World All-around champions Simone Biles (USA) and Artur Dalaloyan (RUS) each added one more gold medal Friday in the apparatus finals at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha (QAT), where Xiao Ruoteng (CHN), Nina Derwael (BEL), and Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE) also struck gold.
Biles wins first world Vault title
Biles claimed her third gold medal of the competition following victories in the team and All-around in Doha. Second on Vault in 2013 and 2014 and third in 2015, the Rio Olympic champion snagged her first world Vault title in Doha. She competed a Cheng Fei (6.0 Difficulty) and Amanar (5.8 D) vaults, opting not to attempt her new 6.4-tariffed “Biles” she debuted earlier in the week.
Canada’s Shallon Olsen competed a Cheng and double-twisting Yurchenko to take silver, the first world medal on Vault and third medal ever for the Canadian women.
Seventh in 2011, 2014 and 2015, Alexa Moreno made history by taking bronze, the first world medal in history for a Mexican woman and second medal for Mexico following Daniel Corral’s silver on Pommel Horse in 2013.
“It’s awesome,” said the Mexicali native of her historic medal. “It’s overwhelming, too. We have that kind of possibility to be at the high level, and that’s amazing because, knowing that we can be there and it can be real, I can keep dreaming. Because it really can come true.”
Derwael strikes historic gold for Belgium
Nina Derwael delivered a huge routine on Uneven Bars for a gold medal, the first gold in history for Belgium at the world championships and the best result since Belgian male gymnasts won silver at the very first world championships, held in Antwerp in 1903.
“It was one of my best routines that I’ve done here so far,” said Derwael, the bronze medallist on Uneven Bars in 2017. “I slightly over-rotated my full turn before my dismount, but my dismount was great, so I’m very, very happy with my performance. I felt a lot of stress before mounting the bars, but once I got into my rhythm, I could feel, ‘Yeah, it’s going great,’ and continued like that. Then, when I stuck my landing, it was just a relief.”
Biles won silver, her fourth medal in Doha, in her second appearance in a world Uneven Bars final since 2013.
“It’s good to get a medal, because I’m feeling pretty confident on that event, and that’s the first time in a while that I’ve felt really comfortable,” says Biles, who took a year off competition in 2017. “Second Bars final, first Bars medal, so I’m very proud of myself, and I’m so thankful to have (coaches) Laurent (Landi) and Cécile (Canqueteau-Landi) by my side.”
Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz, a two-time Olympic Uneven Bars finalist, nailed her routine for 14.600 to take bronze. It is the first medal for Seitz in eight world championships and the first medal for a unified Germany on the event, and comes two days before her 25th birthday.
Dalaloyan delivers with second gold
Dalaloyan added to his growing collection of titles by winning Floor Exercise, the first world apparatus title for the Russian men since Denis Ablyazin won the same event in 2014. The final gymnast in the lineup, Dalaloyan edged three-time world champion Kenzo Shirai (JPN), 14.900-14.866. Shirai had the most difficult routine of the final with 6.8, but Dalaloyan’s 8.700 in Execution was far higher than Shirai’s 8.066.
Dalaloyan said he was inspired after receiving a telegram of congratulations from the Russian President, and that he relaxed before anchoring the final.
“Today I tried an experiment,” he said. “I was sitting and didn’t train before my performance. I prepared myself mentally, without an extras. I focused, came out and performed. I just did my thing.”
Carlos Yulo (PHI) already made history in Doha by qualifying to the final, a first for a Filipino gymnast, and went one better in the final by taking the bronze with a score of 14.600.
Xiao dethrones Whitlock
Xiao, who led China to gold in the team event, was elated to win another gold medal after losing gold in the All-around to Dalaloyan via a tie-break. Friday he was the beneficiary of the tie-break, edging Max Whitlock (GBR), the two-time defending champion and Olympic champion.
“Max is a superstar, but he made some little mistakes, so I think I was a little better than he was,” said Xiao, who added half a point in difficulty for the final. “Apparently the judges preferred my performance. It’s my honour that the judges admired it.”
Lee Chih-Kai (TPE) won the bronze, the second world medal for Chinese Taipei and first in 25 years.
Petrounias pulls off win for Greece
Petrounias, the two-time defending champion and 2016 Olympic champion, nailed his routine as the first gymnast up in the lineup and scored 15.366. Suffering from a shoulder injury, Petrounias originally withdrew from the competition before changing his mind and travelling in Doha to defend his title. The top qualifier, he performed an even stronger routine in the final and said as soon as he stuck his dismount he was confident of winning gold.
Petrounias said he was motivated by the large turnout of supporters from Doha’s Greek community.
“It was amazing!” he said. “The hall was full of Greeks – I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect so many Greeks! When I went to go up on the podium, my coach said, ‘Do it for them.'”
2012 Olympic champion Arthur Zanetti (BRA) won silver with 15.366 over Marco Lodadio (ITA), who won his first world medal with the bronze.
Competition concludes Saturday with the second day of apparatus finals.