China dominate the team final in the ART WC – Rotterdam (NED), October 16 – 24, 2010

MAG China team podium final wc2010_FIG_Photo

MAG China team podium final wc2010_FIG_PhotoROTTERDAM (NED), AGU Office, October 21, 2010: Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena filled up quickly tonight with enthusiastic spectators come to see the world’s best men’s teams put on a show at the 42nd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. Following the women’s teams, who battled it out yesterday, the men’s team title was up for grab.
The question was: who can beat the Chinese in this Final? Since 1991 and the end of Soviet supremacy, the Chinese have been without equal; only in Ghent 2001 did the title escape them. In Rotterdam, the Japanese were their main rivals, but the USA and Great Britain were also battling for a place on the podium, with Germany and Russia lurking for their own chance.
The competition promised to be a fierce one!
In an exciting competition full of surprises, China (274.997) defended and kept their Men’s World Team title over Japan (273.769) and Germany (271.252), repeating the same podium ranking as in 2007.
As opposed to the Team Qualifications, which follow the 6-5-4 system and thus allow each country to line up six gymnasts per apparatus, only five of whom actually compete with their best four scores to complete the team’s total, the Finals follow the 6-3-3 system. This means that teams line up six gymnasts, but only three competitors perform in each event and all scores count.
Favourite and top qualifier China led with only one point over pursuer Japan in the Qualifications, with the United States in third followed closely by Great Britain. While China boasts numerous Olympic and World team titles, Japan, runner-up in Beijing and Stuttgart, was waiting for their chance to claim the top honours. Absent from the Finals in 2006, climbing into fourth place in 2007 and decorated with Olympic Bronze in 2008, the USA have clearly been improving in the recent past. A close battle with Great Britain for Bronze was on the burner tonight, and even with their best All-arounder Daniel Keatings sidelined with an injury, the British men pulled off a strong team for Rotterdam and impressed during preliminaries. On their way to London 2012, they would no doubt love to take home their first world team medal.
2007 World Bronze medallists of Germany made a strong appearance during the preliminaries, placing fifth despite the absence of national champion Marcel Nguyen.
Russia were in sixth, also worth keeping an eye on!
The teams of Korea and France completed tonight’s line-up.
China, competing in the Olympic order, had an excellent start on Floor with all three competitors bettering their qualifying scores and newcomer Zhang Chenglong impressing with a 14.933. On Pommel Horse, 2004 Olympic Champion Teng Haibin (15.466) made up for Yan Mingyong’s failed routine, and on Rings Beijing Gold medallist Chen Yibing and reigning World Champion Yan Mingyong repeated their 1-2 finish of the preliminaries. Feng Zhe and Teng went on to excel on Parallel Bars, while Zhang aced his Horizontal Bar routine. All in all, the Chinese team impressed once again with stunning performances and deservedly takes home the title.
Japan began the competition on Floor tonight; Tatsuki Nakashima stepped out of bounds, but Kohei Uchimura gave a nearly perfect routine worth 15.266, the day’s top score. On Pommel Horse, team captain Kenya Kobayashi improved remarkably from the Qualifications, but with Uchimura sitting out the event to rest his sore shoulder the Japanese probably lost the title on Rings tonight. All three competitors seemed to struggle. Kazuhito Tanaka took a big step on his landing and marked the lowest score (14.166), Tanaka redeemed himself on Parallel Bars, the team’s best event today, and Uchimura and Koji Uematsu placed just behind the powerful Chinese. After rotation five and with Horizontal Bar being the Japanese’s last apparatus, anything was possible. China was in the lead (228.964), but only with a narrow margin over Japan (228.170). However, Tanaka, first up, blundered yet again when he fell off the bar and scored a low 14.433. Even though Uchimura and Uematsu nailed their final routines, the team finished second, taking off Silver.
Germany was the surprise act today. Led by an impressively consistent Philipp Boy, who qualified in second position for tomorrow’s Individual All-around Final and who was able to improve all of his scores tonight, the team exceeded their own expectations. Up to rotation four they were even in the overall lead, dropping into third only after the second to last apparatus. Having failed to qualify for the Apparatus Finals, Matthias Fahrig came back strong tonight, excelling on Floor and Vault. Boy and Fabian Hambuechen wowed the crowd on Horizontal Bar and tonight’s last performer, 20 year old Sebastian Krimmer, bagged the Bronze for the team on his best event, the Pommel Horse.
Team USA, fourth in 2007, missed out on a medal rank yet again. Qualified in third, the US boys were eager to get back up on the podium after their Olympic Bronze in 2008. Christopher Cameron looked a little out of kilter today, struggling on Pommel Horse and Rings, while Jonathan Horton stepped out of bounds on Vault and touched the ground with his hands after his initial tumbling pass on Floor. Horton, however, made up for his mistakes with strong performances on Rings, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar. As the team’s best event, the Bar routine was masterfully performed by Danell Leyva and Christopher Brooks. Steven Legendre excelled on Vault and Floor and Brandon Wynn had a strong showing on Rings.
The weakened French team, challenged by the absence of Yann Cucherat and Olympic All-around Bronze medallist Benoit Caranobe, who sustained a serious injury during Qualifications, were lucky to qualify for this Final in last position. However, les Bleus were able to better their ranking remarkably, finishing fifth today. Cyril Tommasone shone on Pommel Horse (15.466) and Thomas Bouhail helped the team with valuable points on Floor and Vault.
Russia confirmed their qualifying sixth rank today, flaunting Anton Golotsutskov on Floor (14.900).
Disappointment among British team-mates, who looked good in a promising rank four during the preliminaries, but fell back into a final seventh position, reminiscent of their female compatriots yesterday. The team got off to a bad start when Daniel Purvis struggled on Pommel Horse and Theo Seager floundered on Rings. Overall, the British competitors lost out on points as compared to Qualifications; Louis Smith was their one star performer on Pommel Horse, where he took the highest score of the night (15.800).
Korea, started off well on Vault, with Hak Seon Yang taking the top score (16.666), but they ultimately ranked at the bottom of the table.

Results

1 CHN China 274.997
2 JPN Japan 273.769
3 GER Germany 271.252

4 USA United States 268.012
5 FRA France 263.468
6 RUS Russia 263.170
7 GBR Great Britain 261.103
8 KOR Korea 259.952