EXCITING SHOWDOWN AT TOKYO WORLDS, Apparatus Finals Day 2 (CIII)

TOKYO (JPN), FIG Office, October 16, 2011: Spectators at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium today saw the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships conclude with the second day of Apparatus Finals. Five exciting events were on the programme: the men on Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar, and the women on Beam and Floor (EXCITING SHOWDOWN TOKYO WORLDS).

The local crowd had plenty to whet their appetite with four Japanese competitors lining up today: Makoto Okiguchi on Vault, Kazuhito Tanaka on Parallel Bars, Yusuke Tanaka on Horizontal Bar and Kohei Uchimura in the latter two events.

Men’s Vault

Defending World Champion Thomas Bouhail of France opened this Final with a huge vault, but although his execution score of 9.666 would not be beaten, he took a few big steps when landing on his second vault, which set him back. His average of 16.187 put him in fourth place in the end, leaving him out of the medals.

Having qualified in fifth, 2010 World runner-up Anton Golotsutskov (RUS) was able to better that performance tonight, impressing with his clean execution and stuck landings. His score of 16.366 won him another Silver. Even though he stepped off the landing mat and was penalised a .1 deduction on his first vault, Japan’s Makoto Okiguchi managed an overall respectable 16.291, which was enough to earn him the Bronze.

Dzmitry Kaspiarovich of Belarus, who celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, pulled off a huge first vault (16.533), but similar to Bouhail, he overbalanced his second vault and stepped out of bounds. Continuing the tradition of Korean vaulters, Hak Seon Yang excelled in Tokyo. He twisted to a 16.566 total, and his first vault, boasting the impressive difficulty of 7.400, was flawlessly executed. Even with the penalty on his second vault, he took the title with a .2 margin over Golotsutskov.

Former World Champion Marian Dragulescu (ROU) had withdrawn from today’s Final and was replaced by Denis Albyazin (RUS).

Gold YANG Hak Seon KOR 16.566
Silver GOLOTSUTSKOV Anton RUS 16.366
Bronze OKIGUCHI Makoto JPN 16.291

4 BOUHAIL Thomas FRA 16.187
5 ABLYAZIN Denis RUS 16.174
6 KASPIAROVICH Dzmitry BLR 16.083
7 SHEK Wai Hung HKG 15.950
8 WAMMES Jeffrey NED 15.683

After the award ceremony Yang presented a cheque for 100,000 US Dollars, collected during the championships to benefit the earthquake survivors in Japan. The Tokyo crowd showed their appreciation for this gesture of solidarity with an enthusiastic round of applause.

Balance Beam

The highly anticipated Beam Final was clouded by shock moments for 2004 Olympic Champion Catalina Ponor (ROU) and Youth Olympic Champion Victoria Komova (RUS). Neither performed up to expectations tonight, with Komova even falling from the beam. Favourites going into this event, they finished disappointingly at the bottom of the table.

Alexandra Raisman (USA), on the other hand, produced a fine routine with high difficulty and clean execution. She bettered her qualifying score, but stayed in the wake of compatriot Jordyn Wieber. Wieber nailed her routine to confirm her qualifying position in third rank and to take the Bronze.

Showing amazing artistry, Yao Jinnan (CHN) wowed the spectators and her excellent routine was rewarded with a score of 15.233 to secure the Silver.

Sui Lu shot into first place, going 1-2 on Beam for China tonight. Her fantastic routine boasted by far the highest difficulty and execution scores and was awarded a 15.866 total and the World title.

Gold SUI Lu CHN 15.866
Silver YAO Jinnan CHN 15.233
Bronze WIEBER Jordyn USA 15.133

4 RAISMAN Alexandra USA 15.066
5 RACEA Elena Amelia ROU 14.533
6 INSHINA Yulia RUS 14.525
7 PONOR Catalina ROU 14.241
8 KOMOVA Victoria RUS 13.766

Parallel Bars

In a high-level, fiercely competitive Parallel Bars Final, the top four finishers all scored 15.500 +, with the routine with the cleanest execution rewarded with top honours. Top qualifier Feng Zhe (CHN), Kazuhito Tanaka (JPN) and Marius Berbecar (ROU) all fell victim to their high difficulty, making major mistakes.

