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AGU Media DOHA (QAT): Mongolia is top seeded followed by South Korea and Thailand at the Ninth Senior Rhythmic Asian Championships after the draw of lots were held last week.
The event will be held under the auspices of Asian Gymnastics Union (AGU) at the Daulet National Tennis Center, Astana, Kazakhstan, from June 24-27.
Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Uzbekistan, China, Philippines, Chinese Taipei are the participating countries.
Astana had hosted the event twice in 2009 and 2010 while Changsha, China, had the honour to organise the inaugural edition in 1996.
Yangzhou, China, hosted in 2004 while the competition was twice held in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), with Surat (India) and Jecheon (South Korea) were the other venues.
As many as 150 gymnasts from 15 countries will take part in the event jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Gymnastic Federation of Kazakhstan and Federation of Rhythmic Gymnastics of Astana.
There will be four competitions in the individuals and two in the group categories.
The individual include qualifying individual competition with team ranking (Competition I), all-around final (Competition II), apparatus finals (Competition III) while the group has general competition (Competition I) and groups competition finals (Competition III).
The National Tennis Center (NTC) venue is a modern sport complex with a central court for 2700 seats. There are three additional courts for trainings with advanced television and audio equipment, snack bars, dressing rooms and showers while the Central Outdoor Tennis Court have 1210 seats and seven more courts as well as two indoor courts (hard) with RuKort surface.
Meanwhile, the 15th Junior Rhythmic Asian Championships will also be held concurrently with the senior tournament in Astana.

Chinese Taipei, Japan, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan and South Korea are the seeded teams.
Results of the Junior Draw of lot in attachment files
Download this file (Junior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017.pdf)Junior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017[Junior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017]117 kB
Download this file (Senior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017.pdf)Senior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017[Senior_draw_AC_qualif_Final- KAZ_2017]148 kB

AGU Media Office: At her age, when most girls spend their time with Barbie dolls, Pakistan’s 10-year-old Misha Saqib does some incredible vaults, twists and turns on a gymnasium floor.
An ardent admirer of Olympic champion Simone Biles, Misha recently won five gold medals at the National Women’s Championships in vault, balance beam, floor and also added the best gymnast and team gold. 
She is passionate about the sport and dreams to be at the Olympics.
“I want to be like Biles. I train six times a week after school. I want to be an Olympian,” said Misha.
She was introduced to the sport through a local coach at her neighbourhood in 2013. However, she travels to Dubai twice a year and she receives trainings.
“We took her to London for a short course. Misha did some ballet for a year. We think she has potential and hence decided to encourage her,” said her mother Zantiana.
Meanwhile, while praising Misha’s efforts the Pakistan Gymnastics Federation (PGF) President Ahmed Ali Rajput laments the sport is still not taken up seriously.
“We’re trying to develop the sport. We need to work really hard and have excellent infrastructure to produce world-class gymnasts,” said Rajput.
While South-East countries like China, Japan and South Korea have a strong presence at the world level, the sport in south Asian nations still needs a lot of attention.
India’s Dipa Karmakar’s achievement at the Rio Games have shown there’s immense talent, but the respective federations in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan must accumulate strength to develop the sport and encourage young gymnasts like Misha.

