Fan Wins First World Cup Gold in Melbourne
After multiple national titles, two world titles, and a trip to the Olympic Games, Fan Yilin of China has finally captured a world cup gold medal in Melbourne with her hit routine earning a 14.833 to top the podium, while 2018 Asian Games champion and world vault finalist Yeo Seo-jeong of South Korea won the second title of her career on vault.
Yeo, who turned 17 a few days ago, led the vault field after qualifications, where she performed a strong Rudi and Yurchenko double full to average a 14.400. Coming in as the favorite for gold, she impressed with a mostly clean Rudi in the final, though she had a bit of a rough ending to her DTY, landing lock-legged and walking away with a grimace and a limp, though her 14.266 average was still good enough for the title, and by the time the medal ceremony happened, she was once again all smiles.
Less than a tenth back from Yeo was the legendary Oksana Chusovitina with a 14.200 average for silver. Chusovitina showed pretty much an identical handspring front layout full and tsuk 1½ to what she always performs, but her tsuk was especially strong tonight, with just a small bounce on the landing, though her form was mostly tight and she opened up really accurately out of her rotation.
First-year senior Yu Linmin of China took the bronze with a 14.083, up two tenths after an inquiry to sneak the medal away from reigning world bronze medalist Alexa Moreno, who originally had it with a 14.066. Yu’s second vault, the Lopez, was initially only awarded the difficulty for a pike, but ultimately the judges gave her the full layout value, allowing her to jump ahead of Moreno by about one one-hundredth of a point.
Aside from piking it down, Yu’s Lopez was pretty solid, though her DTY had some weak leg form in the air and a large step back and out of bounds to control the landing. Moreno, meanwhile, was a bit messy in her Rudi, though she sat this vault in qualifications and it was good to see her get it around in the final, and her tsuk full was much cleaner in the air, with just a little hop on the landing to ultimately land her in fourth place.
Rounding out the field were Ayaka Sakaguchi of Japan in fifth with a 13.833, Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia in sixth with a 13.833, Paula Mejias of Puerto Rico in seventh with a 13.533, and Asuka Ogawa of Japan in eighth with a 12.962. The best moment from this group was Kysselef’s Yurchenko 1½ stuck cold, while Mejias was pretty clean throughout, Sakaguchi showed promise on her vaults, and Ogawa was a little weak with her DTY and tsuk full.
In the bars competition, it was clear Fan with a hit routine was going to be the winner by a long shot. She put her hands down on her eponymous dismount in her qualifications routine, identical to the mistake that cost her a medal in Cottbus last year, but in the final she had no problems standing it up at the end of a gorgeous routine that featured a Maloney to Gienger, Ling and Healy pirouette sequence right into her piked Jaeger, and then a Healy with an extra half turn right into the dismount.
Fan earned a 14.833 for her effort, leading the field by half a point with her teammate Lyu Jiaqi winning the silver with a 14.366 while Georgia-Rose Brown of Australia won bronze, repeating the success she had on this event at the 2018 world cup in Melbourne.
The routine from Lyu, who was in the lead following qualifications, had a few tiny adjustments but overall looked strong, and I always love her excellent and unique dismount series, where she performs a Healy half directly into a layout double full. She performed essentially the same quality routine on both days of competition, but while her difficulty is right up there with her teammates, those little adjustments throughout tend to add up, keeping her a bit behind in execution.
Brown, meanwhile, showed off her always lovely lines and mostly excellent form throughout her routine, with her Pak looking especially nice. She had one little moment upon catching her Maloney to Gienger that got noticeably muscled, and the cowboying of the second flip in her double front dismount is always going to get negative attention, but overall this was a solid routine and she did a great job hitting well in both days of competition.
Sweden’s Jonna Adlerteg, one of the favorites for the medals here along with the Chinese gymnasts, started out her routine with a Shang that got a ton of height but no distance over the bar, looking scary for a moment there as she came close to hitting her heels on the bar, though thankfully she was able to get over just enough to grab the bar before unfortunately falling.
