Chen Stuns on Beam in Melbourne Final

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Chen Yile, courtesy of the Melbourne World Cup

A little delayed after a busy week, but I finally got a chance to jot down my thoughts about the second day of competition at the Melbourne World Cup, where first-year senior Chen Yile of China put up an incredible beam set to take the title by over two points.

On beam, Chen was so masterful with her difficult and lovely connections, performing a gorgeous layout, switch ring to Korbut, front aerial to split jump to stag ring jump, and a triple full dismount, all of which looked pretty flawless aside from the tiniest little checks on some of her elements, and she picked up a 14.466 for her efforts. She’s a dream on this event and she’s also a fairly balanced all-arounder, so I’m super excited to see if she can change the pace for the Chinese women at major international competitions in the future.

Brazil’s Isabel Barbosa made her senior debut here as well, winning the silver medals on both beam and floor. On beam, she showed great control for the most part, including a solid flight series, split leap to side aerial, switch to switch half to back tuck, and a nice double tuck dismount for a 12.666. With such a messy final overall and so many gymnasts falling all around her, I admired her ability to keep her composure at such a young age, especially considering her lack of international experience.

The bars champion Du Siyu, another first-year senior from China, won the bronze with an 11.333 after falling on her flight series, which was completely off-line from the start. She picked things up after that, though, showing a lovely switch ring to back handspring, a leap series into a Korbut, and a front aerial into her jumps series before finishing with a double full.

I was really hoping Tjasa Kysselef would nail her routine here to get a surprise medal, but she unfortunately fell on her switch leap mount and ended up just shy of the podium, in fourth with an 11.166. Kysselef, who normally focuses on vault and sometimes on floor, spent nearly two years without training or competing beam, bringing it back at the end of last year, and there are lots of good pieces in her routine even if it is a little shaky in places, but after the opening fall, she recovered well, sticking her front layout full dismount to finish.

Rounding out the field were Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia in fifth with an 11.1, Nadine Joy Nathan of Singapore in sixth with a 10.8, Stella Ashcroft of New Zealand in seventh with a 10.633, and Alexandra Eade of Australia in eighth with a 9.8. Nearly all had falls, which was unfortunate, especially with Eade, who looked so confident and steady in the warmup period but then she had a fall on her side somi before crashing her double tuck dismount on top of other form issues, and her E score really suffered.

As a preventative measure due to some pain that sparked up prior to the competition, Georgia Godwin — who was named to Australia’s Commonwealth Games team following this competition — sat out beam and floor finals, opening up a spot for Abdul Hadi on beam with just five minutes’ notice. I thought given the circumstances she did marvelously, and though she fell on her layout series, she had some good work elsewhere, including on her leaps and full Y turn.

Nathan had some good moments with some very clean skills, and she was strong in her fight to stay on after a couple of near-misses, and Ashcroft unfortunately had to grab the beam on a switch leap though otherwise showed promise as a young senior for New Zealand, and she looked like she’s gearing up for an NCAA career with some of the composition and skills shown in this routine.

Eade came back from her disappointing beam performance to take the floor title by nearly a point, nailing a big double layout, 1½ through to double tuck, front tuck through to double full, and double pike for a 13.333 to not only secure the gold by a wide margin, but also to secure a spot on the Commonwealth Games team, which will be her first major international competition after she was forced to sit out the Olympic Test Event due to injury.

We saw another tidy and solid set from Barbosa here, who won the silver with a 12.6 after showing nice control and clean tumbling on her arabian double front, double pike, switch ring to tour jeté half, and lovely double tuck to finish, and Kysselef got her second medal of the meet — and first non-vault medal of her world cup career! — by bringing a strong presentation on top of excellent tumbling, hitting a nearly stuck double tuck and stuck front full to put up a 12.366 for the bronze.

Pretty much all of the routines in this final were solid, with Estella Matthewson of New Zealand placing fourth with a 12.033, Isabella Brett of New Zealand in fifth with a 12.0, Abdul Hadi in sixth with an 11.9, vault bronze medalist Aruna Budda Reddy of India in seventh with a 10.833, and Zeng Qiyan of Singapore in eighth with a 10.466.

Some of the difficulty from these gymnasts was pretty low, which limited them from being able to challenge for the podium, but overall we saw nice work from pretty much everyone, save for the occasional out-of-bounds penalty or short landing. Zeng, who was a reserve and came into this final on short notice, put her hands down on her double pike, but otherwise she recovered well with very clean tumbling, while the kiwi girls both had lovely presentation and clean skills both in their acro and dance.