AGU Office, BANGKOK (THI): May 26, 2017: Young Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo had high expectations of doing well in the 14th Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastic Championships at the Nimibtur Gymnasium here.
After all, Yulo, 17, had undergone three months of intensive training at the Japan national training center in Tokyo, where he has been for nearly a year, for this tournament and was eager to make his first and only outing in the Asian Juniors a memorable one.
Even his Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya was optimistic that “If Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) can avoid making mistakes he has a chance to win a medal here.”
But disaster struck on May 16, on the eve of the team and individual boys all-around finals, when the boy twisted his left ankle badly during afternoon practice while doing his routine on the floor exercise, ironically one of his pet events.
“He landed badly on his left ankle and it swelled to the size of a grapefruit,” noted assistant coach Aldrin Castaneda, who witnessed the accident, in Filipino. “Caloy could hardly walk on his left ankle after that.”
The coaching staff tried to relieve Yulo’s pain and the swelling on his ankle with immediate therapy and medication but his prospects of performing on Wednesday looked bleak at that time.
It would have been a huge letdown for the young boy, who became a protégé of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines 10 years ago when his grandfather brought him to train with the association.
Yulo lives in a poor neighborhood behind the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex where the GAP national training center is located.  GAP president Cynthia Carrion and secretary general Bettina Pou saw his huge potential and took him under their wings.
The gymnast who has earned the moniker “Tiny Twister” proved to be a precocious talent, winning three straight overall championships in the national schools sportsfest known as the “Palarong Pambansa.”
With the help of the Japan Gymnastics Association and the financial support of Philippine Sports Commission, the national government sports agency, Yulo was sent to train in Japan and is being groomed as a strong medal prospect for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In December 2015, he showed the fruits of his Japanese training in bagging the  rings gold in the junior competitions of the tough Voronin Cup in Moscow, Russia on top of a pair silvers and a bronze in the all-around.
Despite the injury, Yulo, however, was determined not to let his one and only Asian Juniors stint go to waste.
“Sayang naman  po, nandito na naman ako (It would be a waste not to compete since I am here already),” said the brave yet soft-spoken lad in Filipino. 
Three hours before the boys all-around competitions last ,Yulo and the coaching staff tried to work out his injury and gauge if  he was capable of performing.
While Kugimiya was hesistant in letting his ward compete with the injury, the boy was just as firm in seeing action in his Asian Juniors swan song.
“It is up to me so I will compete,” said Yulo, who was the lone Philippine entry in the Asian Juniors. 
So as not to stress the boy’s injured ankle, Kugimiya limited the athlete’s participation to the rings, pommel horse and parallel bars, leaving out the floor exercise, vault and high bar, and a chance to gain a crack at an individual all-around medal.
Competing in the second subdivision or group of gymnasts, Yulo had was wobbly on rings and pommel horse event in the qualifiers, feeling the pain each time he dismounted from the apparatuses.
Remarkably, however, the Filipino’s outing in the parallel bars was successful, eventually finishing fifth overall with 13.45 points to earn passage into the finals of the apparatus on Sunday, May 21.
The Filipino gymnast’s courageous performance here last Wednesday gave new meaning to the saying “no gain without pain” so that his stint here would not be in vain.
True enough, Yulo’s sacrifices didn’t go unrewarded in the final day of the competition, performing with aplomb to bag the parallel bars gold a score of 13.825 points and exit the Asian Juniors with a bang.      

Caption:  Carlos Yulo shows winning form on the way to winning the gold medal at the close of the 14th Asian Juniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships yesterday.