She also had a form break on the pirouette in her Maloney to clear hip full to Tkachev series, but the rest of her routine was excellent, with a Pak, shaposh to Bhardwaj, and a beautiful and huge double layout to finish, earning a 13.166 with the errors.
Also competing in this final were Romi Brown of Australia in her senior international debut with a 12.500 for fifth place, Valeriia Osipova of Ukraine in sixth with a 12.366, Ting Hua-Tien of Chinese Taipei in seventh with a 12.300, and Martina Rizzelli of Italy in eighth with a 12.000.
Brown and Ting were especially strong in this group, putting up mostly clean routines with just some minor form issues in their lower-difficulty routines, while Osipova got a little muscled throughout some of her skills, especially as she began to lose steam near the end, though I absolutely loved her stalder full to toe-on to Maloney to stalder half to Tkachev sequence. Rizzelli, meanwhile, showed excellent work on her Ricna to Pak, but then she got stuck halfway through her toe full, coming off the apparatus and counting a fall.
In the men’s competition, Carlos Edriel Yulo of the Philippines won the floor title with a 14.566 with a strong routine in a super closely contested match that saw the silver and double bronze medalists all earn a score of 14.500, with Hibiki Arayashiki of Japan winning out on the tie break with his superb execution in his twist-filled set to get the silver, while Rayderley Zapata of Spain and Dominick Cunningham of Great Britain matched each other identically to share the bronze.
The biggest bummer in this final was Christopher Remkes, who opened with a triple double layout and showed excellent control on his landings throughout, but then put his hands down on the full-twisting double layout at the end of his routine, finishing seventh behind Kim Han-sol of South Korea (fifth with a 14.200) and Casimir Schmidt of the Netherlands (sixth with a 13.833), both of whom had hit routines. Also competing here was Ahmet Önder of Turkey, who was eighth with a 13.166 after he too put his hands down on his last pass, a full-in.
2018 world medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei won the pommels gold with his flair-filled routine looking beautiful from start to finish to earn a 15.266, which just narrowly edged out China’s Weng Hao, who also looked beautiful in his flair work but had a tiny leg separation near the end that was the only thing I saw that could possibly have separated the two. Weng took the silver with a 15.233, and then beyond this pair, we saw Tomomasa Hasegawa of Japan take the bronze with a 14.666, showing good transitions throughout, though he was a bit muscled in some of his traveling elements, keeping him from fighting for one of the top spots.
I thought Theirry Pellerin of Canada, who placed fourth with a 13.700, did a great job here until a slow-down at the end of his routine caused some leg form breaks, and Ferhat Arican of Turkey also managed a good set for a fifth-place finish with a 13.133, though his form throughout wasn’t super tight, which really separated him from the best here. Behind him, Bram Louwije of the Netherlands was sixth with a 12.766 after some form breaks near the end of his set, and we had falls from Akim Mussayev of Kazakhstan in seventh with a 12.700 and from Cyril Tommasone of France in eighth with a 12.033.
The rings competition ended up being super tight at the top, but the Chinese men were beautiful in their sets, with Yang Liu getting the gold just a step ahead of teammate You Hao with the silver, earning scores of 15.166 and 15.133, respectively, while 2018 world medalist Arthur Zanetti of Brazil won the bronze with a 14.966 for an equally excellent routine.
Kazuya Takahashi of Japan had a few adjustments throughout his routine, but was overall very clean, earning a 14.600 for fourth place, and Courtney Tulloch of Great Britain arched over and muscled a couple of his handstands in addition to hopping back on his full-twisting double layout, also earning a 14.600, but finishing fifth due to the lower execution score. In sixth with a 14.566 was Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, who also wasn’t super tight in his exercise today, while Ali Zahran of Egypt was seventh with a 14.400 and Ryan Oehrlein of Canada was eighth with a 14.000.
The competition returns on Sunday with the women competing on beam and floor, while the men will face off on vault, p-bars, and high bar.
Article by Lauren Hopkins