43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, Apparatus Finals. CIII–Day 1

TOKYO (JPN), FIG Office, October 15, 2011: For some of this weekend’s Apparatus finalists competing at the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, there is more at stake than the honour of a World medal.

They are fighting for a ticket to the 2012 Olympic Games. Gymnasts whose countries do not qualify a full team for London have the chance of qualifying for an Olympic berth through the event Finals. If they meet the minimum requirements, Saturday’s and Sunday’s medallists are part of the Games.

This fact added extra excitement to tonight’s competition, Day 1 of the Apparatus Finals with the men competing on the Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse and Still Rings and the women displaying their skills on the Vault and Uneven Bars.

Men’s Floor Exercise

Romania’s Marian Dragulescu had withdrawn from the competition and was replaced by the first reserve gymnast, Jacob Dalton (USA), and with 2010 World Champion Eleftherios Kosmidis (GRE) having failed to qualify the Men’s Floor title was up for grabs.

In a tough competition with not a single fall, an impressive lineup including Olympic Champion Zou Kai (CHN), double World Champion Diego Hypolito (BRA) and World medallists Alexander Shatilov (ISR) and Kohei Uchimura (JPN) wowed the crowd at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium last night. Zou, who had performed a monumental Floor routine during the Team competition, was the favourite and his 15.500, boasting the highest difficulty score of the Final, came close to his score on Wednesday.

Uchimura, however, stood out with a flawless execution, and when his difficulty score was corrected after an inquiry by his coaches he came out on top, thus adding another Gold to his tally after having swept the All-around Final on Friday. Zou had to settle for Silver, and Hypolito and Shatilov tied for third place with 15.466 points.

Gold UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 15.633
Silver ZOU Kai CHN 15.500
Bronze HYPOLITO Diego BRA 15.466
Bronze SHATILOV Alexander ISR 15.466

5 LEGENDRE Steven USA 15.400
6 KOCZI Flavius ROU 15.333
6 GONZALEZ SEPULVEDA Enrique Tomas CHI 15.333
8 DALTON Jacob USA 15.133

Women’s Vault

Vault is an event in which countries with less of a gymnastics tradition have more of a chance to reach the Final and 2011 was no exception. Latin America was represented by Mexico’s Alexa Moreno, Brazil’s Jade Fernandes and Yamilet Pena from the Dominican Republic, while Vietnam qualified Thi Ha Thanh Phan – a fantastic array of countries! And even though this Final was missing defending champion Alicia Sacramone, who injured herself in training before the Championships, and Olympian Ariella Kaeslin (SUI) who retired this summer, the event boasted some top gymnasts.

Favourite McKayla Maroney improved on her qualifying performance and secured a third straight World Vault title for the USA following Kayla Williams in 2009 and Sacramone. At the age of 36, Beijing runner-up Oksana Chusovitina (GER) stunned the crowd and vaulted again to Silver, while Phan, who upped her difficulty score from qualification, made her home country proud by winning a first-ever World medal for Vietnam. She cried tears of joy.

Gold MARONEY McKayla USA 15.300
Silver CHUSOVITINA Oksana GER 14.733
Bronze PHAN THI HA Thanh VIE 14.666

5 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 14.450
6 NABIEVA Tatiana RUS 14.349
7 MORENO MEDINA Alexa Citlali MEX 14.216
8 PENA ABREU Yamilet DOM 6.950

Pommel Horse

The Pommel Horse Final was punctuated by falls for four competitors, Teng Haibin (CHN), Saso Bertoncelj (SLO), Prashanth Sellathurai (AUS) and Kohei Uchimura (JPN), all of whom exited the medal race.

Hungary’s All-arounder Vid Hidvegi put on a clean and solid display and, with World Silver and Olympic Bronze medallist Louis Smith (GBR) struggling with his dismount, it seemed for a while that Hidvegi would garner the Bronze. However, Smith’s higher difficulty score placed him slightly ahead of Hidvegi to win him a fortuitous Bronze.

France’s Cyril Tommasone impressed with his quick and elegant swing, working nicely through his routine and sticking his dismount. Silver for him. King of the Pommel Horse, defending World Champion Kristzian Berki of Hungary, boasted the highest execution score in tonight’s Final (9.133), topping his qualifying total and deservedly taking this year’s title.

Gold BERKI Krisztian HUN 15.833
Silver TOMMASONE Cyril FRA 15.266
Bronze SMITH Louis GBR 15.066

4 HIDVEGI Vid HUN 15.000
5 UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 14.533
6 SELLATHURAI Prashanth AUS 14.333
7 BERTONCELJ Saso SLO 14.266
7 TENG Haibin CHN 14.266

Uneven Bars

Without 2010 World Champion Beth Tweddle (GBR) and Olympic Champion He Kexin (CHN), who failed to qualify, the clear favourite in the Uneven Bars Final was Victoria Komova of Russia, who had been impeccable thus far in this event in Tokyo. The leading qualifier, she continued to impress, scoring 15.500 and securing the title.

While Youna Dufournet of France, who qualified second, fell and continued to struggle when she carried on, and Koko Tsurumi (JPN) suffered from rhythm breaks, Tatiana Nabieva (RUS) hit her routine. Having upped her qualifying score, she joined her compatriot on the podium to take the Silver. China’s Huang Qiushuang took the Bronze.

Gold KOMOVA Victoria RUS 15.500
Silver NABIEVA Tatiana RUS 15.000
Bronze HUANG Qiushuang CHN 14.833

4 WIEBER Jordyn USA 14.500
5 DOUGLAS Gabrielle USA 14.200
5 TERAMOTO Asuka JPN 14.200
7 TSURUMI Koko JPN 14.066
8 DUFOURNET Youna FRA 12.641

Still Rings

First up on Rings last night, Kohei Uchimura showed understandable signs of exhaustion less than 24 hours after having secured the All-around title. Having fallen off the Pommel Horse and with a big dip in form on the Rings, despite smiling throughout the champion proved to be human after all. Jonathan Horton (USA) also struggled in this event and Italy’s veteran Matteo Morandi looked a bit shaky on his handstand. Lambertus van Gelder (NED), who was back after having been suspended by his team at the 2010 Rotterdam Worlds, looked strong but failed to stick his landing. Venezuela’s Regulo Carmona also missed his dismount.

A solid performance by Koji Yamamuro (JPN) secured him the Bronze and Arthur Nabarrete of Brazil displayed all his strength, making his home country proud. Nabarrete, who seems to be able to hold his positions for ever, boasted an execution score of 9.100, adding up to a 15.600 total that won him the Bronze and the night’s celebrations.

The Rings Final was Chen Yibing’s (CHN) to lose. The multiple World Champion had qualified in first position and looked as solid as ever in the Team Final when he helped China to win the title. With incredible rhythm and execution, Chen wowed the spectators one more time last night, nailing his massive routine and taking away another title.

Gold CHEN Yibing CHN 15.800
Silber NABARRETE ZANETTI Arthur BRA 15.600
Bronze YAMAMURO Koji JPN 15.500

4 MORANDI Matteo ITA 15.200
5 van GELDER Lambertus NED 14.666
6 UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 14.633
7 HORTON Jonathan USA 14.300
8 CARMONA Regulo VEN 14.266

The Championships continue and conclude with the second day of Apparatus Finals on Sunday.

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