Artistic gymnastics concluded at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games with event finals on June 9 and 10, giving the gymnasts a few days to relax, see the sights in Singapore, and cheer on their fellow athletes before the conclusion of the Games on June 16. Here’s everything that happened in event finals, and full results are available here.
Vietnam’s Phan Thi Ha Thanh didn’t repeat the mistakes she made in qualifications, though her heavily wrapped right knee and ankle suggest she may have been dealing with a slight injury (which explains why she chose to not compete her Rudi).
Phan’s first vault was instead a front layout half, where she took a big step on the landing and earned a 13.766. She did the DTY as her second vault, landing it just a bit short and out-of-bounds, giving her a 14.2 to average 13.983, enough to comfortably clinch the gold.
Malaysia’s Tan Ing Yueh followed, getting a 13.4 for her first vault (which wasn’t broadcast) and a 13.533 for her second vault, a front half-on piked half-off (which had major leg separation). Her average of 13.466 would be enough for the silver medal.
Coming in for the bronze medal was Tan’s teammate, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who vaulted fourth, beginning with a nice and high FTY for a 13.733. She followed with a Tsuk layout for a 12.9, giving her an average of 13.316 to snatch the final spot on the podium.
Rifda Irfanalutfi of Indonesia was the top qualifier into the final with a 13.775. She competed a front tuck half for a 13.466, but then landed her FTY with a fall to her hands, receiving just a 12.9 for a 13.166 average, keeping her just short of the medal race.
Vietnam’s Do Thi Van Anh finished 5th with a front pike half with a low landing for a 13.666 and a second vault earning a 12.5 for a 13.083 average. In 6th was Michelle Teo of Singapore, who earned a 13.1 for her Yurchenko layout and a 12.933 for her front half-on pike half-off with a solid landing, averaging a 13.016.
Kanyanat Boontoeng placed 7th, beginning with a clean FTY for a 13.466. Her second vault, a Tsuk layout, was fairly piked and had leg separation, bringing in a 12.433 for an average of 12.949. In 8th was Praewpraw Doungchan of Thailand, who had a front tuck half with a low landing and several large steps for a 12.833; her second vault wasn’t broadcast but earned a 12.8 leaving her with an average of 12.816.
The bars champion at the Southeast Asian Games was Tan Ing Yueh, who had the routine of her life, demonstrating great form and momentum in addition to a beautiful swing. She sealed the gold with a 12.766, and shared a touching moment with her coach afterwards, with many hugs and smiles all around.
Ava Verdeflor of the Philippines demonstrated great pirouetting skills and maintained good momentum out of her release, looking very much like the WOGA gymnast that she is. She took a few small steps on her double pike dismount, but still managed a 12.366 to snatch silver.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia began her routine beautifully with a good swing, nice handstands, and clean transitions, but she suffered a fall on her release. She got back up and finished the routine nicely, and her score of 12.2 allowed her to capture the bronze. However, you could see her disappointment knowing she would have won gold had she not fallen, so it was a bittersweet ending.
Ashly Lau of Singapore delivered a solid routine, executing two releases nicely and showing good form on her pirouette elements, though she did struggle a bit with a dead hang. She finished with a double pike dismount, scoring a 12.0, leaving the hometown girl just two tenths away from the medals.
In 5th place was Praewpraw Doungchan of Thailand, who had a dead hang, multiple leg separations, and a fall on her dismount. She also almost fell out of a handstand during the routine, but fought to stay on and did so successfully, earning an 11.5. Vault champion Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Vietnam finished 6th after quite a battle. Early in her routine, she collapsed on the low bar after her transition and had to fight through a dead hang and off-balanced pirouettes. She finished with a picturesque double front, but earned just an 11.133.
Janessa Dai of Singapore placed 7th after a routine much rougher than her work in qualifications, struggling with a dead hang on the high bar and falling out of a handstand. With a clean pirouette and just a step on the landing of her double pike dismount, she scored an 11.033. In 8th place was Vietnam’s Do Thi Thu Huyen, whose routine was not showed, though she scored a 9.666.
