China got off to a bit of a rough start going into podium training this week, with two of the top all-around contenders – 2019 world beam medalist and all-around finalist Li Shijia and 2019 junior world championships bronze medalist Ou Yushan, set to make her big-stage senior debut here – both dealing with injuries that will limit Li to just bars while Ou will not compete at all.
This wasn’t the only drama at training, as there have been illnesses and other injuries plaguing the team, but the Chinese women are lucky that their program has made it far enough past the COVID-19 pandemic that they can be here at all, so I’ll take it, especially knowing that we still have nearly a year until next year’s Olympic Games, and basically nothing happening right now matters in the grand scheme of things.
With Li and Ou out of the mix, I’m looking at 2019 world silver all-around medalist Tang Xijing to be the standout here. In podium training, she looked pretty solid with everything she did, debuting a new double pike dismount on beam as well as hitting a solid DTY.
The other Stuttgart gymnasts looked mostly good here as well, with Qi Qi sticking DTYs and hitting the odd Rudi while also nailing a tuck full on beam and a double double on floor, while Chen Yile showed strong work on beam. Liu Tingting, last year’s world silver medalist on beam, had chicken pox recently and was forced to quarantine due to her fever, and though she’s better now, she still feels a bit lacking in energy, which showed especially in her floor work.
First-year seniors to keep an eye on are definitely Wei Xiaoyuan and Guan Chenchen, both of whom competed at junior worlds last year, where Wei medaled on bars and beam. Also last year’s Chinese National Youth Games champion, Wei is potentially going for a 6.5 start value on bars, while her beam looked lovely in training, and she had some good passes on floor, though she struggled with her triple to punch front. Guan may have a leg up over Wei thanks to her DTY, if she can hit it, and she was also cranking out some good work on beam this week, though she had some falls on floor and isn’t known for particularly strong work on bars.
The always dependable Zhang Jin isn’t the flashiest gymnast in this group, but with several all-arounders not in top shape, with a good performance she could be right up there with the best, and the same goes for 2019 Asian all-around champion Zhou Ruiyu, though she reportedly was also injured in training, so while she’s still on the start list for all four events, she might not be at a hundred percent. As for the specialists, Fan Yilin should show off some queen-level bars, Yin Sisi is also hoping to share some brilliant work of her own on that event, and Yu Linmin will be a major threat for the vault title.
Though not competing for the national team, I’m also excited for some old favorites repping their provincial gyms, like Mao Yi for Shanghai, Shang Chunsong for Hubei, Du Siyu for Beijing, Liu Jinru for Henan, and Luo Huan, Li Qi, and Lyu Jiaqi for Zhejiang, and be sure to keep on the lookout for junior beam kid Lyu Junliang of Hunan!
The first subdivision is now complete, with Zuo Tong of Jiangsu currently leading the all-around with a 50.500. The second subdivision begins at 1 pm local time, the third at 4 pm, and the final subdivision – featuring the national team gymnasts – at 7:30 pm (for those who hate time zones as much as I do, Zhaoqing is exactly 12 hours ahead of EDT, so this is 7:30 am on the east coast). The official stream is here, but you need to log in via QQ, so if you don’t want to deal with that, there’s another one here that works just as well.
A full list of all competitors and their subdivisions is below (all times listed are local to the competition in Zhaoqing).
|SUBDIVISION 1 – 10:00 am|
Yang Meng Haoli
|SUBDIVISION 2 – 1:00 pm|
|SUBDIVISION 3 – 4:00 pm|
|SUBDIVISION 4 – 7:30 pm|
|NATIONAL TEAM 3
Article by Lauren Hopkins