Carlos Yulo (center) proudly displays the gold medal he won in ruling the boys parallel bars at the end of the 14th Asian Juniors Gymnastics Championships yesterday. Flanking him are Japanese silver medalist Takeru Kitazono (left) and bronze medalist Chen Yihao of China.
Dipa Karmakar may have missed the medal by a whisker at the Rio Olympics last year, but her performance has put gymnastics in the spot light in India.
The 23-year-old, who became the first Indian woman gymnast to have qualified for the Olympics, scored an average of 15.066 points, a mere 0.15 less than Switzerland’s eventual bronze-winner Giulia Steingruber (15.216).
What made her famous was the use of ‘Produnova Vault’, which even her coach Bisweswar Nandi wants to spread it among the other gymnasts in the country.
“My main target will be to teach the Produnova vault to others. I hope to see others also learn and execute the vault and win medals,” Nandi told the Indian media recently.
But he added, “The gymnasts must have the courage and determination of mastering Produnova. Dipa had tremendous courage to master the art. That’s why she was able to achieve it. Determination is important to execute such a difficult vault, but I’m hopeful they also can learn it.”
Recently, during her visit to the country legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci lauded Karmakar’s fourth-place finish at Rio and also shared some tips on improving the Produnova.
“For us, Nadia is God. I’m really happy to talk to her. She suggested that if I do certain changes in my Produnova vault, I can be much better,” Karmakar was quoted in the Indian media.
Comaneci became the first gymnast in the history of the Olympics to achieve a perfect score of 10.0 at the 1976 Montreal Games.
“It’s really amazing to watch the new generation of girls. Indian parents who’ve girls can see an opportunity their daughters can to do well in gymnastics. Dipa is now a role model for many Indian girls. She also proved you don’t need to be Romanian or American to make an impact in the sport,” said Comaneci. “Apart from Produnova, she needs to improve and make other vault perfect. She only need to work on the details like how to put her feet while landing, speed and techniques.”
AGU Media
                           OVERALL MEDAL TALLY
                            G       S      B      Total
China                   10       2      0        12
DPR Korea             1        1      2        4
Japan                   1         0      1        2
South Korea          0         2      2        4
Hong Kong            0         1      0        1
Iran                      0         0      1        1                                                            
 Chinese-Taipei      0         0      1        1
Kazakhstan           0         0       1        1
(Note: Two silvers given in women’s floor exercise)
AGU Office: BANGKOK (THA) May 22, 2017 – Sustaining its might until the very end, China captured three more gold medals to wrest back the overall championship of the 7th Asian Seniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the Nimibutr Gymnasium here on Sunday.
Zou Jingyuan ruled the men’s parallel bars, while Lin Chaopan and Liu Tinting bagged the men’s horizontal bar and women’s balance beam golds, respectively, as the Chinese regained their status as the best not only in the tournament but also in the entire continent.
Piercing their aura of invincibility, however, were Japan’s Honoka Koga and Democratic People’s Repubic of Korea’s Kim Sujong, who shared the gold in the women’s floor exercise, and  unheralded Le Thanh Tung of Vietnam in topping the men’s pole vault.
China bounced back from its runner-up finish in the Asian Seniors edition held in Hiroshima, Japan two years ago, bringing home 10 golds and two silvers from the tournament, in contrast to its previous haul of five gold and five silver medals.
DPR Korea was in second place with a modest haul of  one gold, one silver and two bronzes while Japan slumped to third place with just one gold and one silver, a far cry from its 2015 output of 8-7-3 output, in the competition organized and sanctioned by the Asian Gymnastics Union.
Aided by his long years of training in China, Le, who performed No. 7 among the eight finalists,  stole the limelight from Asia’s big guns in ruling the men’s pole vault with a commanding score of 14.563 points for his first gold in the competition after going home empty-handed from Hiroshima two years ago.
Kim Hansol, who performed second, was relegated to the silver (14.488) and Japan’s Shuto Horiuchi pocketed the bronze (13.725).
“I did not feel pressured by the Chinese because I had trained in Guang Xi province for seven years,” Le, the reigning Southeast Asian Games men’s vault champion, said through an interpreter. “I knew what I was up against.”
In an encore to winning the rings gold the previous day, Zou was just as impressive in securing the men’s parallel bars championship by garnering 15.850 points through his dynamic and difficult routine on the apparatus.
He was in a league of his own as South Korea’s Hansol Kim (14.275) and Japan’s Shuto Horiuchi (13.700) bagged the silver and bronze, respectively.
Rio Olympics veteran Lin’s duel with teammate Xiao Ruoleng spilled over into the horizontal bar.
Xiao opened the event by scoring what seemed to be an unbeatable 14.50 points, but Lin,  seeing action as the eighth and last finalist, countered with an even more difficult routine, earning the judges’ approval and the gold with tally of 14.550 points.
Milad Karimi put Kazakhstan on the podium for the first time in securing the bronze medal with 13.850 points.
Chinese teammates Liu Tingting and Luo Hoan also renewed their ongoing friendly rivalry in the competition on the balance beam.
Liu showed why she was the back-to-back champion in the Melbourne and Doha World Cups, displaying both grace and athleticism in topping the event with 14.700 points.
Luo was not far behind and got the silver (14.350) and Chinese Taipei’s Lai Pin-Ju placed third for the bronze medal (13.175).
Koga redeemed herself from slipping in the balance beam earlier with a virtuoso performance on the floor exercise, sharing top honors with Sujong as they both scored identical 13.125 points apiece. South Korea’s Lee Eunju displayed some lapses but her efforts were good enough for bronze (12.875).
“I was sad about my slip in the balance beam but my victory in the floor exercise has erased that, especially since this is my first time in the tournament, ” the comely Koga from the city of Yokohama said. 
On top of medals, the AGU also gave cash prizes, with the gold-medal winner earning $350, the silver medalist, $250,and bronze medalist, $150.
VAULT MEDALISTS: Top three placers in the vault finals 7th Asian Seniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships, led by gold medalist Le Thanh Tung of Vietnam, (center) show of their medals. On the left is South Korean silver medalist Kim Hansol while the other is bronze medalist Shuto Horiuchi of Japan. (MAG vault 2)
EYE ON THE PRIZE: Vietnam’s Le Thanh Tung is set to spring into action in the men’s vault finals. The reigning Southeast Asian Games vault champion handily ruled the event.