Phan Thi Ha Thanh was the uncontested beam champion at these Games after coming in as the top qualifier. She executed a great bhs layout series and a solid side aerial, her leap series demonstrated nice flexibility, and she ended with a very clean double pike dismount for a 13.966, earning the gold medal by a comfortable six tenth margin.
The silver medal went to her teammate Do Thi Van Anh, the last competitor on this event. She began her medal bid with a breathtaking bhs layout, where she had quite a bit of airtime. She performed a solid full turn, a smooth front aerial and side aerial, and ended with a double pike dismount with a step on the landing. Her coach reacted by jumping up and down wildly, very excited as Do’s routine earned a 13.333 – enough for silver.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi picked up another bronze medal here, showcasing a fluid side somi and great extension in her switch ring leap. She had a major balance check on her bhs back tuck series, but recovered with a great split leap to Y-turn combination and a solid 2.5 dismount, garnering a 13.3 to seal the deal.
Indonesia’s Rifda Irfanalutfi was unfortunately just outside the medals once again, earning a 12.966 for a routine that included a fall. She had a beautiful front tuck to wolf jump combination, but fell on her bhs back tuck. However, she rallied with a wonderful Y-turn and side somi, and finished her routine with a clean full twist dismount for 4th place.
In 5th place was Lizzy Leduc representing the Philippines. Leduc delivered a strong routine, including a seamless Onodi, a solid sheep jump and bhs loso series, and a great front tuck and 1.5 dismount, a great routine that shows a lot of promise for her future at Illinois. She struggled a bit with extension on her leaps, but ended up with a 12.7 for her effort.
Singapore’s Nadine Nathan placed 6th after counting a fall on her bhs loso series early in her routine. She came back to deliver a strong back tuck and L-turn, had a large balance check on her side aerial, and finished with a 1.5 dismount for a 12.2. In 7th was Thailand’s Praewpraw Doungchan, whose routine was not broadcast, though she earned an 11.733.
Finally, Ashly Lau of Singapore began her routine with a mount demonstrating great flexibility and followed with a solid roundoff layout (a bit piked) series. Afterwards, she had a large balance check on her back tuck and suffered two falls – one on her sheep jump and the second on her side somi. She scored an 11.266 for 8th place, a bummer as she had a very good chance at medaling here.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia finally got her gold medal on floor, ready to redeem herself after making major mistakes in other apparatus finals. She gave quite the performance this time around. Her routine, known for its engaging choreography and strong performance, was done beautifully – a great double tuck, clean Memmel turn, solid double pike, and nailed 2.5 gave her the gold with a 13.733. This was her sixth medal of the Games, having won team and all-around medals in addition to medals on all four events.
Indonesia’s Rifda Irfanalutfi also saw redemption on floor after her own mistakes in the vault and beam finals. Her floor was truly one of the highlights of these Games, as Irfanalutfi gave it her all. She began with a gorgeous double pike followed by a solid 2.5. Her dance elements and choreography really make this routine, set to a great fast-paced musical track. She finished with a double tuck, and took a big step out on the landing though still managed a 13.7 for the silver medal, becoming the only Indonesian gymnast to medal in gymnastics in Singapore.
The bronze medal went to Vietnam’s Phan Thi Ha Thanh, who opened with a fantastic triple full and followed with a double tuck with a hop on the landing, a clean double full, and a lunge out of her double pike. Her leaps demonstrated great extension and she nailed a 1.5 split leap, earning a 13.433.
Malaysia’s Tan Ing Yueh showecased some great turns in her routine. Tumbling-wise, she was fairly solid in her double tuck, double full, and front full, though was lacking in difficulty. She struggled a bit with extension in her leaps but completed a beautiful Memmel turn as well as a triple turn, earning a 13.333, just a tenth away from the podium.
In 5th place was Nadine Nathan of Singapore, who should hereby be known as the queen of the rebounding leaps because she gets immense height on her leaps out of tumbling passes, making her look like an airplane taking off. Her opening double pike had a huge hop on the landing, but she followed with a clean double full and a 1.5 to layout full. She finished with a rough landing on her 2.5, earning a 13.133.
