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Sydney University gymnast Prashanth Sellathurai bravely fought on to claim a bronze medal for Australia at the Artistic Gymnastic World Championships in the Netherlands yesterday.

Suffering from a hand injury that he picked up during qualifying, the Sydney University Elite Athlete Program member of five years still managed the same third-place result on the pommel horse as he did during the 2009 World Titles in London.

At the recent Commonwealth Games on Delhi, Sellathurai, nicknamed by many as the “Prince of the Pommel”, won gold in the same event.

Despite managing a score of 15.566 at the World Championships, Sellathurai finished behind long-time Hungarian rival Krisztian Berki with 15.833.  Britain’s Louis Smith claimed silver with a score of 15.733.

Notwithstanding his fine result in the Netherlands, Sellathurai remains ambitious in his attempts to win an elusive world title.

“It’s always nice to medal at the world championships,” he said. “I’m very grateful as it could have very easily not happened. It would be a dream to get a world title one day, and hopefully the day is not too far off.”

Australian coach Songliang Xiong was full of praise for the brave gymnast. ”The first thing I was really happy with was Prashanth’s mental toughness,” Xiong said. “After the qualification he had a hand injury, and to overcome that mentally, I was really happy.

“The top gymnasts in the pommel horse final compete in their routines not based on technique but based on mental ability. Hopefully, next year we can work on getting his start score higher so we can challenge the top pommel horse athletes.”

Sellathurai is in his second year of a Bachelor of Applied Science (MRS) Diagnostic Radiography degree at Sydney University, having previously studied a Bachelor of Health Sciences.

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