Fraser lifts lid on Whitlock’s special response to brilliant Commonwealth gold

Hometown hero Fraser shocked pre-event favourite Rhys McClenaghan to grab pommel horse gold in Birmingham
Joe Fraser competes on the pommel horse during the 2022 Gymnastics British Championships Joe Fraser competes on the pommel horse during the 2022 Gymnastics British Championships
Joe Fraser competes on the pommel horse during the 2022 Gymnastics British Championships

Joe Fraser dedicated his latest medal to double Olympic champion Max Whitlock as he edged closer to Commonwealth Games history.

Whitlock has long dominated gymnastics’s pommel horse but lost four years ago on the Gold Coast to Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan.

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In the absence of Tokyo star Whitlock, McClenaghan started favourite to defend that title but Birmingham’s Fraser had other ideas.

And he claiming his second medal of the Games to add to his podium topping performance in the team event last week.

More success in the high bar and parallel bars finals on Tuesday and he could become the first English men’s gymnast to win four golds at the same Games - and the first athlete since shooter Max Gault in 1998.

“That medal was especially for Max,” said Fraser.

“A routine in a pommel final is difficult in itself so I’m over the moon to walk away as the champion. Max just sent me a message to say ‘OMG you legend!’.

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“I’m trying not to think about the pressure, I’m trying to just enjoy my moments competing.

“We don’t get many opportunities on big stages so being out there in front of a home crowd in Birmingham, it’s something I may never get to do again.

“I was soaking up every minute out there and the crowd we’re behind me every step of the way.

“Everyone is getting behind us, it’s amazing to see. I’m hoping it will inspire the city and the country to get into different sports like gymnastics and try and build up more of a following for the sport.”

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Fraser’s preparations for his home Games couldn’t have gone any worse - a ruptured appendix and fractured foot putting his participation in doubt.

Before the Games began he tweeted how the pain in his foot was unbearable but since the Games began, things couldn’t have gone any better.

“The foot was ok, I’m doing everything I can to manage it as best I can and I can’t thank the medical teams enough,” he added.

“Training has been good, the competition has been good, I’m really happy with how me and my support team are looking after myself.

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“We’re taking every day as it comes. There is a lot to do before we can be talking about four golds medal and history.

“For now, I’m just going to enjoy what I’ve done today and then worry about what’s next.”

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