Shang Chunsong Finally Gets National Gold

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After two years falling just short of gold behind Yao Jinnan, Shang Chunsong of the Hunan province is finally her country’s national┬áchampion.

Though she was just third in qualifications, Shang had a fantastic day in finals, earning a 57.100 after excellent performances everywhere but vault, where she stumbled on her FTY to earn only a 13.1. But she managed very strong routines on bars and beam, and then really showed tremendous progress on floor, coming in with a 14.55 after adding some huge upgrades that should make her really competitive at worlds this fall.

Behind Shang in the silver medal position was first-year senior Wang Yan, who impressed with her work on vault, beam, and floor at last year’s Youth Olympic Games. Her all-around score of 55.5 was an improvement on her work as a junior, and while bars isn’t a particularly strong event for her, she hit a clean set for a 13.35 in the all-around final in Fuzhou.

Wang did struggle somewhat on beam, and her floor wasn’t exactly up to her standard, but she looked great on vault, reaching a 14.9 to boost her total score quite a bit. She actually qualified first into the all-around final with a 56.65, so some clean-up work could definitely make her a stronger all-around contender even with bars not up to par.

Chen Siyi finished third just a couple of tenths behind Wang, posting a 55.25 after a consistent day, though she had no real standout event aside from some decent work on beam, where she earned a 14.05. It’ll be interesting to see where she fits in on the team this year; it’ll be hard to leave her at home given her experience and overall strength, but I can’t quite see where they’d use her in a team final.

The new senior Mao Yi finished in fourth place with a 54.85. Her strengths are similar to Wang’s, and she has some incredibly impressive tumbling on floor, though hitting is sometimes an issue for her, as it was on this event in the all-around final. She also has some pretty strong vaults, though didn’t show that here.

Fellow first-year senior Zhu Xiaofang was fifth with a 54.45 after a mostly good day, though she did fall on floor to earn only a 12.5 there. Had she not fallen, she likely could’ve finished third or possibly even second, making her an interesting piece of the puzzle, though like Chen she doesn’t quite have that standout event that would make her useful in the team competition.

The sixth and seventh spots in the final went to juniors Liu Tingting and Luo Huan, both of whom are age-eligible for the Olympic Games. Liu hit everywhere but beam for a 54.3, showing an excellent bars set for a 14.9, while Luo earned a 54.2 after also struggling on beam, though she had an otherwise consistent day. In qualifications, Liu actually was second with a 56.35, a huge score for a Chinese junior where scoring is known to be tight, so she is definitely someone to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Down in eighth place was everyone’s favorite beam queen Bai Yawen, who had major issues everywhere but her pet event, where she earned a 14.4. Her all-around score of 53.1 is concerning regarding her chances for worlds later this year, especially considering there are other gymnasts in the mix who didn’t compete on all four events, most notably Tan Jiaxin, Fan Yilin, Huang Huidan, and Xie Yufen.

In event finals, Wang took home two gold medals on vault and floor, which wasn’t very surprising. She hit her tsuk double and Rudi to average a 15.084, a score that could make her competitive in the vault final at worlds. On floor, she did have some mistakes, including going out-of-bounds on one pass, but managed a 14.367 to defeat Shang by just 0.034, though this was partially due to the bonuses awarded – Wang picked up 0.4 in difficulty bonus while Shang only added an additional 0.2 to her routine.

Shang’s routine was slightly more difficult, but she too went out-of-bounds and wasn’t executing at the best of her ability, finishing with a 14.333, still a strong score for China on floor however. Shang did get an event gold on beam, however, earning a 14.467 for a mostly clean routine. Wang’s own performance on beam had a fall, and she was only able to place fifth there with a 13.167.

The bars final was the most competitive, with Fan topping the podium at 15.2 while last year’s silver worlds medalist Huang finished with a 15.1. Both brought in a tenth in bonus so there was no discrepancy there, and Fan came in with a 6.7 d-score to Huang’s 6.8, though the young Fan was just slightly better with her execution on this particular day. Zhu finished with the bronze medal, posting a 14.7 for her hit routine.

There were some misses in this final, as Xie had a sloppy set for just a 14.367, and Tan – working with a 6.9 start value! – unfortunately fell, bringing in a 14.1. The juniors also didn’t fare well here, with both Luo and Liu falling and incurring 0.5 in penalties, though I’m not clear as to why…possibly coach interference? Luo ended up in seventh place with a 12.133 while Liu was last with an 11.8, though her 6.3 d-score was impressive given her age.

In addition to her bars gold, Fan also had a good – if slightly shaky – beam routine to win the bronze medal with a 13.833 while Luo had the bronze medal finish on floor with a 13.433. Chen had unfortunate mistakes on both beam, where she earned a 13.033 for sixth place, and floor, earning a 13.2 for fourth. Mao also couldn’t hold it together in both of her finals, placing last on both after multiple falls, earning only a 10.133 on beam and a 12.267 on floor.

Other medalists include Li Linxi with a 14.75 for silver and Liu Jinru with a 14.6 for bronze on vault, and Luo Youjuan with a 14.267 for silver on beam.

The 2015 Chinese Championships were held from June 1-4 in Fuzhou, a city in the Fujian province. Full results are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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