won his world title in Glasgow last year with 92.332.

“I’m very proud of today, I’ve never even hit that score in training and so to do it at such an important championships and win the gold its brilliant,” said Whitlock, 23.

“Preparation went well, the build-up was perfect and that’s my personal best and I’m very happy to do it at the British Championships.

“There were two new skills for this year, one on rings and one parallel bars, so it feels great to have got those out.”

Whitlock opened his evening at the city’s Echo Arena with a huge 16.25 on pommel and closed with 16.05 on floor.

Those were the same apparatus on which he won gold and silver respectively in Glasgow.

Fragapane’s display showed upgrades in her routines across the board.

She began on her least favourite apparatus – the uneven bars – with 13.85, then went on to score 14.75, 14.7 and 14.8 on beam, floor and vault.

“It feels absolutely amazing. I’ve never been British all-around champion and I got a personal best so really pleased,” said the 18-year-old.

“This gives me a huge amount of confidence and I can’t wait for my next competition now.”

For the men, the all-around competition also doubled as their senior apparatus finals with pommel world silver medallist Louis Smith again outdone by Whitlock despite a high score of 15.8.

On Sunday, the women will challenge for individual apparatus honours, while the men will compete against the best junior gymnasts for ‘Masters’ apparatus medals.

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