Men`s Individual All-Around Final -Kohei Uchimura confirm his domination
LONDON (GBR), October 15, 2009: The first chips have fallen at the 41st Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in London’s O2 Arena. The venue was packed as an enthusiastic crowd rallied in support of a line-up of competitors tonight.
After the retirement of 2007 World and reigning Olympic Champion Yang Wei of China, tonight’s Men’s All-around Final was meant to determine a new World Champion. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, Beijing runner-up and leader in Tuesday’s preliminaries, was a shoe-in for the vacant position after one of his main rivals, German Fabian Hambuechen, was forced to withdraw from the competition. Hambuechen was injured during Sunday’s Podium Training.
However, strong competition for Uchimura came from the USA, notably in the form of Jonathan Horton and Timothy McNeill, as well as from European Champion Maxim Devyatovskiy (RUS), second in the qualifying round. Host country Great Britain qualified with two gymnasts, Daniel Keatings and Kristian Thomas. Keatings, qualified in fourth and eager to put on a great show for the home folk, was determined to give British gymnastics a name among the top nations shooting for London 2012. No Chinese gymnast qualified for the All-around Final, their strategy being to concentrate on specialty apparatus alone.
Though Qualifications gave a pretty good indication as to the main contenders, they didn’t pan out and the scoreboards have been wiped clean for the Final. Everyone got a new start and another chance to prove their skill tonight.
Last minute changes had to be made to the start lists since Dutch Jeffrey Wammes and Colombian Didier Yamit Lugo Sichaca withdrew due to injury. Wammes’ doctor stated that the gymnast was unable to compete at all six apparatus but left his participation this weekend open. Wammes qualified for the Apparatus Final on Vault. First on the reserve list, Artsiom Bykau from Belarus and Ildar from Kazachstan moved into the Final by default.
The gymnasts were divided into four groups of six in tonight’s Final, depending on their Qualification ranking. The top six started on Floor and followed the Olympic order throughout the competition.
After four apparatus, Uchimura was already well at the top of the field (61.800) leading by a 2.400 margin and followed by British contender Keatings and US American Mcneill in third (59.125). Not the best day for Russia’s Devyatovskyi, who fell back into ninth. His team-mate, 2009 European Bronze medallist Yury Ryazanov, looked good however as he placed a comfortable fourth with 59.075 points. Rank five was shared by 24-year-old Japanese Kazuhito Tanaka and Swiss Nicolas Boeschenstein (58.750).
But there were two more rotations to come!
After rotation 5, Uchimura (76.425) and Keatings (74.450) settled in at the top, Tanaka moved up to third place (73.650) and Ryazanov into fourth (73.575), pushing McNeill back down into fifth rank (73.325). Devyatovskyi moved up to sixth place with a score of 72.925.
In the final rotation all eyes were on Keatings, who performed third on Horizontal Bar after Kuksenkov and Horton had fallen off the apparatus. The Briton performed well and was not only awarded a 14.475 point score, he was cheered on by an animated crowd! Keatings’ final score is 88.925; good enough for a medal?
Last to perform and with a flawless routine on the Bar, Uchimura scored 14.975, securing the Gold with an overall 91.500. Keatings maintained a solid Silver winning rank two, making his home country proud. “You are the man!” was shouted from the grandstands. Keatings later said he was “absolutely thrilled by the amazing support of the crowd!” Russian Ryazanov rocketed to the medal ranks with a final score of 88.400.
Gold – UCHIMURA Kohei (JPN) 91.500
Silver – KEATINGS Daniel (GBR) 88.925
Bronze – RYAZANOV Yury (RUS) 88.400
4. TANAKA Kazuhito (JPN) 88.300
5. DEVYATOVSKIY Maxim (RUS) 87.475
6. THOMAS Kristian (GBR) 87.350
7. MCNEILL Timothy (USA) 87.150
8. CARANOBE Benoit (FRA) 86.175
Press conference quotes:
Kohei Uchimura (JPN)
“Today’s performance wasn’t entirely up to my standards, I was bit dissatisfied with it, but I tried the best and have the results.”
On going better from Beijing and thoughts about being in the next Olympic stadium here:
“Last year I didn’t think I would have a chance of winning a medal, but after winning Silver I was aware of my position and I worked hard knowing that the Gold medal was attainable here. I hope to return in three years time for the Olympics and I think it has been a good experience for the Olympics.”
On training since age three for 17 years – Do you still feel fresh?
“After winning this Gold medal I feel fresh again!”
Did it occur to you to play safe on your last event, Horizontal Bar, knowing you had such a great lead?
“It didn’t even occur to me to play safe, I’ve been working hard to give the best performance and it would be wrong to play safe just because of the lead.”
Daniel Keatings (GBR)
“I came here hoping to make the Final, but to get the Silver medal was a dream come true. Starting on Floor wasn’t a great performance but I recovered from that.”
On rising pressure, sharing with Louis Smith:
“I’m ready to take on all the hard work that I need to do for the Olympics in 2012. Working alongside Louis will help push me.”
Did the home crowd help you perform well?
“It’s amazing, I didn’t expect this at all, with the crowd supporting me it helped push me through and I am looking forward to the same support at the 2012 Olympics.”
Yury Ryazanov (RUS)
“I’m very glad to be on the podium, unfortunately I made lots of mistakes throughout the competition, so I’m absolutely honoured to be on the podium in my first World Championships!”