Greek Vasileios Tsolakidis had qualified in last position only, but he produced a clean routine tonight peppered with interesting skills and variety. He finished in second place with 15.533 points tying with Zhang Chenglong of China, who had a small hop on his dismount.

American Danell Leyva upped his qualifying score and made up for a disappointing performance in the All-around, when he fell off the bars. He put on a strong display with good variety and composition to take the World title.

Kohei Uchimura (JPN) did not have the best start and had to settle for fourth place.

Gold LEYVA Danell USA 15.633
Silver TSOLAKIDIS Vasileios GRE 15.533
Silver ZHANG Chenglong CHN 15.533

4 UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 15.500
5 CUCHERAT Yann FRA 15.333
6 BERBECAR Marius Daniel ROU 15.266
7 FENG Zhe CHN 15.200
8 TANAKA Kazuhito JPN 15.166

Women’s Floor Exercise

Romania’s Diana Bulimar had pulled out off the competition a few days ago, giving reserve gymnast Lauren Mitchell (AUS) the chance to defend her title. Two more last-minute changes were then made to the start list tonight. Victoria Komova (RUS) was replaced by her compatriot and second reserve gymnast Kseniia Afanaseva and Diana Maria Chelaru (ROU) came in for Vanessa Ferrari (ITA).

Despite all these changes, the spectators saw a very strong Floor Final and a fierce battle for the medals in Tokyo. However, with Mitchell missing a skill and former World Champion Beth Tweddle stepping out of bounds, two favourites were out of the race. Yao took an early lead over Wieber, but was then outscored by top qualifier Alexandra Raisman (USA), who impressed with a clean routine and stuck landings.

Sui then produced an excellent set with fantastic spins, that stunned the crowd. With the smallest of margins, she edged out Raisman to take the lead. However, it was reserve gymnast Afanaseva, who impressed the most and made her country proud, when she came out on top of the ranking. Her beautiful presentation secured her the Gold.

Gold AFANASEVA Kseniia RUS 15.133
Silver SUI Lu CHN 15.066
Bronze RAISMAN Alexandra 15.000

4 YAO Jinnan CHN 14.866
5 MITCHELL Lauren AUS 14.733
6 WIEBER Jordyn USA 14.700
7 TWEDDLE Elizabeth GBR 14.500
8 CHELARU Diana Maria ROU 14.200

Horizontal Bar

The championships closed with this highly competitive Horizontal Bar Final, with Japanese superstar Kohei Uchimura drawn to perform last, raising hopes of a perfect denouement for the host nation. Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen produced a fantastic set to start the Final and earned not just a great ovation from the public but also a massive score of 16.233. With the strong competitors to follow, would that be enough for a medal?

Dutchman Epke Zonderland is known for his wild performances and he stunned the crowd in Tokyo with a breathtaking routine. Unfortunately, he hit his foot on the bar and lost his rhythm, and although he avoided a fall and finished well, his hopes for the title he had missed out on in 2010 in front of his home crowd were gone.

China’s Zou Kai and Zhang Chenlong impressed with the stunning difficulty of their routines, and they nailed them to secure a 1-2 finish tonight. Uchimura once again pleased the fans with his style and produced the cleanest execution, but the lower difficulty of his routine left him trailing the Chinese and he had to settle for Bronze.

Gold ZOU Kai CHN 16.441
Silver ZHANG Chenglong CHN 16.366
Bronze UCHIMURA Kohei JPN 16.333

4 HAMBUECHEN Fabian GER 16.233
5 ZONDERLAND Epke NED 14.833
6 TANAKA Yusuke JPN 14.700
7 BOY Philipp GER 14.300
8 OROZCO John USA 14.133

This Final concluded the championships in Tokyo. The 44th Artistic Gymnastics Word Championships will be held in 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Artistic gymnasts, who qualified for the Olympic Test Event will meet in London (GBR) on January 10 – 13, 2012.

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