Britain's Whitlock to return to major championships at Europeans

Gymnastics - Artistic - Men's Pommel Horse - Medal Ceremony
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Gymnastics - Artistic - Men's Pommel Horse - Medal Ceremony - Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2021. Gold medallist Max Whitlock of Britain poses with his medal REUTERS/Mike Blake

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - Britain's greatest every gymnast Max Whitlock will return to major competition for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics after being named in the team for the European Championships.

The 30-year-old is a two-time Olympic champion in pommel horse from Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and also won floor gold in Rio but took time out after the Tokyo Games.

Whitlock, who is also a three-time world champion, opened up about mental health issues following Tokyo and admits he thought he was finished with the sport.

"I am really pleased to be selected for the European Championships. For me going through a phase where I really struggled after Tokyo, was a time I learnt a lot about myself," he said in a statement.

"This period of self-reflection and growth led me to return but with a new mindset. I'm more relaxed in training and in competition but equally more motivated to keep developing and progressing. Almost a nothing to lose mindset which can be so powerful in competition."

Whitlock said the European Championships would be an important 'stepping stone' to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

"I'm looking forward to competing on a major stage again, the first time since Tokyo," he said.

The European Championships will be held in Antalya, Turkey from April 11-16.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris

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