Behind her was teammate Janessa Dai, who uses music from one of Aliya Mustafina’s previous routines and served it well with great dance and choreography. Her tumbling was clean overall with a double tuck, 1.5, and double pike to finish, scoring a 13.1 for 6th place.
Continuing the trend of great dance came Ava Verdeflor of the Philippines. She opened with a big double pike, had a clean front full to front pike, and finished with a strong 1.5 to punch front, earning a 12.95 for 7th.
In 8th place was her teammate and fellow Texan Lizzy Leduc, who was met with much applause because her routine is set to the hit song GDFR by Flo Rida. Leduc opened with a big double pike but struggled with hitting 180 degrees on her leaps. Most of her tumbling, unlike most gymnasts, is front tumbling, which was a welcome change. She competed a steady front full to punch front and a Rudi, landing the latter pretty low and earning a 12.566.
That concludes the women’s competition! Now for the men’s side, where I will cover the top four from each event final.
The top qualifier, Reyland Capellan of the Philippines, won the gold to kick off event finals. Capellan demonstrated massive difficulty (6.5) opening with a stuck front 2.5. He followed this with a stuck 3.5 to barani, 1.5 to front double full, 2.5 to front full, and a solid triple to finish. Wow! His execution suffered quite a bit on his last tumbling pass and his roll-out element which landed roughly but he still scored a sizable 14.733 to win the title.
Wah Toon Hoe of Singapore went up first on this event, competing a strong front double full to front full as his opening pass and kept the momentum with a huge 3.5, solid 2.5 to barani, a stuck double full, and finished with a solid triple full. So many twists (as has become the standard for men’s floor)! With a 5.9 d-score Hoe earned a 14.566 and the silver medal.
Vietnam’s Pham Phuoc Hung opened with a front full to front double full and struggled a bit to maintain the landing. He recovered with some beautiful strength positions, including a Russian 1080 and a V-hold, and continued with a low-landing front 1.5, 1.5, double full, and a big hop on his ending 2.5. He earned a 14.500 and the bronze.
Also from Vietnam is Le Thanh Tung. Le opened with an under-rotated front 2.5 and followed with a piked double arabian (thank goodness, a non-twisting tumbling pass!) with a huge hop back on the landing. He recovered with a solid front double full to front full and a double full despite the low landing. Next was his 2.5 to barani with a very low landing and his triple full to finish with a major leg separation – earning him a 14.433 and just barely missing out on the medals.
Thailand’s Rartchawat Kaewpanya went on to win Thailand’s only gymnastics gold of the competition with a solid routine where he demonstrated great extension on his scissor elements and good travelling technique; he earned a 14.666.
Close behind was Singapore’s Gabriel Gan who had one of the highest execution scores of the Games, an 8.833. Gan had good rhythm, speed, and extension which earned him a score of 14.533.
No other pommels finalist would come close to their scores but bronze was won by Vietnam’s Le Thanh Tung. Le competed a beautiful handstand on the pommel but did struggle with dismount; fighting through he scored 13.233 with a 5.2 d-score.
Fourth place belonged to Indonesia’s Muhammad Try Saputra who struggled with extension and his scissor elements throughout the routine but managed to stay clean and maintain rhythm otherwise.
The other four in this final all counted falls.
Gold was won by more than a full point by Vietnam’s Dang Nam. Dang had great difficulty (6.5) and demonstrated tight pike positions and control of the rings throughout his routine. He rocked his full twisting double layout dismount and earned a huge 15.300.
Silver was won by teammate Pham Phuoc Hung whose inconsistency got the best of him. Pham’s routine had great positions and difficulty (6.7) but his struggle to hit his handstands and his fall on his double double dismount left him with a 14.033, which would still be almost a full point above the bronze medalist.
Thailand’s Weena Chokpaoumpai claimed the bronze with a clean but lower difficulty routine. Chokpaoumpai struggled hitting his handstands but was otherwise clean and delivered a solid double double dismount for a 13.166.
Terry Tay of Singapore missed out on bronze by just two tenths.
