Antwerp, Oct 5, 2013: Following the All-around Finals on Thursday, the 44th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships continued on Saturday with the first day of Apparatus Finals in Antwerp (BEL). It was time to shine for the event specialists on Men’s Floor, Pommel Horse and Still Rings as well as on Women’s Vault and Uneven Bars.
Eight nations representing three continents enjoyed a share of the medals on the first day of the Apparatus Finals. Japan won two Golds and one Bronze, the USA one Gold, three Silvers and one Bronze, and Russia one Silver and one Bronze. China and Brazil took one Gold each, Great Britain and Mexico one Silver, and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea one Bronze.
The competition started with the newly crowned World All-around Champion Kohei Uchimura (JPN) opening the men’s Floor final. Uchimura, who is also the defending World Champion and London 2012 Olympic Silver medallist on this apparatus, had qualified in third place and justified this ranking in the final, receiving the highest execution score (9.100).
The 2012 Olympic and 2011 World finalist Jacob Dalton (USA) upped his difficulty in the final (6.700) and his clean and powerful routine was rewarded with a 15.600 total that won him the Silver.
Brazil’s Diego Hypolito, a former World Champion, had qualified in second place. In the final, however, the 27-year-old Floor specialist had to accept deductions on execution for his difficult routine.
But the absolute highlight of this final was the performance of 17-year-old Kenzo Shirai (JPN), whose routine was peppered with numerous twists. It ended with a perfectly landed quadruple twist, the element that was newly introduced to the Code of Points and named after Shirai. This, by far the most difficult routine (7.400), secured Shirai the World title at his first World Championships.
GOLD – SHIRAI Kenzo JPN – 16.000
SILVER – DALTON Jacob USA – 15.600
BRONZE – UCHIMURA Kohei JPN – 15.500
4 PURVIS Daniel GBR – 15.400
5 HYPOLITO Diego BRA – 15.366
5 LEGENDRE Steven USA – 15.366
7 HAMBUECHEN Fabian GER – 15.300
8 MORGAN Scott CAN – 14.833
Probably the event with the highest profile participants of the day, the women’s Vault final featured four Olympic and World medallists. It began with 2011 World finalist Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland, who upgraded her second vault from qualifications and performed two clean vaults. Seemingly on medal course, the 19-year-old stayed in the lead all the way until the last three competitors outscored her and she finished fourth.
Defending World Champion and London 2012 Olympic Silver medallist McKayla Maroney (USA) and her compatriot Simone Biles, the new World All-around Champion, both showed two extremely clean vaults to take Gold and Silver respectively.
The 2008 Olympic Champion in this event, Hong Un Jong (PRK), took big steps on landing for both of her vaults which resulted in deductions on execution. She won the Bronze.
The phenomenal 38-year-old Oksana Chusovitina (UZB), a record five-time Olympian, continues to impress by making the finals at major events, and she came fourth in Antwerp.
The 2011 World Bronze medallist, Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Vietnam, stepped over the line on her first vault and fell on her second. She finished sixth in front of Yamilet Pena Abreu (DOM), who fell on both vaults and Chantysha Netteb of the Netherlands who injured herself on her first vault.
GOLD – MARONEY McKayla USA 15.724
SILVER – BILES Simone USA 15.595
BRONZE – HONG UnJong PRK 15.483
4 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 15.233
5 CHUSOVITINA Oksana UZB 14.583
6 PHAN Thi Ha Thanh VIE 14.299
7 PENA ABREU Yamilet DOM 13.966
8 NETTEB Chantysha NED 6.950
After Pommel Horse favourites such as reigning Olympic Champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary and European Champion Daniel Keatings of Great Britain failed to qualify, this final was wide open.
Top qualifier Alberto Busnari, the Italian veteran who turned 35 on Friday, showed an equally strong performance in the final, boasting the second most difficult routine in the field after Olympic Bronze medallist Max Whitlock (GBR). However, he tied with 2009 World Champion Zhang Hongtao (CHN) this time around, and both were outscored by .033 points by Whitlock and Daniel Corral Barron of Mexico, who shared the Silver medal for second place.
The surprise winner of the event was Kohei Kameyama of Japan, who had only qualified in eighth place but upped his difficulty value by .3 in the final which was enough to claim the title.
Multiple World medallist Prashanth Sellathurai of Australia fell off the Pommel Horse and finished last.
GOLD – KAMEYAMA Kohei JPN 15.833
SILVER (tie) – WHITLOCK Max GBR 15.633
SILVER (tie) – CORRALBARRON Daniel MEX 15.633
4 (tie) ZHANG Hongtao CHN 15.600
4 (tie) BUSNARI Alberto ITA 15.600
6 SELIGMAN Robert CRO 15.433
7 PETROV Matvei RUS 15.416
8 SELLATHURAI Prashanth AUS 14.033
Yao Jinnan of China, the top qualifier and favourite for the Uneven Bars title, was left disappointed. The London 2012 Olympic finalist, who performed the most difficult Uneven Bars routine of these championships, fell on her Mo salto and finished sixth.
Yao’s compatriot Huang Huidan repeated her solid performance from the preliminaries to take the title. The 17-year-old prevailed over Kyla Ross (USA) and reigning Olympic Champion Aliya Mustafina (RUS), who won Silver and Bronze respectively.
The impressive looking Rebecca Downie of Great Britain suffered a fall at the end of her routine, which put her at the bottom of the table behind her team-mate Ruby Harrold.
GOLD – HUANG Huidan CHN 15.400
SILVER – ROSS Kyla USA 15.266
BRONZE – MUSTAFINA Aliya RUS 15.033
4 BILES Simone USA 14.716
5 SCHEDER Sophie GER 14.683
6 YAO Jinnan CHN 14.633
7 HARROLD Ruby GBR 14.333
8 DOWNIE Rebecca GBR 13.800
Reigning Olympic Champion Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti of Brazil triumphed over a strong field on Still Rings. The 23-year-old played safe by reducing his difficulty value by .1 compared to the qualifications and gaining almost .2 points in execution.
Russia’s Aleksandr Balandin had a different strategy. He upped his difficulty in the final by .3 to perform the most difficult routine of the event, tied with Lambertus van Gelder (NED) and Danny Pinheiro Rodrigues (FRA). The London Olympic finalist outscored the latter pair in execution to finish second and win his first World medal.
The 25-year-old Brandon Wynn (USA) hit his routine confidently and received the hearty congratulations of his coach, who filed an inquiry on Wynn’s difficulty score when it came up on the scoreboard. The inquiry was rejected by the jury, but Wynn’s score was high enough to win him the Bronze.
Top qualifier Liu Yang lost .2 points on execution compared to the preliminaries and finished fourth.
GOLD – NABARRETE ZANETTI Arthur BRA 15.800
SILVER – BALANDIN Aleksandr RUS 15.733
BRONZE – WYNN Brandon USA 15.666
4 LIU Yang CHN 6.800 8.833 15.633
5 van GELDER Lambertus NED 6.900 8.633 15.533
6 AITSAID Samir FRA 6.800 8.700 15.500
7 YAMAMURO Koji JPN 6.800 8.633 15.433
8 PINHEIRO RODRIGUES Danny FRA 6.900 7.666 14.566
The event concludes on Sunday with the second day of Men’s and Women’s Apparatus Finals. —- FIG