TOPS IN PARALLEL BARS: Chinese parallel bars gold medalist Zou Jingyuan (center) leads of the top three finishers in the podium. Flanking him are silver medalist Han Jong Hyok of the Democratic Republic of Korea while the other is Vietnamese bronze medalist Dinh Phuong Tanh.

WINNING FORM: China’s Zou Jingyuan shows winning form on the men’s parallel bars.

HORIZONTAL BAR WINNERS: Led by gold medalist Lin Chaopan of China (center), the top finishers in the men’s horizontal bar event display their medals. On the left is teammate and silver medalist Xiao Ruoleg while the other Kazakhstan bronze medalist Milad Karimi.

BALANCE BEAM MEDALISTS:  Individual all-around women’s champion Liu Tingting of China (center) leads off the winners in the balance beam event. On her left is teammate and silver medalist Luo Huan while the other is Chinese-Taipei bronze medalist Lai Pin-Ju.

FLOOR EXERCISE TOPNOTCHERS: Japan’s Honoka Koga (center) and Kim Sujong of the Democratic Republic of Korea (left) shared the gold medal in the women’s floor exercise. On the right is South Korean silver medalist Lee Eunju.

SET TO BEGIN: Japanese Honoka Koga, who shared the gold medal  in the floor exercise with  Kim Sujong of the Democratic Republic of Korea, is set to begin her routine.  

By: Manolo Pedralvez
AGU Office, BANGKOK (THA) May 27, 2017: Brimming with ideas, Asian Gymnastics Union President Abdulrahman Al-Shathri of Qatar said last week that good things are coming for the organization and its members.
“I think we (the AGU) will have a good future. Soon we will announce a lot of things for the AGU and the federations. They will be happy,” said the youthful and dynamic AGU President on the sidelines of the 7th Asian Seniors and 14th Juniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships here
“I have a lot of dreams, a lot of ideas (on my mind),” Al-Shathri said. “There are a lot of targets in my mind. It’s no secret, but I cannot say it until we have it.”
He was elated that both the Asian Seniors and Asian Juniors drew a record field of nearly 300 gymnasts from 24 countries, including Turkmenistan which made its debut in both competitions.
“It (the record participation) means a lot to us. It means every one of our members would like to attend these championships,” Al-Shathri pointed out.
He thanked the Gymnastics Association of the Thailand for hosting both tournaments successfully at the spacious Nimibtur Gymnasium inside the Thai National Stadium Sports complex here.    
“I would like to thank the Gymnastics Association of Thailand in hosting both championships. It is very difficult to host one AGU tournament, let alone two so I am really happy for them.”
The AGU President said the innovations that they introduced in both the Asian Seniors and Asian Juniors here were meant to raise the profile and promote overall gymnastics in Asia.
“We will try to give these events more value,” stressed Al-Shathri, noting that it was the first time that AGU awarded cash prizes to the Asian Seniors winners.
“Similar to what the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is doing, we are now awarding cash prizes. We will try to increase the money in the future as much as we can,” he said. “We are doing this step by step.”
Both competitions were also recorded on video and their highlights can now be seen on the AGU website.
To underscore the importance of AGU events , the AGU President disclosed that the 15th edition of the Asian Juniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2018 would serve as the qualifying tournament for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On the other hand, he said, the next Asian Seniors Gymnastics Championships might be included in the list of qualifying competitions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 
“In 2019, we will have a new Olympic cycle and we are thinking that the Asian Seniors Championships will be a qualifying competition for the 2020 Olympic,” Al-Shathri said. “Nothing is definite yet. We are still awaiting approval from the FIG.
 “If we cannot make it in 2019 then we might have (the Asian Olympic qualifiers) from January to May of 2020.”
In support of all the AGU’s endeavors, the AGU President revealed that he is now in close negotiations with a major sponsor of all its projects and activities.
“With this sponsor, we will be able to raise the level of Asian gymnastics in general. I mean all of our present seven events: MAG, WAG, rhythmic - aerobics, trampoline, acrobatics and gymnastics for all – will be aggressively promoted,” he said.
“I am here to always try my best in protecting the interests of the AGU, promote and develop our disciplines and support our federations. This is what I am here for. I am always here for them,” the AGU President concluded.
By: Manolo Pedralvez
                           G       S      B      Total
China                   8       4      2       14
Japan                   4       8      4       16
Chinese-Taipei       1       0      1        2
Philippines             1       0      0        1
South Korea          0        2      3        5                                                           
Kazakhstan           0        2      0        2
DPR Korea            0        0      1        1
(Note: Two silvers given in boys and girls vault events)
AGU Office: BANGKOK (THA) May 21, 2017: Two countries broke China’s mighty monopoly at the close of the 14th Asian Junior Gymnastics Championships at the Nimibutr Gymnasium here on Sunday.
After being shut out from the gold last Sunday, Japan regained its bearings and took two titles through Japanese individual all-around champion Kakuto Murayama, who annexed the horizontal bar plum, and teammate Shiga Tachibana, who topped the vault event, respectively.
Also sharing the spotlight was Filipino Carlos Yulo, who overcame a badly twisted left ankle and captured the gold in the boys parallel bars in what was his one and only event in the competition sanctioned and organized by the Asian Gymnastics Union. 
Another rising star was China’s charming sprite Li Qi, who collected the girls balance beam and floor exercise championships, capping an impressive stint for Asia’s largest country in this “Land of Smiles.”
Although slowed down slightly, China emerged as the Asian Juniors overall champion, boasting an output of eight golds, four silvers and two bronze medals in the tournament that drew a record cast of 22 participating countries and over 100 gymnasts.
Unable to keep pace with its huge neighbor in the West, Japan took runner-up honors (4-8-4), Chinese-Taipei was third (1-0-1) and the Philippines was a surprise fourth courtesy of Yulo, who was the country’s lone entry in the Asian Juniors. 

