Artistic Gymnastics

Liu Yang and Fan Yilin dazzle in Chinese national apparatus finals

World champions Liu and Fan scored respective wins in the rings and uneven bars, as Xiao Ruoteng was pipped by Zou Jingyuan on the pommel horse.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Liu Yang and Fan Yilin rolled back the years to claim individual apparatus titles at the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Championships on Sunday (27 September).

2014 rings world champion Liu was quite brilliant as he won his specialist event by over four-tenths.

Fan, a two-time world champion on the uneven bars, was also a class apart in Zhaoqing with all-around winner Liu Tingting back in third.

Meanwhile, Xiao Ruoteng was edged out by Zou Jingyuan on the pommel horse with Zou's superior execution marks breaking a tie for first place.

Xiao failed to win medals on the rings and the floor with the latter won by Rio 2016 team bronze medallist Deng Shudi.

Qi Qi backed up her third in the all-around with victory in the vault.

Zou Jingyuan pipped Xiao Ruoteng to win the pommel horse at the 2020 Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Zhaoqing

Olympians show their class in Zhaoqing

The first event on the first day of apparatus finals at the Chinese nationals was the men's floor.

With all-around winner Sun Wei electing not to take part, Deng Shudi - twice a team world champion - was last to go with Wang Haoran's 14.466 the target.

Boasting the highest difficulty score in the field, top qualifier Shudi was solid in his execution as he scored 14.666 to claim his first gold of these championships.

Wang was second ahead of Zhou Caisong with Xiao Ruoteng finishing fourth.

Next up was the women's vault where Qi Qi, who finished fifth at last year's World Championships, reclaimed her title.

The 16-year-old from Beijing shared gold with Liu Jinru in 2018, and the Henan athlete was bidding for a fourth consecutive title.

Qi scored 14.400 with her first vault and 14.733 for her second, a handspring front straight salto with one-and-a-half twist known as a Chusovitina - named after seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina - or a Rudi.

That gave her an average of 14.566, more than four-tenths clear of Yu Linmin with Liu having to settle for bronze.

Women's vault winner Qi Qi, seen here competing at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart

The men's pommel horse was filled with drama.

Having finished outside the top eight with a disappointing 13.800 in qualifying, two-time world parallel bars champion Zou Jingyuan was able to compete as a reserve after Lan Xingyu chose not to take his place in the final.

The 22-year-old, who finished fourth at last year's World Championships, made full use of his chance with a score of 15.100 including an impressive 9.000 for execution.

Xiao, the 2018 world champion on this apparatus, had a difficulty value of 6.400 for his routine but could only tie Lan's total with Lan's superior execution marks giving him the win.

Friday's all-around champion Sun Wei came off during his circles sequence to finish down in seventh place with Wang Junwen taking bronze.

There was concern at the start of the uneven bars final as Zhou Ruiyu inexplicably lost her grip on the bottom bar and fell on her upper back.

She appeared to be fine and watched on from the sidelines with ice applied to the nape of her neck.

Yesterday's all-around winner and reigning national uneven bars champion Liu Tingting went into the lead with a fluid routine which earned her 14.700.

Lu Yufei's hopes were over at the start of her performance as she failed to hang on to straddled Tkatchev and landed on her knees.

She was able to resume but her score of 12.733 would not trouble the leaders.

Cheng Shiyi, who was fourth in qualifying, then moved ahead of Liu with a fine score of 14.866.

But Fan Yilin, the only woman to score 15-plus in qualifying, showed her class with a routine full of wonderful transitions capped by the dismount taking her name.

The Shanghai athlete, who won team bronze at Rio 2016, had the highest difficulty value of 6.5 and high execution marks of 8.733 for a total of 15.233 and her first national title for four years.

Two-time world champion Fan Yilin claimed the uneven bars title at the 2020 Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Zhaoqing

Liu Yang was first to go in the rings, and he put the result beyond doubt with a stunning display.

With a difficulty value of 6.5, he was always going to be tough to beat and he made an L Cross Press into Inverted Cross look easy.

He was awarded execution marks of 8.9 for a total of 15.400 which was too much for his rivals.

Lan Xingyu took second with 14.933 ahead of You Hao on 14.800.

Xiao missed out on the medals for the second time on Sunday as Sun Wei's disappointing day came to an end as he stumbled and put both hands down on landing to finish down in eighth place.

The Chinese nationals conclude on Monday with the last set of apparatus finals.