January 17, 2009

AYOF: Event Finals, Day 1

Day 1 of the event finals finally saw the host nation win some individual medals, with Emily Little and Britt Greeley going 1-2 in the women's vault final and the Australian men picking up three medals on floor and rings. The Chinese men also got a few medals, including the gold on rings, but it was the Brits who were the most successful nation, picking up two golds, one silver, and one bronze to add to their tally. We'd dearly love to see some videos of their performances now...

Vault winner Emily Little (photo: Stefan Wurzer/Gymnasticsunited)


Chachakid has videos of the women's event finals. Have a look for yourself and see what you think!

The girls had one vault each, and aside from Fu Bo, who did a handspring-piked front, they all chose Yurchenko-entry vaults. Pre-meet favorite Natsumi Sasada threw the only double-twisting Yurchenko in the final, but fell, only to finish fifth. She shared that position with Cui Jie, who sat down on her 1.5-twisting Yurchenko. Cui has a strange twisting technique; she twists very late and very fast. We're not sure whether that is good or bad. Emily Little and Britt Greeley nailed their Yurchenko-1.5s for the gold and silver, respectively. Little is a pretty powerful vaulter; she should be able to upgrade in the future. Japan's Yoshino Taniguchi took the bronze with a clean Yurchenko-full.

1. Emily Little AUS 14.700
2. Britt Greeley AUS 14.450
3. Yoshino Taniguchi JPN 14.150
4. Fu Bo CHN 13.775
5. Cui Jie CHN 13.700
5. Natsumi Sasada JPN 13.700
7. Nicole Hibbert GBR 13.525
8. Lani Hohepa NZL 13.200

Uneven bars
Wu Liufang was easily the most stylish bar worker in the final, with handstands and turns that bear all the hallmarks of the great Chinese school. Unfortunately, her A score was low and she had a problem on her Pak, needing an extra swing to be able to cast to handstand. She ended up finishing fifth. In the end, the gold went to Natsumi Sasada (Tkatchev, jam, full-in dismount), who gave the judges plenty of room for small deductions but not for big ones. Cui Jie finished second with a decent routine that included a Jaeger, Tkatchev and Pak (surprising choice of elements, we know). Nicole Hibbert took the bronze with a routine that was powerful rather than elegant (Tkatchev-Pak combo, big Ray). Hibbert has plenty of difficulty, but will need to work hard on her form.

Apparently this is Natsumi Sasada. Can we have some normal photos now, Mark Nolan of Getty Images?

1. Natsumi Sasada JPN 14.350
2. Cui Jie CHN 13.925
3. Nicole Hibbert GBR 13.775
4. Yoshino Taniguchi JPN 13.675
5. Wu Liufang CHN 13.225
6. Danusia Francis GBR 13.160
7. Emma Collister AUS 12.276
8. Britt Greeley AUS 12.150


As far as we know, no videos of the men's finals have been uploaded yet, so we can only give you the results.

Floor exercise
1. Reiss Beckford GBR 14.000
2. Sean O'Hara AUS 13.850
3. Luke Wadsworth AUS 13.675
4. Wang Yongchao CHN 13.175
5. Ashley Watson GBR 13.150
6. Hairi Zaid Ahmad Saruji MAS 13.050
7. Liu Zhanteng CHN 12.625
8. Chao Wei San MAS 11.700

Gold medalists Reiss Beckford and Max Whitlock with coach Sergey Sizhanov
(photo: British AYOF site)

Pommel horse
1. Max Whitlock GBR 14.325
2. Sam Oldham GBR 14.050
3. Liu Zhanteng CHN 13.400
4. Luke Wadsworth AUS 13.025
5. Michael Mercieca AUS 12.325
6. Hairi Zaid Admad Saruji 10.900

Still rings
1. Liu Zhanteng CHN 14.200
2. Jayden Bull AUS 13.875
3. Zhu Xiaodong CHN 13.700
4. Sam Oldham GBR 13.650
5. Sean O'Hara AUS 13.025
6. Ashley Watson GBR 12.650

The AYOF gymnastics competition will conclude tomorrow with the remaining event finals.


  1. Wu Liufang did have a release on UB--a straddled Jaeger. I guess her A-score is still relatively low, though.

  2. Oops! You're absolutely right. We'll rectify that mistake in the text. And yeah, we think Wu will have to get some more releases and intricate turns to become a medal contender. Her current routine looks a tad easy, although her form is just beautiful.

  3. Sorry this is unrelated, but could you do a post on Ksenia Semenova if there is any news on how she is recovering from her injury?

  4. Anonymous, we've been keeping an eye out for news on Semyonova, and there hasn't been any lately. We'll definitely post a story when we hear more!

  5. I'm wondering if the Chinese twist later on their vaults on purpose - like Cheng Fei always seems to twist at the last minute (also on her signature the Cheng - I think it was her '06 world championships vault that I noticed it the most - even the commentators said she seems to 'stall' in the air or that she gets so much height she has time too or something)... sorry completely unknowledgable comment from me.

    And not related to anything but is China still 'closed-lip' on the whole Yang Yilin injury? Hope she's okay

  6. It does seem to be a bit of a Chinese thing to go for late twists. But if it helps Cui to learn vaulting like Cheng, we're not complaining!

    There is still no news about Yang Yilin whatsoever. We're not sure what to make of it. We expect some news about the Chinese team after Chinese New Year, when the new additions to the national team will be announced. Hopefully there will be some news on Yang then too.

  7. Hey guys. u do an amzing job so thanks for everything!! :)

    just about the late twist. i believe anonymous is right. and i know of quite a few people who teach the twist late, to encourage the gymnasts to set up and get height first and hence have more time to twist in the last part of the layout. I think it works really well. well the idea of it does. but there are so many wayss out there!! but i think the chinese have tended to use this twist and i know in Australia at least it is being strongly encouraged as well. :)