Louis Smith looking for World glory to boost his Olympic bid

Huntingdon Gymnastics Club star Louis Smith.

Huntingdon Gymnastics Club star Louis Smith. - Credit: Archant

Louis Smith hopes to take the next step towards the Rio Olympics after being selected in the Great Britain team for the World Championships.

The Huntingdon Gymnastics Club star has been named in the six-man Great Britain team for the world event in Glasgow from October 23 to November 1.

The three-time Olympic medallist has made the cut to compete at the SSE Hydro venue following a sensational return to the sport in the past 18 months. Smith is the reigning British and European pommel horse champion and joins Max Whitlock, Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson and Brinn Bevan in the GB men’s line-up.

Not only will Smith and his fellow GB stars be chasing world glory, but the top eight nations who advance to the final of the team competition will also secure qualification for Rio.

Smith said: ‘It has been hard work with many selection events in the past weeks, but I think we have a great team that will do well in front of a home crowd. It’s a very important step on the road to Rio and earning the chance to compete for another Olympic medal next year.”

Smith’s best performance at a World Championships was a 2010 silver medal. He has also twice won bronze and Huntingdon Gymnastics Club coach Paul Hall is confident he can challenge for a medal again.

Hall said: “There is no doubt Louis is capable of doing that. His scores in the qualifying competitions have been among the best produced in the world this year.

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“There will be lots of tough competition, but Louis’ biggest rival is probably the horse itself.”

There was disappointment for fellow Huntingdon ace Daniel Keatings, who missed out on a place in the GB squad.

Hall added: “It is a shame for Daniel, but it underlines the strength of gymnastics in this country. We now have more than a dozen guys all battling for six spots in the team.

“Daniel will go away and lick his wounds and look to come back strongly by qualifying for Rio providing the GB team do their bit and secure their spot.”