In yet another electrifying evening of world class gymnastics, athletes from eight countries went head to head at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena, on the final night of the inaugural World Cup Gymnastics event to be held in Australia.
Tonight was the second night of the World Cup finals, seeing the top eight gymnasts from qualifications on each apparatus, take to the arena in the Men’s Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar, and Women’s Beam and Floor divisions.
Japan’s key athletes, Kenzo Shirai, edged out 2016 Australian Vault Champion, Chris Remkes, for the top spot on Vault. He scored 14.916 ahead of Remkes’ 14.883. This result serves as Shirai’s second gold medal of the Melbourne leg of the World Cup Series. At the Rio Olympics, Shirai took home the Bronze Medal on this apparatus. Japan’s Wataru Tanigawa came third, with 14.566.
Australian Clay Stephens executed two sensational vaults, but just missed out on the medals in fifth place. He scored 13.983.
Both Remkes and Stephens are off to Doha and Baku for the next two stops on this World Cup series.
Tonight’s performance shook off a few competition jitters for Remkes.
“I was so nervous but I’m very happy I pulled through. Baku and Doha should be good. Hopefully I can do the same thing there,” he said following the medal ceremony.
Chinese athlete Tingting Liu walked away with her second Melbourne World Cup gold, this time on Women’s Beam, with a score of 14.766.
Rio Olympic Champion, Sanne Wevers, pirouetted her way into second position. The Dutch athlete is known for her mastery of pivots. She even has a skill named after her; a double turn on one foot with a straight leg held horizontally in front of her body. She scored 14.500 tonight.
Emily Little, the Silver Medallist on beam at the 2016 Australian Gymnastics Championships, won a World Cup bronze with her virtually wobble-free routine. Her score was 13.233.
“I’m really happy… I didn’t expect to come third so I’m just over the moon,” Little said following the competition.
Local luminary, Emma Nedov, took a fall on her first aerial line and scored 12.366. She came fifth, a very respectable ranking within a field of this calibre.
A near perfect routine from Chinese Jingyuan Zou took the Men’s Parallel Bars title. His winning score was 15.166.
Japan’s Shirai outdid a very strong routine by Turkey’s Ferhat Arican for the Silver Medal. Shirai scored 14.433; Arican scored 13.566.
Fresh from his strong performance on Vault, Stephens, opened up the arena on Parallel Bars, scoring 12.933 and succeeded to place fourth. Fellow Aussie Mitchell Morgans came in fifth with a score of 12.533.
The Australian athletes continued to shine on the Women’s Floor; a rotation that saw both representatives make the dais. Aussie Dynamo, Emily Little, somersaulted her way to success. She finished with a gold medal winning score of 13.400.
“I came in tonight thinking that I just wanted to hit my routines clean. I was just aiming for the bronze medal so to come first is just amazing.”
Her teammate, Georgia Godwin, took the silver in her only appearance of this leg of the World Cup series. Godwin scored 12.800.
Despite a fall on her back layout two and a half twist, young Chinese gymnast Tingting Liu was a delight to watch. She missed out on her third gold medal of the series, but came away with the bronze. Her score was 12.733.
In the final rotation for the 2017 Melbourne World Cup – the of crowd-pleasing Men’s Horizontal Bar – Japan’s Kenzo Shirai dropped jaws with his lovely clean lines and impossibly high releases. He took out the competition with his score of 13.933.
A superb routine from Aussie Mitchell Morgans nudged Japan’s Yusuke Saito out of the Silver Medal position. Morgans scored 13.400 and Saito, 13.333.
The other Australian representative, Michael Mercieca, landed just 0.033 points away from gaining a medal.
Tonight’s Horizontal Bar final was a largely faultless affair from most; compared with the qualification round in which six out of eight gymnasts took falls.
FULL RESULTS: gymnasticsworldcup.com.au/results
Tonight’s session concludes the Melbourne’s leg of the International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) Individual Apparatus World Cup Series for 2017. Selected gymnasts from each country will now travel to Doha, Qatar, and Baku, Azerbaijan, for the next two instalments of the series.
Gymnastics Australia looks forward to welcoming everyone back to Melbourne for the 2018 World Cup Gymnastics. The 2018 event will once again be held at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena, from February 22 to 25.