And before we knew it, the 2016-2017 Apparatus World Cup circuit came to an end in Doha, in the last weekend of March. Some of the usual competitors made one final appearance, hoping to add a few more points to their World Cup ranking and get some more practice as we get closer and closer to the big meets of the season.
On the women’s side, veteran Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan once again captured the vault title after averaging 14.166 for two very solid vaults: a front layout full with a hop and a Tsukahara with 1.5 twists landed with a small hop out-of-bounds. Recreating the Baku vault podium, Chusovitina was followed by Emily Little of Australia with the silver and Slovenia’s Teja Belak with the bronze after successful vaults from both. Little scored an average of 14.099 after a solid DTY with a hop forward and a Tsukahara with a full twist landed with a small hop back, while Belak was less than 0.020 behind her with 14.083 after a front layout full with a sizable step back and a very clean Yurchenko 1.5 with a hop forward. Outside the podium were Zsofia Kovacs of Hungary in fourth with 13.933, Belak’s teammate Tjasa Kysselef in fifth with 13.516, Yulia Inshina of Azerbaijan in sixth with 13.133, Chaimaa Zemzami of Morocco in seventh with 12.749 and lastly Doga Ozgocmez of Turkey in eighth with 12.383.
On the uneven bars, Luo Huan of China took the gold medal after performing her routine cleanly, including a combination of some intricate pirouette work and a piked jaeger and finishing with a stuck double layout dismount for a score of 14.433. Nearly a point and a half behind her was silver medalist Zsofia Kovacs with 13.066 after showing a solid routine that included a beautiful connection of inbar to inbar full to Maloney to pak but falling on her full-in dismount at the end. Georgia-Rose Brown of Australia took the bronze with 13.033 after showing a Chow to bail and Maloney to pak connection but catching her pak too close to the low bar, which caused her to lose some momentum and leg form. In fourth place was Luo’s teammate Liu Tingting with 13.000 after falling on one of her pirouettes, while in fifth was Rianna Mizzen of Australia with 12.966. Lynn Genhart of Switzerland was sixth with 12.833, Vendula Merkova of the Czech Republic was seventh with 12.400 and Ivana Kamnikar of Slovenia was eighth with 12.400.
Fortunately, Liu Tingting was able to recover very well from her disappointing bars final and came back to win both the beam and floor finals. On beam she was incredibly solid on every skill and connection, including a front pike mount, a FHS to front tuck, a front aerial to ring jump to Korbut and a double tuck dismount with just a small step forward for a score of 14.466. In second place was three-time Olympian Catalina Ponor of Romania with 13.900 after starting her exercise with a big wobble on her LOSO mount but looking clean on everything else and showing some interesting connections, such as a switch leap to Kochetkova and an Onodi to split jump to Omelianchik, before dismounting with a high double pike with a tiny step. Bars Champion Luo Huan eventually took bronze with a score of 13.700 after a good performance albeit with some wobbles on her round-off to layout series and at the end of her mega connection of front aerial to split jump to Onodi to switch leap to wolf jump. This time Emily Little was fourth with 13.200, followed by Ana Derek of Croatia in fifth with 12.833, Goksu Uctas Sanli of Turkey in sixth with 12.700, Emma Nedov of Australia in seventh with 12.433 and Zsofia Kovacs in eighth with 12.100 after falling on her BHS to LOSO series.
In the second final of the day, Liu Tingting took yet another gold for her entertaining routine that featured a triple twist to front tuck with a tiny hop, a double L turn, a 2.5 twists with a step forward and a double tuck with a hop, scoring 13.366 despite her somewhat low difficulty (4.9 D-score). Finishing in second place, Emily Little was able to once again medal on floor after sticking her opening double layout pass and landing her other tumbles with just small steps or hops for a score of 13.133, while Ana Derek took the bronze with 12.900 for her exercise that included difficult dance elements like a Gogean leap, a ring leap full to switch full connection and a Memmel turn, as well as a tucked full-in, a front tuck through to double tuck and a 2.5 twists dismount, all cleanly performed and landed with only small hops. In fourth place was Zsofia Kovacs with 12.633 who once again missed the podium despite having a relatively clean exercise, followed by Goksu Uctas Sanli in fifth with 12.600. The Czech twins Vendula and Adela Merkova were sixth and seventh with scores of 12.433 and 12.300, respectively, and finally Oksana Chusovitina was eighth with 12.266, mostly due to her 4.2-difficulty.
On the men’s side, Tang Chia-Hung from the Chinese Taipei took the floor title with 14.366, while 2012 Olympic Champion Kristian Berki of Hungary won the gold on pommel horse with 14.933, claiming back his title of pommels king and Artur Tovmasyan of Armenia captured the title on rings with 15.133, edging out Igor Radivilov of Ukraine by less than a tenth. On vault, Le Thanh Tung of Vietnam won the gold medal with an average of 14.733 after a clean front layout 2.5 twists with a small hop forward and a Tsukhara with 2.5 twists landed with just a tiny hop, while Chinese Zou Jingyuan took the title on parallel bars with a huge score of 15.900 after being the first to break the 16s mark during qualifications and his teammates Xiao Ruoteng won high bar with 14.533.
With this final stop, the FIG Apparatus World Cup circuit is finished for the season and other meets will take center stage in the sport of gymnastics. The World Cup series will continue for the 2017-2018 season later this year in Cottbus and champions will be crowned after the results from both seasons are combined. Until then, European Championships will keep us gymfans busy for the time being and other meets will continue to surface as we get closer and closer to the biggest event of the season with the World Championships in Montreal this October.