Leeds gymnast Nile Wilson excels in World Championship final

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Nile Wilson completed his remarkable recovery from a career-threatening ankle injury by finishing sixth in the men’s all-around final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Montreal.

The 21-year-old improved on all but one of his six qualifying scores to finish with a total of 85.332, just over a point short of the podium but enough to announce his arrival among the world’s very best all-around athletes.

In the absence of the injured six-times champion Kohei Uchimura, China’s Xiao Ruoteng seized gold with 86.933, ahead of compatriot Lin Chaopan with Japan’s Kenzo Shirai taking bronze.

Wilson told Press Association Sport: “Eight months ago I was sitting on my sofa back home and I was in a very bad place. Fast forward to today and I went out and committed everything and I’m delighted with the result.

“I thrive in that sort of environment. After what happened with my ankle I told myself I was going to go high-risk and leave everything out there, and I didn’t care if I made a mistake as long as I committed to it 100%.”

Beside a minor step-out on his vault, Wilson stayed in touch with the leaders throughout the six rotations, saving his best for his favourite high bar, in which he rose to the occasion just as he had done when he claimed bronze in Rio last year.

Wilson’s high bar score of 14.433 matched the leading qualifiers for the individual final, a small source of frustration for Wilson who had finished qualifying in ninth place, just one short of a place in the individual apparatus final.

After completing his final with a bullish floor routine, Wilson’s pleasure was evident, as he punched the air and waved to his raucous section of friends and family in the cavernous Olympic Stadium.

He added: “I knew if I was steady round the early rotations I could bump up my scores on the last two, the high bar and the floor. I loved every minute - I’m an emotional guy and after what happened to my ankle it meant a lot.”

Team-mate and fellow Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler was due to contest the women’s all-around final later on Friday, having qualified in 13th place.

Max Whitlock is the big favourite to retain his world pommel title on Sunday, while Courtney Tulloch is in the rings final and Claudia Fragpane rounds off the competition on Sunday in the women’s floor.