With the beginning of yet another season, a new World Cup circuit is here and the individual apparatus series just started this weekend in Melbourne, Australia. Despite only attracting a small number of gymnasts on both the men’s and women’s side, this was a very entertaining competition and showed some very promising performances.
On vault, tiny Wang Yan from China easily took the Gold after receiving an average of 14.250 for her usual difficult vaults: a Tsukahara double twist with a low landing and a small step out-of-bounds and a nearly stuck Rudi. Right behind her was home girl Emily Little with a final score of 14.199 for her easier but cleaner performance, presenting a DTY with a step back and a Tsukahara full with a hop on landing. The bronze medal went another Aussie girl, Naomi Lee, with 13.383 thanks to her solid FTY and Tsukahara layout with a big hop back. Outside the podium were Malasyian gymnasts Tan Ing Yueh and Tracie Ang with 13.166 (Tan Ing got fourth because of highest single vault score while Ang got fifth), followed by Caitlin Todd of New Zealand in sixth with 13.049 and Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan in seventh with 12.649.
For the uneven bars, the title went to another Chinese girl, with 16-year-old Liu Tingting taking the title with a total of 14.300 for her difficult and beautiful routine that included a Maloney to pak, a piked jaeger and intricate pirouette work. In second place was Liu’s teammate Luo Huan receiving a score of 13.866 after showing a very similar routine albeit with a small error on one of her pirouettes, which brought down her score from qualifications. Rianna Mizzen of Australia took the bronze with a 13.433 for her difficult routine that included an incredibly badass connection of Weiler kip to Weiler half to Maloney to Hindorff to pak but also featured some mistakes. The remaining finalists were Australia’s Georgia-Rose Brown in fourth with 13.066, Tracie Ang in fifth with 11.800 and Tan Ing Yueh in sixth with 11.033.
Beam brought Liu Tingting yet another gold after one of the best performances of her career that included some innovative connections such as FHS to front tuck, switch ring to BHS or front walkover to Yang Bo to Korbut, as well as a front tuck mount and a double tuck dismount for a huge 14.766. The silver medal belonged to 2016 Olympic Champion Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands who made her return to competition here, scoring 14.500 for her always elegant and original routine after perfecting some details from qualifications. In third place, over a full point behind the top two finalists, was Emily Little after receiving a 13.233 for her solid but lower difficulty performance that also included some wobbles and balance checks. Completing the rankings were Luo Huan in fourth with 12.866 after falling on her double pike dismount, Emma Nedov in fifth with 12.366, Tan Ing Yueh in sixth with 12.300, Estella Matthewson of New Zealand in seventh with 11.633 and Tracie Ang in eighth with 11.500.
Finally on floor, with top qualifier Wang Yan pulling out of the competition, the crowd went wild with Emily Litte and Georgia Godwin of Australia going 1-2 on the podium after very impressive performances. Little took the gold with 13.400 after sticking her double layout and landing all her other passes upright with just small hops, while also presenting expressive and engaging choreography. Godwin, on the other hand, had some execution issues on her routine to score just 12.800, though that seemed a bit too harsh given her exercise. In fact, third place finisher Liu Tingting scored 12.733 after falling on her 2.5 twists, but actually got a higher execution score than Godwin even though she didn’t count any big mistakes in her routine. In fourth place was Tracie Ang with 12.466, in fifth was Tan Ing Yueh with 12.000, in sixth was Estella Matthewson with 11.833 and in seventh was Isabella Brett of New Zealannd with 10.800.
On the men’s side, Kenzo Shirai of Japan was the true start taking gold on his two favorite events vault and floor with scores in the high-14s, while also winning the title on high bar with 13.933 after others had mistakes that took them out of contention. The other three events had different winners, with 2012 Olympic Champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary taking the gold on pommels with a score just below 15, Zou Jingyuan of China winning parallel bars with 15.166 and two Chinese teammates Wu Guanhua and Zou Jingyuan tying for the title on rings with 14.866.
While this wasn’t a very competitive meet with just enough gymnasts to fill all eight event final spots on most apparatus, it was the first test under the new code of points for many of these gymnasts and once again served to show how routines will be constructed and scored in this current quad. Nonetheless, some of the top players actually showed world and Olympic level performances that could help them reach the top of their respective teams for the coming season and even challenge for medals at continental and world championships. It is now up to them and their coaches to perfect their routines and figure out how to best work the new code of points in order to improve their scoring potential and become even more competitive.
Full results here.