Kitazono finally gets his first individual gold: recap of Day 1 of the apparatus finals
Five gold medals were awarded on day three of the inaugural FIG Junior Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Győr, Hungary. Japan and Russia added to their already substantial gold medal collection, while Canada, the United States and South Korea could celebrate their first gold of the competition. The men’s apparatus final winners were Ryu Sunghyun (South Korea, floor), Takeru Kitazono (Japan, pommel horse) and Felix Dolci (Canada, still rings); while the women’s gold medals went to Kayla Di Cello (United States) and Vladislava Urazova (Russia).
Ryu Sunghun of South Korea came to the final with the highest qualification score (13.966) and he could top the performance on Saturday. A score of 14.166 gave him gold medal in front of Felix Dolci of Canada (14.000) and Nazar Chepurnyi of Ukraine (13.866) in a very high level apparatus final. This is the first Junior Worlds gold for South Korea.
1. Ryu Sunghyun (South Korea) 14.166
2. Felix Dolci (Canada) 14.000
3. Nazar Chepurnyi (Ukraine) 13.866
It was Japanese one-two in the pommel horse final: Takeru Kitazono finally got his first individual gold medal in Győr with a 13.966 routine, followed by his diminutive teammate, all-around champion Shinnosuke Oka (13.766), who's one of the crowd darlings of the competition. Latvia’s Edvins Rodevics got the bronze medal with 13.233 – a huge result for the Baltic country’s gymnastics! Kitazono seemed a bit relieved that he's finally got his first individual gold – after the slight disappointment of the all-around that was what he was after. As he said in the mixed zone, the colour of the medal in this case makes all the difference – his gold medal count is up to two, and he can still add to the collection on parallel bars.
1. Takeru Kitazono (Japan) 13.966
2. Shinnosuke Oka (Japan) 13.766
3. Edvins Rodevics (Latvia) 13.233
China’s Yang Haonan came with the best score to the rings final, but he left with the bronze, overtaken by Felix Dolci of Canada and Diogo Soares of Brazil. Dolci, having already collected a silver medal on floor, crowned his excellent day with the best execution of the rings final, that sent him right on the top of the podium.
“In finals it’s always so close, little details make all the difference, I’m really happy with this result. It’s a really big competition, the level is high, Japan and China are really strong. After my landing I wasn’t sure if it is a gold medal, but it is – feels amazing, I’m really glad it is! There’s a nice crowd, nice ambience in Győr, overall I’ve really liked the competition” – Dolci said in the mixed zone.
1. Felix Dolci (Canada) 13.600
2. Diogo Soares (Brazil) 13.500
3. Yang Haonan (China) 13.475
Sydney Barros of the United States qualified with the top result to the vault final, but the gold medal ended up around the neck of the other American finalist, Kayla Di Cello (14.166), who just edged Great Britain’s Jennifer Gadirova (14.133 with impeccable execution but less difficulty) for the win and for the first American gold medal of the competition. Vladislava Urazova of Russia (14.116) took the bronze medal in the highly entertaining final.
“It feels really good, I’m really proud of how I did today. Before it got to my turn on the runway, I was just keeping calm, thinking about this is what I do every day, this is the same vault I always do. The standard of competition is really good, it helps me to try to be the best that I can – the Russians have been impressive!” – Di Cello told in the mixed zone.
1. Kayla Di Cello (United States) 14.166
2. Jennifer Gadirova (Great Britain) 14.133
3. Anastasiia Motak (Ukraine) 13.950
Russia’s Vladislava Urazova flew early into a lead with a 14.433 score, and that was better than the highest qualification score for the final, set by her teammate, Viktoriia Listunova. It was up to the others to take the challenge. No-one could meet it, Urazova finished first with her 5.900 difficulty routine, closely followed by all-around winner Listunova. Wei Xiaoyuan of China was the third gymnast on the podium, just by 0.034 in front of Skye Blakely of the United States.
„We were planning with this gold medal on uneven bars, I managed to do a fine routine and I got a higher execution score than in the qualifications. It feels wonderful to be a champion, I am over the moon, really! I’m happy and tired – fortunately the happiness carries me over the tiredness. I also have a bronze medal from the vault final, and I am content with that as well – I’ve performed better vaults before, but I’ll take this, I am not disappointed." – Urazova said.
1. Vladislava Urazova (Russia) 14.433
2. Viktoriia Listunova (Russia) 14.200
3. Wei Xiaoyuan (China) 13.800
The Junior World Championships concludes with five apparatus finals on Sunday (MAG: vault, parallel bars, horizontal bar; WAG: balance beam, floor) – we can count on a crowd on fire, as Hungarian favourite Krisztián Balázs has qualified both to the parallel bars and the horizontal bar final. FIG Channel is livestreaming internationally, while Hungarian fans can follow a livestream on m4sport.hu.