17 October, 2009

Women`s All-Around Final: Koko Tsurumi (JPN) wins the bronze medal

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Tsurumi Koko JPNLONDON (GBR), October 16, 2009: Tonight London’s O2 Arena was jam-packed with all 12,000 available tickets sold out and a hall full of spectators eager to watch the Women’s All-around Final of the 41st Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.
Out of the 148 female gymnasts from 54 different countries who competed in the preliminaries on Wednesday, the 24 best qualified for this Final. Just as in the Men’s Final last night, female finalists started in groups of six with their qualifying results set back to zero. The top six started on Vault and followed the Olympic order throughout the competition.
A last minute withdrawal by injured Spaniard Ana Maria Izurieta, qualified on 11th rank, gave way to the participation of first reserve Mayra Kroonen of the Netherlands.
Unlike in the Men’s competition, which was dominated by Japanese All-arounder Kohei Uchimura, the Women’s event was up for grabs with several possible aspirants for the title. US American Rebecca Bross prevailed in the qualifying round, followed closely by Romania’s National Champion Ana Porgas. However, Australian Lauren Mitchell, who gave a solid performance on Wednesday, was hard on their heels. Also in the run for a medal tonight were China’s two representatives Deng Linlin and Yang Lilin, Russia’s Ekaterina Kurbatova and Ksenia Semenova and US All-around Champion Bridget Sloan.
With such a wide scope of top contenders it was hard to predict who would ultimately make it to the podium. But one thing was clear: whoever was going to win this Final had to give clean routines on each of the four apparatus!
Great Britain’s All-around finalists Rebecca Wing and Rebecca Downie qualified in positions 19 and 20, started in the same group and brought the house down!

Rotation 1
The first rotation saw Yang fall on her dismount from the Uneven Bars with a subsequent fall from Semenova. The competitors of group one ranked among the top eight after this rotation, with the exception of Porgras in 11th. Japanese Koko Tsurumi led the ranking after he aced his routine on Bars (15.050).

Rotation 2
No major errors occurred in the second rotation, with the front runners working the Uneven Bars. Tsurumi remained in the lead (29.850) followed by Sloan (29.625). Rebecca Bross (29.600) forced Russia’s Kurbatova into 4th and French Dufournet (29.050) into 5th. Porgras moved up into sixth while Mitchell fell back to rank nine. China’s Yang and Deng settled in 7th and 8th places respectively.

Rotation 3
This rotation’s top seeds had quite a struggle proving themselves on Beam, which is truly a crucial apparatus. Kurbatova fell off and slid down to rank seven (42.175). Deng Linlin stumbled and gave a faulty landing; she was veering to one side with every move and ultimately hit the floor. Meanwhile Britain’s Rebecca Downie performed on the Uneven Bars; she took a fall. By the end of the rotation, Americans Bross (44.900) and Sloan (43.625) sat in triumph in the top ranking positions, followed by Tsurumi (43.125) and Mitchell (43.125). Porgras, also struggling on Beam, placed a provisional 5th (42.475).
Will Bross bag the title tonight? The decisive blow came with the final routines on Floor …

Rotation 4
A powerful Floor routine pushed Sloan momentarily into rank one (57.825). Deng (55.225) also performed well, and so did Mitchell (57.150) who finished fourth. Dufournet (56.650) vaulted into 5th (56.650) and Tsurumi’s well-landed Vault brought about a final score of 57.175 and the satisfaction of hard-earned Bronze medal. The 17-year-old Japanese edged out 2009 Australian National All-around Champion by only .025 points!
The British gymnasts worked the Beam as their final piece of apparatus, but Downie, who seemed to be having a rather bad day, fell off twice. She scored an overall 53.775 and ranked 16th, two places ahead of her team-mate Wing (53.400).
All eyes turned to Bross, the last competitor on Floor tonight. She gave a fantastic routine and was close enough to taste victory when she botched her last tumble, didn’t quite get round and touched her hand to the floor. A final score of 57.775 slid Bross into the Silver medal position behind her team-mate Sloan, who maintained her winning edge and the All-around title for these championships.
Final standings:

Gold – SLOAN Bridget (USA) – 57.825
Silver – BROSS Rebecca (USA) – 57.775
Bronze – TSURUMI Koko (JPN) – 57.175

4. MITCHELL Lauren (AUS) – 57.150
5. DUFOURNET Youna (FRA) – 56.650
6. YANG Yilin (CHN) – 56.575
7. PORGRAS Ana (ROU) – 56.500
8. KAESLIN Ariella (SUI) – 55.925

Press conference quotes:

Gold – Bridget Sloan (USA)
“I wasn’t looking at the medals, I just wanted to make the best of the day and to have no regrets.”
On her Beam routine: “The thoughts of prelims were going through my head, [she struggled] but at the same time I’ve done that routine so many times. I was focusing on tight arms and doing the best I could.”
On watching Bross’s Floor routine – thoughts? “I was very nervous for Rebbeca, no matter what she did, I just wanted her to do the best she could. I didn’t really notice until the very end when I looked up at the scoreboard and that’s when I realised I had won.”

Silver – Rebecca Bross (USA)
“I’m very happy with this Silver medal!”
Did she feel she had already won before Floor? “No I didn’t feel I had already won. I had a little mishap at the end of my routine and there’s nothing I can do to change it now.”
Bross’s coach Valeri Liukin after Rebecca’s Floor routine: “I have such a beautiful gymnast and I am very proud.”

Bronze – Koko Tsurumi (JPN)
“I believe I was able to perform with elegance, and I didn’t have many points deducted, and I’m very happy with this medal.”
On winning a medal for the Japanese women, after the tradition of the men’s gymnastics in Japan: “The women’s team hasn’t been strong, but since last year there has been more attention paid to us and we are getting stronger and stronger. We hope we can keep going until the Olympic Games.”

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