The stirring notes of ‘Flower of Scotland’ rang out around the Hydro Arena as Daniel Keatings produced the performance of his life on Pommel Horse to take Gold in an apparatus final of the highest quality.
“That was just incredible, that was a final that wouldn’t have looked out of place in two years’ time in Rio,” said Daniel’s coach, Paul Hall. “They are three of the World’s best performers on the Pommel Horse but it’s such big risk, all of them are doing routines with immense difficulty and the pressure was on.”
It was indeed a nail-biting affair with Keatings the first of the main contenders to perform, knowing he would be followed by two English competitors with multiple World, Olympic and European medals on this piece of apparatus.
“Daniel was first to kick it off,” continued Hall. “He did his most difficult routine, managed to get through one of the best routines he’s ever done, fantastic score. Then Louis came through, he had to take a risk and do his most difficult routine, got right to e end and had a wobble on the end, so that was pretty tense. Then the pressure was piled on Max Whitlock at the end and he managed to hold it together. It’s one of the best finals I’ve ever seen on pommel horse!”
All-Around champion Whitlock had to settle for Silver and Olympic Silver medallist Louis Smith the Bronze. The result leaves Keatings celebrating becoming Scotland’s most decorated gymnast of all time: “Wow, wow I am really proud to be that,” said Keatings. “You had Louis Smith, who has been putting in amazing results over the past eight years and Max, who is in top form in this competition. All three of us have got the highest start scores in the world, the Gold could have gone to any one of us, but I put in the best routine I could do and glad I came out on top.”
“The crowd! Everyone was singing, I was just smiling and laughing , I was just so happy! I felt so proud on top of that podium it was awesome.”
Dan Purvis finished 5th in the Pommel Horse final, but it was on Rings that he came into his own. He scored 14.766 to take Bronze, his first Individual medal of the Games, behind a Canadian top two lead by Scott Morgan. After disappointment in just missing a medal in yesterday’s all-Around final, he was delighted to make the podium: “Yeah, that is fantastic! Yesterday I was a little bit disappointed but I picked myself up today. To get an individual medal was fantastic and, topping off the team medal, it has been a great start to the Games. “The crowd just got behind us and I wanted to perform for them as much as I did myself. They have been so good for everyone. “I feel really proud to be Scottish and compete for Scotland, My family are here as well, I saw them in the crowd yesterday, that was great.”
In the other Individual Apparatus finals held today, Keatings took 4th on Floor – narrowly missing a medal after a deduction for stepping out of bounds. Emma White, Scotland’s sole female competitor in action in the apparatus finals, finished 8th on Vault. The competition continues with Frank Baines and Adam Cox going in the Men’s Vault, Baines and Purvis in the Parallel Bars, and Keatings and Baines in the High Bar final.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Lee