LOUIS Smith began his 2011 season with a superb World Cup win in Paris at the weekend.

LOUIS Smith began his 2011 season with a superb World Cup win in Paris at the weekend.

The Hunts gymnast fought off 12 top competitors on the pommel horse to finish in the gold medal position with a superb routine that scored 15.7.

Coach Paul Hall said: “This was a great start to a very important year, as the British team work to secure selection for next year's Olympic Games.

“Louis has once again proved he can perform and win at the highest level. Our target is now to stay consistent and fight for a medal at the World Championships in Tokyo later this year.”

Second place went to Prashanth Sellathurai of Australia, with Slovenian Saso Bertoncelj taking bronze in front of French specialist Cyril Tomassone.

The result cements Smith's reputation as one of the world's best pommel horse workers and serves as excellent preparation for the European Championships in Berlin in two weeks' time.