HUNGARY’S 2012 Olympic champion Krisztian Berki, who won the men’s pommel horse at the FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup for men and women in Doha last week, did not become a gymnast by choice. Rather, destiny played its role in shaping him into a world-class athlete.

Berki, one of the top exponents in pommel horse, had a difficulty level ‘E’ in the apparatus named after him by the international gymnastics federation (FIG) last year. 

“When I was just four years old, I used to play at the backyard of our house. One of our neighbours was a trainer and he used to watch me almost every day. He felt I had talent and some kind of positive energy to become a good gymnast. My journey started from that day onwards,” Berki told Doha Stadium Plus.

The three-time world champion, who was competing in Doha for the first time after 2013 due to his Olympic preparations, had no problem in winning gold at the four-day event in Aspire Dome.

Asked why Berki picked pommel horse, he said, “I had an ankle injury early in my career which made landing difficult on other apparatus. Since then, I had opted for it.”

The 31-year-old tallied 14.933 points followed by China’s Xiao Routeng (14.800) and Armenia’s Artur Davytan (14.066). After missing the Rio Games due to a shoulder injury, he was back with a bang this year and won gold at the World Cup’s opening leg in Melbourne, Australia, last month. 

“I was looking forward to defend the title at the Rio Games, but the shoulder injury robbed me of the opportunity. I’m happy to have won in Doha too. Every gold medal is important for me,” added the six-time European champion.

Berki had pipped Great Britain’s Louis Smith on a higher execution score after both collected 16.066 at the 2012 London Olympics. 

“I want to focus on next month’s European Championships and 2020 Tokyo Games as well,” said Berki, who was twice elected as ‘Sportsman of the Year’ in his country. 

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