On the men’s side, Australia’s Christopher Remkes finally got his gold, putting up a 14.616 average on vault after hitting a Dragulescu and tsuk double pike, both a bit wild with stumbled landings and he seemed a little disappointed in how he executed these vaults, but his difficulty was so beyond what anyone else did, it was an easy win for him if he just kept them to his feet.

Lee Chih Kai of Chinese Taipei had absolutely gorgeous execution on both of his vaults, a Kaz 1½ and a handspring Rudi, to win the silver medal with a 14.45 average. His form in the air is insane, with glued legs throughout, and his only real ‘issue’ here was a large step back out of his Rudi to control it, but overall I just love him and find him so aesthetically pleasing to watch.

Surprising for the bronze was Carlos Edriel Yulo of the Philippines, who just turned 18 and is going to change the course of the sport for this country, which is so incredibly exciting. Yulo averaged a 14.233 performing the same vaults as Lee, showing good control and clean form to edge out Japan’s Keisuke Asato, who averaged the same score as Yulo, but lost the tie-breaker after crashing his tsuk full-in double tuck and coming up short on his handspring Randi. His block on his first vault was actually pretty scary, but he seemed pleased with his performance (which was actually quite similar to how he looked in the vault final at worlds), so hey. Let him enjoy it, I guess?

In fifth was Luis Cavallari Porto of Brazil with a 14.016 for her over-rotated Shewfelt and clean Kaz full, Kyleab Ellis of New Zealand was sixth with a 13.849 showing a clean DTY and Yurchenko half-on front layout 1½, which just had a large step back, Kazuyuki Takeda of Japan was seventh with a 13.65 after sitting his handspring double front and landing his Kaz full quite low, and Ashish Kumar of India was eighth, taking a step forward on his tsuk double tuck, but then sadly over-rotating his handspring double front, putting his hands down to average a 13.583.

As expected, the Chinese men were beautiful and dominant on p-bars, where Wu Xiaoming took the gold with a 14.833 for his super fluid routine, while Tan Di picked up the silver, showing nice salto work and good control for a 14.5.

Coming up for the bronze was Australia’s Michael Mercieca, who I thought was gorgeous on this event, especially on his lovely press handstand into his double pike dismount, his 13.866 just edging out Lee Chih Kai by under a tenth. Lee had a beautiful routine of his own, but his dismount landing was a bit weaker, with his chest down and a slight hop on his double front half out.

Takeda ended up fifth with a 13.5, his teammate Hidetaka Miyachi was sixth with a 13.466 after losing control on a single rail handstand, Rakesh Patra of India was seventh with a 13.433 after looking a little muscled throughout his routine, and Mitchell Morgans of Australia was eighth, fighting through several handstands to put up a 13.433.

In the high bar final, Miyachi delivered exactly what we wanted from him to win the gold with a breathtaking routine that included his now eponymous skill — a double-twisting layout Kovacs, no big deal — before soaring through a Cassina, Kolman, and Kovacs and then sticking his double double layout cold for a 14.6. It was ridiculous, and everything I love about this event.

The two Australians who competed well in the p-bars final came back strong here, with Morgans taking the silver with a 13.766 and Mercieca winning the bronze with a 13.7. Morgans was fantastic in his routine, nailing a Cassina, layout Kovacs, Kovacs, and Kolman before sticking his double double layout, while Mercieca showed a Yamawaki, several Tkachev variations, and a double double layout with a couple of steps forward to just come up slightly short of edging his teammate.

Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania also put up a lovely routine here, doing exactly what he did to win his medal on floor, which was showing tidy and solid skills to make up for a lack of huge difficulty. His layout Tkachev and straddle Tkachev half were both done very well, and he landed his double layout full-out with just a step to post a 13.533 for fourth place.

In fifth was Takeda, who put up a 13.3 after catching his Kolman a bit close before taking a step so large on his double double layout dismount that it looked like he was about to do a full split, Ellis was sixth with a 12.633 showing clean skills and a full-in double layout dismount with a small step, his teammate David Bishop had a few muscled elements and small form breaks to earn a 12.6 for seventh place, and Lim Kaeson of Singapore did one of the simplest high bar sets I’ve seen in an international final — he had just a Yamawaki, stalder half, Endo half, stalder, and double layout — but his work was tidy and efficient, earning an 11.966 for eighth.

Full results for both men and women are available on our coverage guide. Next up on the apparatus world cup circuit is Baku from March 15 through March 18, and we’ll end the season with Doha a week later before transitioning to the challenge cup series.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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One thought on “Chen Stuns on Beam in Melbourne Final

  1. Why does China send their best to Melbourne but not American Cup? American Cup seems to be a way bigger competition and China never seems to send their best. Mao Yi has always been inconsistent even in her prime. Side note, it would be really incredible to see China produce powerful gymnasts like Cheng Fei again.

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