The men’s vault final had some giant vaults thrown with Vietnam taking gold and silver. Le Thanh Tung and teammate Hoang Cuong both competed the same vaults, a Yeo 2 (front 2.5) and a Driggs (Kasamatsu 1.5), so it was just a matter of who executed better. Le edged out Hoang and earned a 15.000 for both vaults giving him an average of 15.000, just ahead of Hoang’s 14.866 average.
Bronze belonged to recently-crowned floor champion Reyland Capellan of the Philippines. Capellan also competed a Driggs, where he took a large step on the landing, and a DTY which he competed cleanly for a 14.616 average.
Weena Chokpaoumpai missed out on the medals thanks largely due to his lower difficulty. Chokpaoumpai competed a Lou Yun (5.2) and an Akopian (also 5.2) rather cleanly for an average of 14.500.
Vietnam once again snatched the top spot here, with Dinh Phuong Thanh adding another gold to his collection after performing a phenomenal routine with a stuck double pike dismount. His large difficulty (6.7) and clean routine gave him the gold winning score of 15.833.
Silver belonged to Thailand’s Rartchawat Kaewpanya who, despite some extension issues and less-than-vertical handstands, managed to rally with good control and a solid double pike dismount. He earned a 14.800.
Vietnam’s Pham Phuoc Hung again suffered from inconsistency. Despite his enormous difficulty (7.1!!!) he collided with the bars on his Tanaka and hit the bars with his feet leaving him with a 14.633, enough for bronze.
Jamorn Prommanee of Thailand took fourth after struggling with handstands but demonstrating good underswing skills which left him with a 14.400.
Vietnam’s Dinh Phuong Thanh captured his fourth gold of the Games with another strong performance. His routine had a nice, high release move and demonstrated both clean pirouetting as well as a solid full twisting double layout dismount which scored a 14.233.
Silver went to Malaysia’s Jeremiah Phay Loo Xing, who was the only Malaysian male gymnast to leave with a medal. Loo demonstrated beautiful form, out of a 5.0 d-score, and his routine had great rhythm and finished with a full twisting double layout that had great height – scoring a 14.133.
Singapore’s Aizat Muhammad Jufrie managed to snatch the bronze with an interesting routine, one with just a 4.4 d-score. He began with a release that barely cleared the bar but truly redeemed himself with some great pirouettes and hit handstands. He finished with a double double dismount that landed very low but was enough for the bronze at 12.833.
Teammate Timothy Tay took fourth after struggling to recover from his release and the handstand he fell out of – earning him a 12.566.
Overall, the Games proved to be a strong showing for Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore in the sport of gymnastics.
Team Vietnam came in hoping to dominate the medal stands, and with 9 golds and 17 total medals, they absolutely did. The men’s team won by a historic margin of nearly 27 points, Dinh Phuong Thanh and Phan Thi Ha Thanh both walked away with three individual titles, and the team won 17 of a possible 26 medals.
Malaysia really demonstrated the growth of their women’s program by winning the team gold, five individual event medals by Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, and two more medals by Tan Ing Yueh. And Singapore also had a great showing for their home crowd, including men’s team bronze, women’s team silver, and five individual event medals – two of which were from the all-around.
Despite their smaller medal tallies, however, important successes were also achieved by the others participating nations. Thailand won the men’s team silver and maintained their pommel horse reigning champion title. The Philippines won men’s floor gold, women’s team bronze over Vietnam, and were greatly boosted by Ava Verdeflor and Lizzy Leduc, especially considering that at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games the Philippines did not win a single artistic gymnastics medal. Indonesia also managed to capture a silver thanks to Rifda Irfanalutfi.
As the 2015 Southeast Asian Games draw to a close, some of the gymnasts are preparing for the upcoming Universiade, national championships, and then Worlds in Glasgow. The 2017 Southeast Asian Games will be hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and evident by Malaysia’s strong showing in gymnastics at these Games we need not worry about gymnastics being removed from the competition roster as was done in 2013 due to the lack of Myanmar’s gymnastics program at the time. Congratulations to all the medalists and competitors and thank you Singapore for making these Games one of the most tech-savy gymnastics events ever (seriously, check out their phone apps and youtube)!
Article by Esteban Rodriguez-Vazquez