After playing second fiddle to Murayama, Tachibana stepped out of the shadows of his teammate and took the boys vault gold with a strong first attempt, resulting in tally of 14.288 points for his second gold, counting the team all-around.
Compatriot Shuma Iwakawa and South Korea’s Chae Sangjin,  who shared the silver with similar 14.038 points each.
“I’m very happy because this is my first individual gold in this tournament,” Tachibana, a native of Chiba City, said.

Shrugging of the pain from a twisted ankle suffered during practice, Yulo stamped his class in the parallel bars with a score of 13.825 points, nosing out Japan’s Takeru Kitazono, his training partner, who took the silver (13.750). Chen Yihao of China got the bronze (13.650).
“The pain (in the ankle) is still there but all my sacrifices finally paid off,” said the 17-year-old gymnast, who has been training at the Japanese national training center for nearly a year under Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya.
“All the hard training of Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) has paid off,” noted Kugimiya, who has been handling the Philippine team for over three years now.

After lifting Japan to the team all-around crown, Murayama added a third gold to his collection in clinching the men’s horizontal bar with a score of 13.050 points while teammate Iwakawa annexed his second silver for the day (13.050). China’s Chen once again bagged the bronze (12.725).
“I am happy to add to the gold collection of Japan, although I wish we had more,” the 16-year-old Chiba City native, who was seeing action for the first time in the tournament, said.

Adorable-looking LI emerged as the darling of the gallery as she leaped with graceful abandon and precision on the balance beam, getting the nod of the judges in earning a high winning score of 14.025 points.
Japan’s Chiaki Hatakeda finished a far second for the silver (13.375) while Chinese all-around individual champion Chen Yile could only earn 12.925 points and got the bronze.
“This my first time to join the Asian Juniors so I am very happy to win here,” said the tiny Hangzhou City gymnast, who looked more like a grade-schooler than the 15-year-old she claims to be, through an interpreter.

Li had a close duel  with Chen in the girls floor exercise – likely earning additional points through her cuteness – in securing the gold with a score of 13.425 points. Chen settled for the silver (13.200) while South Korea’s Lee Yunseo copped the bronze (12.975)
Counting the team all-around championship, Li and Chen had three golds each, although Chen had more medals with also a silver and a bronze to show for her efforts.
By: Manolo Pedralvez


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