22 May, 2017

China slows down but cops overall crown in 14th Asian Juniors ART Championships

                           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