Max ready to defend Euro pommel crown

MAX WHITLOCK is ready to defend his European pommel crown – despite a recent brush with glandular fever.

The Great Britain star, 22, has seen his start to the season badly disrupted by the illness but is on the road to recovery heading into the continent’s top event in Montpellier between April 15-19.

The South Essex Gymnastics Club man is part of a team of six who will compete for individual honours in France, where the top gymnasts will bid for the all-around title and apparatus medals.

Max was diagnosed after feeling under the weather at the English and British Championships in March and his coach Scott Hann admits it is something they will have to manage carefully this month.

Scott said: “It is a new situation for us in terms of our preparation with Max heading into the big competitions, but it is a useful learning curve.

“We travel on Sunday and when we get there we will make a decision about what Max will compete on.

“It could be the case that he just does pommel and floor, but we will see.

“The World Championships this year are the big priority for Max because that will set the standard for the Rio Olympics. And being in Glasgow also makes it a bit more special.

“But Max is always competitive and he will want to defend his pommel title in France and give a good account of himself.”

Max (pictured above) saw off the challenge of the London 2012 Olympic pommel champion Krisztián Berki to win gold on the apparatus at the European Championships in Bulgaria last year.