After European Championships at the end of April, our focus shifted all the way around the globe to watch this year’s Chinese Nationals, featuring some familiar faces and also some new comers who have burst into the scene more recently. Starting off with qualifications that also served at a team final competition between the different provincial teams, the gymnasts went on to show their skills and celebrate the best of the country.
During team finals, the Guangdong province featuring young star Liu Tingting, Chen Yile, Zhu Xiaofang, Liu Jingxing, Hong Ke and Xu Chujun took the title with a total of 213.900 after a generally solid day with some mistakes here and there. Starting on beam, they were able to count two scores in the mid to high-13s from Chen and Zhu, both showing floaty layouts at the beginning of their routines and finishing with triple twist dismounts, with only small wobbles and broken connections impacting their scores, while Liu Jingxing scored a tiny bit lower despite also hitting her routine cleanly. Unfortunately, Liu Tingting was unable to match her teammates’ performances and fell on her FHS to front tuck, after already having a big wobble on her front pike mount which meant she only reached the high-12s. She was, however, able to recover quickly and posted the best score of the team on floor with 13.400 after combining difficult tumbling with clean execution and expressiveness. The Guangdong girls were then able to count three other hit routines from Liu Jingxing, Zhu and Chen, all posting in the mid-12s due to their lower level of difficulty and some execution errors, though Jingxing is boosting a double layout and a full-in as her first two passes and looks very promising on the event. On vault, Chen, Hong and both Lius all performed FTYs, scoring in the mid-13s with only minor form and landing issues, while on bars Zhu was the top scorer with 14.350 after very clean pirouettes but a somewhat low full-in dismount, with Chen receiving a high-13 for her routine that featured a Maloney to Gienger connection and a layout jaeger, albeit a bit pikey. On the other hand, both Tingting and Jingxing had small mistakes, with the former showing a small hesitation on one of her pirouettes, piking down considerably but recovering well, whereas Jingxing had some leg separation on transitions and caught her Maloney to Tkachev quite close to the bar.
In second place was Beijing featuring Olympian Wang Yan, Fu Xiaqiuran, Qi Qi, Du Siyu, Jing Yang and Tang Xijing finishing with a total of 211.350, after a great performance on vault but issues on beam and floor. Starting on uneven bars, they counted two scores in the low-14s from Fu and Du, with the first girl showing a lot of pirouette skills and a very original double twisting fly away dismount, while Du presented a great combination of Maloney to giant full to Tkachev to Gienger, equally beautiful pirouettes and a very floaty double layout dismount. Despite their lower difficulty, Tang and Wang both hit their routines and were able to receive scores in the low to mid-13s. Moving on to beam, Wang posted in the mid to high-13s after a super high and super clean layout but wobbles on some of her skills and a downgraded double twist dismount, while Du received a 13 even due to wobbles on some of her skills but a generally solid set. Tang, however, fell on her round-off to layout but still managed to hit the rest of her routine to score in the high-12s, whereas Jing only reached the low-12s after nearly falling off on her layout and counting wobbles on most of her skills, as well as being a bit short on her leaps. Both Tang and Jing were able to make up for their lackluster beam rotation by coming back on floor to hit their routines cleanly, posting in the mid-12s mostly due to their low-difficulty. Fu also had a mostly clean routine, with just some leg form issues on her triple twist to receive a low-12, whereas Du scored just below 12 after falling on her 2.5 twist to front full, though she did stick her triple twist and double pike dismount. Finishing up on vault, the Beijing girls were able to really show their talent and post the highest total of the day on any event after counting a huge 14.600 for Qi’s nice DTY, as well as a low to mid-14 for Wang’s double twisting Tsukahara and also receiving scores in the mid-13s for Du’s and Tang’s simple but clean FTYs.
With a final score of 207.250, the Hunan province represented by Olympians Shang Chunsong and Tan Jiaxin, as well as Luo Youjuan, Chen Xiaoqing, Xie Yufen and Wang Cenyu took the bronze medal after slightly lower difficulty and some mistakes on their routines. Starting their day on beam, the Hunan girls were able to count three scores in the mid-13s after Shang and Wang had solid performances but wobbled on some skills, while Luo fell on her layout but was super solid on everything else. They also counted a mid-12 from Chen who fell on her LOSO but hit the rest of her exercise cleanly. Next on floor, their highest score came from Shang who presented her old routine with some downgrades and had small execution issues to post in the low-13s, while Xie received a low-12 and Tan scored in the high-11s after both hit their routines but boosted low difficulty scores, as well as poor form on some skills. Unfortunately, Chen was unable to make up for her beam fall and fell once again on floor on her already underrotated and quite messy triple twist to front tuck, scoring in the low-11s after also showing very poor choreography and expressiveness. On vault, Tan, Luo, Wang and Chen all vaulted FTYs, scoring in the low to mid-13s and lastly on bars their highest scores were in the mid-13s range from Wang with a hit but low-difficulty routine and Xie who has a 6.0 D-score but counted mistakes into her routine. Sadly, both Shang and Tan counted falls in their exercises, with the former posting in the high-12s after a very close catch on her Shaposhnikova to Gienger and a fall on a pirouette skill, whereas Tan scored just 12.000.
Missing the podium by less than a point were the girls from Zhejiang (Sheng Jingyi, Li Qi, Luo Huan, Lyu Jiaqi, Huang Huidan and Hu Mengyao) finishing in fourth place with a total of 206.300, followed by the Shanghai province featuring Olympians Fan Yilin and Mao Yi, Huang Yijing, Zhang Jin, Xu Li and Chen Linna in fifth with 204.950. In sixth place was Hubei with Yan Sisi, Liu Jieyu, Wu Jing, Gong Kangyi, Guo Fangting and Liu Xing scoring a total of 201.450, followed by Hebei (Li Hairuo, Hou Siru, Chen Jiaqi, Wu Mengyao, Zhang Wenxin) in seventh with 199.350 and Tianjin (Jiang Tong, Cheng Shiqi, Li Yanye, Zhu Yunliang, Li Linpang, Xia Qingqing) in eighth with 199.150.
On the men’s side, Jiangsu featuring Sun Wei and You Hao won the team title with a total of 331.650, followed closely by Guangdong who posted 330.050 to place second, while Guangxi with Deng Shudi was third with 329.250.
For the most part, this team competition doesn’t mean much as girls from different teams can be selected to the national team regardless of how their team does at nationals. Still, it’s a great opportunity for the gymnasts to experience a team competition atmosphere rather than just compete for themselves as individuals. As a whole, it certainly helps develop some sense of identity and comradery among the team and offer yet another chance for the girls to show off their skills.
Full results here.