Smith ‘world class’ in Tokyo but Keatings slips up

HUNTINGDON gymnast Louis Smith moved a step closer to his Olympic dream this week after qualifying for the final on Pommel Horse at the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.

The Huntingdon gymnast, described by his coach paul hall as “world class” held his nerve to perform the most difficult exercise of the competition to gain the second highest score behind arch rival Kristian Berki of Hungary.

However, there was disappointment for Smith’s fellow Huntingdon gymnast Daniel Keatings, who failed to build on his recent impressive performances.

Smith now has a few days to prepare for the final on Saturday where he will attempt to gain a third successive World medal and secure selection for London next summer.

Smith’s superb performance made up for a below par team effort which saw the Great Britain men’s team finish only 10th in a field of 24 nations.

Keatings worked well over three apparatus, but mistakes on the Pommel Horse, High Bar, and Parallel Bars meant no qualification for the team, or all-round finals.

The GB men must now attend the Olympic Test event at the O2 Arena in January where the goal will be to finish as one of the top four nations in order to ensure five places at the London 2012 Olympics.

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Coach Paul Hall: ‘While the Team result was disappointing for us it is important to realise that we have a second chance in January to do what could have been done in Japan this week.

“I am confident we will succeed and also delighted that Louis has once again proved what a world class gymnast he really is.

“Let’s now hope for a medal this weekend.”

Back at home, Jessica Stirley from St Ives traveled to Ipswich on Sunday for the regional Level 2 finals.

The Huntingdon Gymnastics Club member showed a confident and determined performance and returned home with the 14+ years overall trophy.

She also won gold for a ‘sky high’ vault and a two sliver medals, one for her Beam and one for floor.

Huntingdon Gymnastics coach Paul Hall is a regular blogger on the Hunts Post website.