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Rising Stars Shine at 2017 Chinese National Championships

The vault podium. Photograph: YouTube The 2017 Chinese National Championships were held in Wuhan, China , from 5 to 9 May .  It ...

The vault podium. Photograph: YouTube

The 2017 Chinese National Championships were held in Wuhan, China, from 5 to 9 May

It was a beautiful competition, with rising stars outshining Olympians, and with depth and margin of improvement on all apparatuses, including vault.

All around final

Luo Huan, 17, won the all around with a total score of 54.200. Her best score came on the uneven bars (14.150), where she performed an intricate and very ‘international-style’ type of routine. She also posted two good scores on vault (13.600) and beam (13.700), while she struggled a bit on floor (12.750).

 One point behind her was Chen Yile, who won silver (53.200). Her best score also came on the uneven bars (13.850), while her lowest was on beam (12.500). She also scored a good 13.550 on vault and a 13.300 on floor.

 Third was Liu Jingxing (52.700). All her scores ranged in the mid-low 13s, with the best coming on vault (13.400). She then scored a 13.200 on the uneven bars, a 13.100 on balance beam and a 13.000 on floor.

Uneven bars final

Luo Huan also won the uneven bars title with a 14.533/6.2. She performed the international judges’ favourite combination, a Maloney to Pak salto to Maloney half, some beautiful and super-clean pirouettes and a high double straight dismount. This is a very well-thought routine, designed to produce good scores.

 Second was Du Siyu (14.300/6.2). She performed an incredible routine, with some never-ending combinations and sky-high releases. My worry is that she will never get the scores she deserves, because her routine is very long. I counted ten elements in the routine plus the dismount, which is what we used to see in 2006–08 with the first open-ended CoP, while today only the top eight elements of a routine are counted. A shout-out to her for such difficult work though!

 Third was UB world champion Fan Yilin (13.833/6.2). She competed her Olympic routine with only a few form breaks, but had an unfortunate fall on her downgraded double pike dismount.

Vault final

The winner of the vault final was Liu Jinru with a 14.483 (14.433/5.6 and 14.533/5.8). She impressed with two very difficult and well executed Tsukahara vaults. She is probably the best Chinese vaulter since Cheng Fei!

Second was Qi Qi with a 13.933 (14.433/5.4 and 13.433/4.8). Her first vault, a double twisting Yurchenko, was spectacular for form and landing. Her second vault, a piked Rudi, however, needed more amplitude and had some problems on landing.

 Third was Yu Linmin with a 13.783 (14.067/5.4 and 13.500/4.8). Her DTY was also very good, but she seemed to be suffering from a bit of a knee injury.

Balance beam final

Balance beam was won by Zhu Xiaofang with a 14.167/5.9. She is a very polished gymnast with beautifully pointed toes, incredible extension on her leaps and very soft landings on all her skills. She competed a beautiful round-off to back layout, a switch ring to sheep jump and a very difficult triple twisting dismount. Overall, a very impressive performance.

Tied for second were Li Qi (13.967/6.3) and Li Hairuo (13.967/5.5). They both competed a round-off to layout (as most Chinese gymnasts these days, it seems), and some intricate combinations of acro and dance elements to gain all the bonuses of the CoP. Impressive routines from both of them.

Floor exercise final

Finally, the floor title was awarded to Olympian Shang Chunsong (13.300/5.6), who was back to competition after a scary fall on bars in the all around competition. Shang has a new floor music and competed a one-and-a-half-twist into triple twist to punch front as her opening tumbling pass, followed by a double pike, a two-and-a-half to front pike and a double twist. Even though watered down, Shang’s routine looked great. My only slight worry is that she looks even thinnier than before!

Silver was won by Liu Tingting (13.100/4.9). Her floor routine was beautiful from start to finish. Great music choice, engaging choreography and very good tumbling passes (triple twist to punch front, two-and-a-half twist, double tuck). Her routine really shows how much music matters!

 Bronze was won by Liu Jingxing with a 12.800/4.9. She also produced a beautifully-choreographed routine and some big tumbling passes, which only need to be polished a little. She opened with a big double straight, followed by a full-in tuck, and punch front to double back tuck and a double pike. Again, engaging choreography, almost sassy (!), which suits her very well.

Click here for full results, courtesy of The Gymternet.

Click here for all videos, courtesy of Piibunina on YouTube.

By Talitha Ilacqua

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