ANTWERP (BEL), Oct 6, 2013: The 44th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships concluded on Sunday with the second day of Apparatus Finals at the sold-out Antwerps Sportpaleis.
Kohei Uchimura added two more medals during Sunday’s Apparatus finals, helping Japan to come out on top of the overall medal table in Antwerp with a total of four Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals. The USA came second (three Gold, six Silver, three Bronze) followed by China with two Gold medals.
The winners of the women’s and men’s All-around, Simone Biles and Kohei Uchimura, also became the most decorated gymnasts of the championships. Uchimura collected two Gold and two Bronze medals, while Biles’s medal set is complete with two Gold, a Silver and a Bronze medal. Other multi-medallists are Russia’s Aliya Mustafina (one Gold, two Bronze), Kyla Ross (USA) with three Silver medals, and Fabian Hambuechen (GER) with a Silver and a Bronze medal.
Victories for Yang Hak Seon (KOR), Epke Zonderland (NED) and Mustafina meant three more London 2012 Olympic Champions took World titles on Sunday, after Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti (BRA) prevailed on Rings on Saturday. While Yang and Zonderland won on their speciality apparatuses, Vault and Horizontal Bar respectively, Olympic Uneven Bars Champion Mustafina took the World title on Balance Beam.
The competition day started with the men’s Vault final that was highlighted by the performance of reigning Olympic and defending World Champion Yang Hak Seon of Korea. The 20-year-old landed his new element that has been evaluated with a 6.400 difficulty score. Excelling with clean execution of both vaults as well, Yang secured the Gold.
Boasting the highest execution score for his first vault (9.500), Kristian Thomas (GBR) made up for the lower difficulty of his second vault and outscored Japan’s Kenzo Shirai for the Bronze medal. The latter stepped out of bounds at the landing of his newly submitted element that was added to the Code of Points under his name and that of Kim Hee Hoon (KOR), who performed the same element in Antwerp.
The surprise of this final came in the person of Steven Legendre (USA), who qualified in last place but impressed with clean execution and stuck landings of both vaults to take the Silver.
GOLD – YANG Hak Seon KOR 15.533
SILVER – LEGENDRE Steven USA 15.249
BRONZE – THOMAS Kristian GBR 15.233
4 SHIRAI Kenzo JPN 15.133
5 SASAKI JUNIOR Sergio BRA 15.099
6 HYPOLITO Diego BRA 15.049
7 BERBECAR Marius Daniel ROU 14.850
8 VERNIAIEV Oleg UKR 14.449
In an exciting final, 2010 World finalist Aliya Mustafina (RUS), who qualified in last position, was first up on Balance Beam. Her beautiful, cleanly executed routine set the bar for this final (14.900) and remained unbeaten until the end, while an inquiry on her difficulty score was rejected.
With great confidence, Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito performed solid routines, but low difficulty tariffs meant they were left out of the medal ranks in fourth and fifth place.
Top qualifier Larisa Iordache (ROU) was left disappointed with a fall that resulted in seventh place and young Anna Rodionova (RUS) also came off the apparatus, finishing last. The talented Shang Chunsong of China, who qualified in second place, fell back to sixth rank in the final with a rather wobbly routine.
Kyla Ross (USA) impressed with a stunning and well-executed set that placed her second with her team-mate Biles coming third. Inquiries were accepted for the difficulty scores of both of the Americans.
GOLD – MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 14.900
SILVER – ROSS Kyla USA 14.833
BRONZE – BILES Simone USA 14.333
4 FERRARI Vanessa ITA 14.300
5 FERLITO Carlotta ITA 14.283
6 SHANG Chunsong CHN 14.133
7 IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 13.933
8 RODIONOVA Anna RUS 13.100
The Parallel Bars final featured nine instead of eight participants, due to a tie in both execution and difficulty values of Uchimura’s and Zonderland’s routines in the last qualifying position.
Performing a routine that was hard to beat, 18-year-old Lin Chaopan (CHN) took an early lead in this final. He was soon joined on top by 2010 World Bronze medallist Uchimura, who did not show all his difficulty during qualification and was able to better the score of his fluid routine by nearly .3 points. With equal marks, Lin and Uchimura shared first place and the Gold.
