Hosts Hungary with a bronze; Japan and Russia roll on! Recap of Day 2 of the finals
The inaugural FIG Junior Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Győr, Hungary concluded on Sunday with five apparatus finals. Our new World Champions are: Gabriel Burtanete (Romania, vault), Takeru Kitazono (Japan, parallel bars), Nazar Chepurnyi (Ukraine, horizontal bar), Elena Gerasimova (Russia, balance beam) and Viktoriia Listunova (Russia, floor). The home crowd could rejoice for the bronze medal of Krisztián Balázs on horizontal bar.
Japan and Russia dominated the MAG and the WAG competition respectively at the 1st Junior World Championships that concluded on Sunday in Győr’s Audi Arena.
Top qualifier Gabriel Burtanete of Romania took the initiative in the final as well, his two over 14 points vaults propelling him to top position (14.424). An anxious wait followed for the Romanian team, but nobody managed to get really close – Gabriel Burtanete secured the gold medal (and also, Romania’s first gold medal of the competition), Yang Haonan of China was the runner-up, Jasper Gordon-Smith took a bronze for Great Britain.
„I am perfectly satisfied with my performance in the final, I felt really good. I went in with no fear. The whole Junior Worlds was a great experience for me, I loved the atmosphere here in Győr” – commented Burtanete, who entered the mixed zone draped in a huge Romanian flag.
1. Gabriel Burtanete (Romania) 14.424
2. Yang Haonan (China) 14.300
3. Jasper Gordon-Smith (Great Britain) 14.183
The home fans gave a huge ovation for Krisztián Balázs before a complete hush fell over the Audi Aréna – the Hungarian crowd’s favorite scored 13.366, which was not enough to reach the podium but took him to 5th spot. Favourite Takeru Kitazono gave a fantastic performance and reaped the rewards with the gold medal in front of Yang Haonan and Shinnosuke Oka – his third of the competition.
”I believed I can win the parallel bars final, if I do the routine normally, that should be the strongest one. I’m very happy things worked out and I took the gold medal” – said Kitazono after his third gold medal of the event.
1. Takeru Kitazono (Japan) 14.266
2. Yang Haonan (China) 13.900
3. Shinnosuke Oka (Japan) 13.766
…5. Krisztián Balázs (Hungary) 13.366
The “final of finals” is always a great show, and it was – especially that Krisztián Balázs did what the Hungarian crowd craved for and got on the podium with a bronze medal, overtaken only by eventual winner Nazar Chepurnyi (Ukraine – first gold for Ukraine) and Ivan Gerget of Russia.
“I've had a slight mistake on parallel bars, but I kind of felt the horizontal bar much better throughout the whole week. It's fantastic that I medaled at the very first Junior Worlds in Győr, in front of a home crowd! I cannot get a rest yet, because the EYOF is coming up in Baku" – Balázs said in the mixed zone.
“I've trained a lot, I've prepared a lot, I was still very nervous, so the Junior Worlds were a mixed bag – some things worked out great, some things worked out not so great. But this is a great finish and a wonderful result! Győr is beautiful, the organisation was amazing, the hall is great but it was pretty difficult to get used to such a big competition venue! At first I was very nervous and mentally the competition was a tough test for me. When I finished my routine and waited for the scores for the other gymnasts – well, that was nerve-wrecking! But I did everything well, and when the final score flashed and I saw I won – that happiness just cannot be put in words!" – World Champion Chepurnyi commented.
1. Nazar Chepurnyi (Ukraine) 13.700
2. Ivan Gerget (Russia) 13.600
3. Krisztián Balázs (Hungary) 13.400
Only the two Chinese gymnasts entered the final with a 14 point or over score, but Ou Yushan – the best qualifier – made a mistake, denting her chances. Wei Xiaoyuan fared better, but Elena Gerasimova of Russia hit her high-difficulty routine beautifully, went into the lead with 14.200 and got the gold medal. It was the fourth gold medal for the Russian women at the Junior Worlds! Wei Xiaoyuan took the silver with her superior execution breaking the tie with Kayla Di Cello.
“I’m feeling wonderful, everything went fine! I was able to give a hundred percent performance, I gave everything I could, it was my best performance possible. I loved this competition, it was also great to cheer for my teammates the day before, I was rooting so much for them!” – Gerasimova said.
1. Elena Gerasimova (Russia) 14.200
2. Wei Xiaoyuan (China) 13.733
3. Kayla Di Cello (United States) 13.733
Russia’s Viktoriia Listunova came as a favorite to the final and delivered, getting 14.166 points and recording an emphatic win in style. Ou Yushan of China and Elena Gerasimova of Russia completed the top three, concluding a highly successful Junior Worlds for the Russian team! Russia totally dominated the WAG sessions with five gold medals – and all their gymnasts recorded at least one individual gold!
“I am a bit tired by the end of the Junior Worlds, it was a really tough competition, but I managed to do a good performance, corrected things and I feel really fine now. My sock came halfway off during the floor routine, but it was not problematic at all, we are gymnasts, these things happen in training is well, so everything went on normally. I was quite emotional indeed after my routines, all the tension came out when I finished them and it just feels like a weight falling off my shoulders! Now I can go home, get a rest and then will work to correct my mistakes!” – Gerasimova commented in the mixed zone.
“Of course I am really happy with this win, I feel fine! These four days were really intense to us! This week was very tiring, the acclimatization was tough after the flight. We hoped for these results, because we knew that we have a good chance to get wins. We were keeping an eye on the rivals and did our routines the best way possible" – Listunova added.
1. Viktoriia Listunova 14.166
2. Ou Yushan 13.833
3. Elena Gerasimova 13.533