Chinese gymnasts dominate, wins eight of 10 titles
DOHA (QAT) AGU Office: China proved as to why they are the best in the trade after their artistic gymnasts bagged eight of the 10 titles at the 2019 FIG World Challenge Cup series in Zhaoqing (CHN).
The competition was held from May 19-21 as Li Shijia and Zou Jingyuan shone brightly.
The event was the first of seven stops on the World Challenge Cup calendar for 2019. It will be followed with a competition in Osijek (CRO, May 23-26) and Koper (SLO, May 30-June 2).
The series will then resume at the end of August in Mersin (TUR, August 30 -September 1) before it concludes with three legs in September: Szombathely (HUN, September 6-8), Paris (FRA, September 14-15) and Guimaraes (POR, September 19-22).
The first of seven World Challenge Cup events this year attracted more than 50 gymnasts from 11 nations.
The hosts entered some of its most experienced male gymnasts including Olympic medallists Zhang Chenglong, Deng Shudi, Lin Chaopan and Liu Yang, and two-time world Parallel Bars champion Zou Jingyuan. They elected to send newcomers for the women’s side, resting Liu Tingting, the 2018 world champion on Balance Beam and the new national champion.
Chinese women swept all four events with first-year senior Li Shijia claimed gold medals on Uneven Bars and Balance Beam in her FIG debut, an auspicious start for the gymnast who will become 16 during October’s World Championships in Stuttgart (GER).
Two-time world champion on parallel bars Zou was unstoppable, posting the two top scores of the competition with 16.350 (6.8D) in qualification and 16.150 (6.6D) in the final. He also won Pommel Horse title (15.200).
Deng Shudi, who won the All-around bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships in Montreal (CAN), picked up the gold on Floor Exercise while the 2014 world champion on rings Liu Yang posted the second-highest score of the finals with 15.400 (6.4D) en route to gold.
But Kim Hyok (PRK) snapped China’s golden streak by winning men’s vault, averaging 14.275 for a layout Randi and 1 1/2-twisting Kasamatsu. Shin Jeahwan (KOR) won the silver over Genta Tsuyuki (JPN), with all three medallists appearing on their first World Challenge Cup podium.