Chinese boys, girls win individual and team titles

JAKARTA, Indonesia: China showed their intent and seriousness for the Tokyo 2020 Games preparations when their juniors picked up top honours at the 15th Artistic Asian Junior Championships at Istora Senayan on Thursday.

After their senior team’s debacle at the 2016 Rio Games, the Chinese federation restructured its planning to revive its lost pride, and the team’s overall domination here in both the MAG and WAG should give them a ray of hope.

However, it wasn’t a dominating performance as they faced a stiff challenge from yet another traditional powerhouse Japan, who missed the titles by a very less margin.

The boys’ team of Yin Dehang, Shi Cong, Tian Hao Fan Siwei and Jin Zhengyuan won the gold (239.450) followed by Japan, who missed the top honour by 0.550 points. Kazakhstan finished third.

Shi added another gold to his kitty when he won the men’s Individual All-Around titles while compatriot Yin came second followed by Japan’s Oka Shinnosuke, but the gap wasn’t huge as he scored only 0.150 pts less than Yin (79.750).

Chinese girls bag team title
The Chinese girls also matched the boys, with Qi Qi, Zhao Shiting, Yin Siai and He Lecheng tallied 162.950 points to beat their nearest rival Japan (153.250), who had to be content with silver despite some outstanding performances.

South Korea, who are developing into a third force in the continent, came very close to upset Japan and fell just .150 points behind them.

Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Singapore came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Qi too had a double gold when she pipped her team-mate Zhao in women’s Individual All-Around final while South Korea’s Lee Younseo finished third.

But a close look at the point table will reveal the contest was intensely fought as Qi (53.650pts) managed to win by scoring 0.300 points more than her compatriot.

Younseo also showed her strength and finished 0.350pts behind Zhao.

Some of the gymnasts from Indonesia, Malaysia and Uzbekistan caught the eye, but none could match the brilliance of China.

“It certainly calls for a celebration,” said Asian Gymnastics Union MAG Technical Committee President Miao Zhongyi, who rushed from the technical arena to congratulate the Chinese gymnasts. “We started focusing on the Tokyo Games after the team’s third-place finish in Rio. That was a big shock for us. I’m confident we will be at the top again.”

It’s too early to say if some of these talented bunch of Chinese youngsters would join their senior team at Tokyo, but their performance here definitely showed us that Chinese gymnastics is back on the track.