Britain's Daniel Keatings on track for 2011 return
Top GB gymnasts 'gutted' to miss Commonwealths
By Ollie Williams
European gymnastics champion Daniel Keatings has told BBC Sport he expects to return to action in early 2011.
Keatings, 20, suffered serious ligament damage to his knee in training just days after winning pommel horse gold at the European Championships in April.
"I've had to undergo a rehabilitation programme so I'm able to control the knee again," said Keatings.
"I'm probably about halfway there. There's no set time, but I should be back by the beginning of next year."
Keatings, who outshone Huntingdon club team-mate Louis Smith to win his European pommel horse title, will be sorely missed by the British men's team preparing to compete at October's World Championships in Rotterdam.
I'm disappointed we can't go to Delhi, but I understand the World Championships are our priority
But the world silver medallist is keen not to rush his return to action.
"I've done a lot of hard work and there's a big improvement to me strength-wise and stability-wise, but there's still a long way to go to get full control of my knee and the full strength back," he said.
"I'm going to try to get back as quickly as possible while being really safe, so I don't come back too quickly and not be ready."
Meanwhile, fellow British stars Beth Tweddle and Smith have spoken of their disappointment at being forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Gymnastics will be one of the major Commonwealth events, with England, Scotland and Wales sending full teams.
But many of the sport's finest talents have not made the trip in order to focus on preparations for the World Championships - which take place one week after events in Delhi come to a close.
"It's really unfortunate but our funding all comes from our World Championship results, not the Commonwealths," explained Tweddle, 25, who won European titles on the floor and uneven bars in Birmingham earlier this year.
"The Commonwealths is an excellent competition to be a part of but, when it reflects back to funding, it has no significance.
"I'm disappointed we can't go, but I totally understand the decision that World Championships are our priority."
Smith, who won Olympic bronze on the pommel horse at Beijing, added: "This is qualifying for the next World Championships, which [in turn] is qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics, so we want to post the best team possible for the Worlds.
"Considering Commonwealths is just a week or so before the World Championships, [the British team] didn't want to take any risks of getting injured, ill, or jet-lagged. They want to focus on sending the best team they could."
Gymnastics star Keatings 'to return in 2011'
But Tweddle believes the younger, less-experienced gymnasts being sent to represent the Home Nations in Delhi have been afforded a valuable opportunity by the clash of the two events in the sport's calendar.
"In a way it's got a silver lining," she said. "The junior part of the senior team can get experience.
"They are maybe not quite ready for this World Championships but they could be the stars of 2012."
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