Keatings eyes more success at Worlds

DANIEL Keatings returns to the gym today determined to build on his groundbreaking displays at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships last weekend. The 20-year-old from Corby, Northamptonshire has October's World Championships in his sights after a history-making weekend at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Keatings, who competed for Scotland at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, is something of a trailblazer in British gymnastics. He won all-around World Championships silver at the O2 Arena in London last October and claimed another first for Great Britain with a major championships gold medal in the pommel horse ahead of Huntingdon club-mate Louis Smith last Sunday.

Keatings said: "It was strange, the world silver medal didn't sink in for a couple of months, but as soon as my name went up on the board (in Birmingham) it sunk in straight away – it was completely different."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Keatings insists he is not becoming accustomed to the success. "No, I wouldn't say so," he added. "It's really nice, but each time I've exceeded more than I went out to do. At the World Championships I was hoping for a top-ten placing and in Birmingham I was hoping to make the final, which is top eight. I beat both of my targets, so it was really good."

Smith and Keatings combined with Sam Hunter, Daniel Purvis and Kristian Thomas in the team event as Britain's men claimed silver on Saturday. That was another first for British gymnastics and came despite errors from Keatings on the pommel horse and parallel bars. Keatings, though, responded on Sunday, taking advantage of a minor blip by Smith to claim his historic gold. "It put a little bit more pressure on me, because I had had the fall I wanted to go out there and prove what I could do and redeem myself from the day before," added Keatings.

With Britain prioritising the World Championships ahead of the Commonwealth Games – the events take place days apart – Keatings and Smith will be eyeing further glory in Rotterdam.

But the attention turns to the women this week, with world champion Beth Tweddle leading Becky Downie, Nicole Hibbert, Niamh Rippin and Danusia Francis into competition at the National Indoor Arena.

Tweddle will be the focus of British expectation and Keatings hopes she can deliver.

"She's got the potential to win, but I'm not going to jinx anything," he said.