• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Gold medal offers Scot a silver lining

WHEN it came to writing his name into the history books it is clear that Dan Keatings wasn't going to settle for just a single page.

Dan Keatings continued his success at the Games with a third gymnastics medal. Picture: Mark Gibson
Dan Keatings continued his success at the Games with a third gymnastics medal. Picture: Mark Gibson

The 24-year-old became Scotland's all-time most successful gymnast in the Commonwealth Games yesterday when he took gold in the pommel horse final at The Hydro in Glasgow. His team-mate Daniel Purvis, meanwhile, was determined not to be left out as he claimed a bronze on rings.

For Keatings it took his medal haul to a gold and two silvers, equalling swimmer Dan Wallace for the most medals won by a single Scot in this Games so far. He also became only the second Scottish man to win individual gymnastics gold at the Games, 12 years after Steve Frew did so in Manchester.

Keatings provided a masterclass in what it takes to perform under pressure as he saw off the challenge of a world-class field which included European pommel horse champion Max Whitlock and Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith. The Scot looked excelled to score 16.058 and secure his place on the top step of the podium. England's Whitlock posted 15.966 for silver, while his compatriot Smith took the bronze with a score of 14.966.

"To be honest my mind was blank," said Keatings when asked what he felt when the No.1 flashed up next to his name on the big screen. "I was just so overjoyed and overwhelmed with the whole experience and atmosphere. I'm sure it will all sink in later but at the moment I'm just ecstatic.

"Max has been winning all of the golds so far so I'm just glad that I've managed to nick one off him. Both of the guys congratulated me at the end and said they were so happy for me.

"There won't be any celebrating yet as I still have the high bar. When I do reflect on this competition I think that's when I will realise just what I've done."

Keatings, who hails from Corby in Northamptonshire, competes for the host nation on account of a Scottish father. He missed out on being part of the bronze-medal-winning Team GB quintet at London 2012 through injury but two years on these Games have certainly proved cathartic.

Paul Hall, his coach, paid tribute to the gymnast for displaying nerves of steel in front of the home crowd. "That was a final that wouldn't be out of place in two years' time [at the Olympics] in Rio," he said. "They are three of the world's best performers on the pommel horse. There was such a big risk. All of them were doing routines of immense difficulty. The pressure was on."

Fellow Scot Purvis finished his day with bronze, following the strong Canadian duo of Scott Morgan and Kevin Lytwyn on to the podium. Buoyed by the success of Keatings, the 23-year-old was first up on rings and pulled off a solid routine to score 14.766. Morgan posted 15.100 and Lytwyn 14.800.

"Watching Dan win his gold medal was inspiring," said Purvis. "He's had a great Games. To keep that buzz going in my final I'm really happy.

"I was pretty tired but I had some caffeine and I was well up for it. I thought I had a good chance of being among the medals in the rings and the crowd gave me so much energy by getting behind me. I wanted to do my best for them and they have lifted me so much."

Until Glasgow, Scotland had won only three artistic gymnastics medals at the Games: gold for Frew on rings and bronze on vault for Barry Collie in 2002 and high bar bronze for Adam Cox four years later. That tally now stands at seven.

There will be six more chances to win medals for the Scots today when Keatings tackles the high bar, Purvis the parallel bars, Frank Baines the vault, parallel bars and high bar and Cox the vault.

Elsewhere in the competition, England's Whitlock displayed the pedigree which has allowed him to win two gold medals already as he added a third on floor with 15.533. Morgan from Canada was second with 15.133 and New Zealand's David Bishop third on 14.550.

Keatings finished fourth after a foot out of bounds on one of his big tumbling passes led to a 0.1 penalty, causing him to miss out on a bronze by 0.017. With a gold medal now around his own neck, it is unlikely that the Scot will have lost any sleep when his head hit the pillow last night.

Scotland's Emma White was eighth on vault, her last performance at top-level competition as she confirmed her retirement from the sport. The reigning Scottish all-around champion competed at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, but the Dunfermline-born gymnast's dreams ended in heartbreak in Delhi four years ago after a knee injury in training forced her to fly home for surgery before the competition began.

There might not have been a medal for White in the end, but bowing out in front of an adoring home crowd was the storybook ending which the 24-year-old had longed for. "I just wanted to do the best I could and enjoy myself," she said. "That was the vault I injured myself on [in Delhi] so I had a point to prove to myself. I will celebrate with a quiet drink at home."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

251647