Smith and Keatings win medals at Glasgow Grand Prix
Huntingdon gymnasts Louis Smith and Dan Keatings took huge steps towards success at the World Championships by claiming medals in the individual pommel horse at the Glasgow Gymnastics Grand Prix on Sunday. Smith, who trains at the Olympic Gym in Huntingdo
Huntingdon gymnasts Louis Smith and Dan Keatings took huge steps towards success at the World Championships by claiming medals in the individual pommel horse at the Glasgow Gymnastics Grand Prix on Sunday.
Smith, who trains at the Olympic Gym in Huntingdon, took the gold medal ahead of his arch-rival Kristian Berki of Hungary, while Keatings won bronze.
Against a strong international field, both British gymnasts elected to perform difficult routines, and were rewarded for their gambles. Smith's winning performance was scored at 15.75, ahead of four-time European champion Berki on 15.525, and Keatings on 15.4.
In the vault, Hunts athlete Luke Folwell continued his recent progress as he finished in a creditable fourth place against another strong international field.
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Paul Hall, who coaches both Smith and Keatings at Huntingdon Olympic Gym, explained the significance of their achievements.
"This is a great step forward for both of them towards the worlds. Lewis attempted a very difficult routine - the most difficult of the competition - and was able to perform it to make the jump ahead of Berki.
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"Dan was very pleased with his performance in front of his home crowd. He's travelled up to compete in Glasgow before, and I think in the past he has felt the nerves a little.
"Now he is starting to gain good competition experience from having been on the circuit for a while. Luke is also progressing well and can be proud of his performance," said Hall.
The weekend's successes keep Smith and Keatings on course for the World Championships, due to be held at the 2012 Olympic venue, the O2 Arena, in the autumn. Smith claimed a bronze in the last World Championships in Stuttgart in 2007, and Keatings made the final.
"We hope they can emulate that, and if they can, there is a chance to go even better than bronze," said Hall.
Smith continues his build-up by travelling to Russia in two weeks to compete in the Moscow Grand Prix, while Keatings will make the trip to Germany for an all-round event. They will join Folwell in August for an intensive training camp in Calgary in Canada where they will put the final touches to their World Championship preparations.