22 May, 2017

China wrests back overall title in 7th Asian Seniors Gymnastics Championships

                           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