Joe Fraser dedicates Commonwealth victory to Max Whitlock after claiming second medal of the Games

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Commonwealth Games - Gymnastics - Men's Rings - Final - Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - August 1, 2022 England's Joe Fraser reacts during the final REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Commonwealth Games - Gymnastics - Men's Rings - Final - Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - August 1, 2022 England's Joe Fraser reacts during the final REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

By James Toney in Birmingham

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’ pommel horse but lost four years ago on the Gold Coast to Northern Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan.

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

And he claims 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, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

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

“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.”

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.

“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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