Chinese women strike team silver at World Gymnastics

Glasgow, Oct 28 (IANS) After an error-prone qualification round on their best events, China regained their form in the final to secure the women’s team silver medal for the second straight year at the World Gymnastics Championships here.

China, who finished a disappointing fourth in the qualifications, on Tuesday got off to a flying start in their traditionally dominant event of uneven bars. Fan Yilin, captain Shang Chunsong and Tan Jiaxin all scored more than 15 points, reports Xinhua.

Their only mistake came on the balance beam when world championships debutant Wang Yan fell off the apparatus. Improved work on vault and in floor exercise helped them seal the silver medal with a total of 176.164 points.

The US won their third consecutive world title with a dominant 181.338 points. Britain shocked the world by winning their first team medal in history with 172.380, beating last year’s bronze winners Russia to the fourth place.

“I am very satisfied with our girls’ performance today,” said Chinese women’s coach Xiong Jingbin. “We have two world champions, Cheng Ran and Huang Huidan, rested at home because of injuries. But the youngsters did exceptionally well.”

Xiong said his team has already closed the gap with the US and they have a serious chance of winning the title in the Rio Olympics.

“We are aware that the US team remains very strong overall, but I think we are doing better in some details,” he said.

But the American women, who have won all the major titles since 2011, established themselves once again as the gold medal favourites in Rio.

The star-studded US team, including two-time London Olympic gold medallists Gabrielle Douglas and Aly Raisman, two-time world all-around champion Simone Biles and reinforcements Margaret Nichols, Madison Kocian and Brenna Dowell, performed up to their own high expectations in the final to win their fifth world gold since 2003 in style.

In a competition that left no room for error — three gymnasts compete per event, and all three scores count — the US was the only team in the eight-country final not to record a fall.

The Americans were in charge from their first event, vault, and also excelled on balance beam and floor exercise, finishing 5.174 points above the Chinese.

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