Max Whitlock won his third world title on pommel horse and there were first individual global medals for sisters Becky and Ellie Downie at the World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart on Saturday.
Whitlock had to settle for silver in Doha last year but he edged a close competition with a score of 15.500, beating Lee Chih-kai of Chinese Taipei and Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan, who had pipped Whitlock to gold at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships last year.
An early mistake might have cost Whitlock but the greater difficulty of his routine proved crucial to his success.
Whitlock becomes the first British gymnast to win three world titles on the same piece of apparatus – he is also Olympic champion – while McClenaghan is the first Irish gymnast to claim a world medal.
There were also tears for Becky Downie, who thought at the age of 27 that her chance may well have gone.
But Downie, who has recovered from elbow and ankle injuries, produced a brilliant routine on the uneven bars to score 15.000.
For a long time, it looked like that might be enough for gold, but she was eventually pipped by Belgium’s Nina Derwael, who successfully defended her title with a score of 15.233.
Downie had earlier watched her younger sister Ellie take bronze on the vault behind American Simone Biles, who equalled Vitaly Scherbo’s record by winning her 23rd world medal.