The local crowd vocally supported Zonderland from the neighbouring Netherlands, who hit his interesting routine nicely. The 2009 World finalist finished fifth.
It was not a good day for top qualifiers Vasileios Tsolakidis (GRE) and Anton Fokin (UZB). They both came off the apparatus after making major mistakes and stopped their routines.
John Orozco (USA), who qualified in only eighth place, then saw his opportunity. He hit his routine and the .1 he gained in execution compared to the preliminaries won him the Bronze narrowly over You Hao (CHN).
GOLD (tie) – LIN Chaopan CHN 15.666
GOLD (tie) – UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 15.666
BRONZE – OROZCO John USA 6.800 8.733 15.533
4 YOU Hao CHN 15.500
5 ZONDERLAND Epke NED 15.300
6 BERBECAR Marius Daniel ROU 15.000
7 WYNN Brandon USA 14.266
8 TSOLAKIDIS Vasileios GRE 13.433
9 FOKIN Anton UZB 12.466
Women’s Floor Exercise
Newly crowned World All-around Champion Biles was too strong to be beaten by anyone on Floor at these championships. With 15.000 points the springy teenager ranked clearly above the field at her fifth final in Antwerp.
Redemption came for Ferrari and Iordache in this final. Ferrari will be remembered for her heartbreaking fourth place on Floor at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she tied with Bronze medallist Mustafina. Here, having narrowly missed out on a medal on Beam, she qualified in fourth place and showed nerves of steel to produce a Silver medal winning routine in the final.
Iordache, the 2013 European Silver medallist and 2012 European Champion on Floor who had hoped for a medal on Beam earlier, took her second chance of the day. With some fantastic tumbling and dancing, she finished in third place.
Highly competitive Mai Murakami of Japan shone brightly on her much-awaited World senior debut. The spectators visibly enjoyed the entertaining choreography that earned her fourth place at her first World Championships. We will certainly see more of this gymnast with great potential in the future.
Nineteen-year-old Giulia Steingruber (SUI), who has turned from a Vault specialist into a serious All-around contender, bettered her qualifying score, and finished on rank five.
If former Olympic Champion Sandra Izbasa (ROU), who qualified in second place, had medal hopes in this final, they vanished, when she fell on her last pass.
Elegant Kyla Ross (USA) performed well in her fourth final, where she tied with Steingruber.
Canada’s Elsabeth Black had to accept a deduction for stepping out of bounds and finished last.
GOLD – BILES Simone USA 15.000
SILVER – FERRARI Vanessa ITA 14.633
BRONZE – IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 14.600
4 MURAKAMI Mai JPN 14.466
5 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 14.333
5 ROSS Kyla USA 14.333
7 IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU 13.733
8 BLACK Elsabeth CAN 13.566
Both Samuel Mikulak (USA) and Uchimura opened the Horizontal Bar final with routines of a 6.900 difficulty value, the latter prevailing with the highest execution score of the event (8.733). In the end, his routine won Uchimura the Bronze, repeating his ranking at his home championships in 2011 in Tokyo.
The friendly rivalry between reigning Olympic Champion Zonderland and runner-up Hambuechen continued in Antwerp and it came down to the two friends to battle it out for the World title. Zonderland was up first and he wowed the crowd with a spectacular routine that he upped for the final by .6 in difficulty for a huge 7.700 value. His risky routine cost him deductions in execution, but his 16.000 remained unbeaten and the 27-year-old took his first World title.
Hambuechen produced an equally impressive routine that was cleanly executed, but with .3 less difficulty than Zonderland, the 2007 World Champion stayed in second place to take the Silver.
Colombia’s Jossimar Calvo Moreno upped his score in the final to take a creditable fifth place.
GOLD – ZONDERLAND Epke NED 7.700 8.300 16.000
SILVER – HAMBUECHEN Fabian GER 7.400 8.533 15.933
BRONZE – UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 6.900 8.733 15.633
4 MIKULAK Samuel USA 6.900 8.666 15.566
5 CALVO MORENO Jossimar Orlando COL 7.200 8.266 15.466
6 BRETSCHNEIDER Andreas GER 6.900 8.258 15.158
7 KATO Ryohei JPN 6.400 8.625 15.025
8 LIN Chaopan CHN 6.900 8.000 14.900. —- FIG