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Saturday 31 October 2015

The penultimate day of action at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships saw the first of the individual apparatus finals, as gymnasts battled it out for a place on the podium. The sell-out crowd in the SSE Hydro were treated to an afternoon of enthralling finals, made extra special by three medals for the home team.

The first final of the day was men’s Floor and Japanese twisting sensation, Kenzo Shirai, went one better than he did last year, stepping up to claim gold. The young gymnast was sixth to perform, delivering an impressive routine to take lead with only two gymnasts remaining. Britain’s Whitlock was next up knowing a medal was within reach and a great score of 15.566 catapulted him into second place and win his first individual medal of the Championships. The bronze medal went to Spaniard, Rayderley Santana Zapata.

Floor Final Results

1. Kenzo Shirai (Japan) 16.233

2. Max Whitlock (Great Britain) 15.566

3. Rayderley Santana Zapata (Spain) 15.200

4. Deng Shudi (China) 15.166

5. Daniel Purvis (Great Britain)  15.100

6. Hansol Kim  (Korea)  14.933

7. Manrique Larduet (Cuba) 14.800

8. Tomas Gonzalez (Chilie)14.733

 A new women’s Vault champion was crowned soon after, as Russia’s Maria Paseka narrowly clinched victory by just 0.33 over last year’s champion from Korea, Hong Un Jong, in a thrilling final.

The Russian gold medallist could hardly contain her excitement saying: “I feel crazy emotions. I am very happy. Today I managed to do everything I trained for and everything went as planned. I had so much adrenaline in me that I didn't really think about how I did after I vaulted. But I was very relieved when I saw the result.”

Hong Un Jong had to settle for silver and USA’s Simone Biles finished in third to take her medal tally over the week to three. Amidst much anticipation, India’s Dipa Karamaker was unable to land her difficult ‘Produnova’ vault which left her in fifth place.

Women’s Vault Final Results

1.  Maria Paseka (Russia) 15.666

2.  Hong Un Jong (PRK) 15.633

3.  Simone Biles (USA) 15.541

4. Ellie Downie (Great Britain) 14.899

5.  Dipa Karamakar (India) 14.683

6.  Yan Wang (China) 14.583

7.  Alexa Medina Moreno (Mexico) 14.566

7. Giulia Steingruber (Switlzerland) 14.566

Next up were the eight men on Pommel Horse and the expectation in the Hydro had built up to fever pitch by the time Louis Smith’s turn arrived. The fifth gymnast on this piece of apparatus, Louis was confident that if he delivered his best he could easily take the lead. And so it transpired when he landed his dismount to an incredible roar and was awarded a score of 16.033, to shoot to the top of the leader board with just three gymnasts still to compete.

A fall on the penultimate routine by Robert Seligman ensured that Britain would have its first ever male World champion, but would Smith be able to hold off his teammate Max Whitlock. The stage was set for Max Whitlock, the last competitor to go and he delivered his routine superbly and then ensued a nervous wait while the judges debated his score.

An incredible 16.133 was awarded and with it the world title was his.Whitlock said: “I upgraded my routine by one tenth. I was in the tunnel and Scott (Hann, his coach) asked me ‘So, what do you want to do?’ and I said ‘I'm going to add that one tenth’ and I did. I didn't see Louis's (Smith) score at that point so I didn't know. I knew I just had to go out and do my job.

“I can't believe it - it’s brilliant. I trained in the gym thousands and thousands of routines building up to this moment, so when you go clean like I did today, you can't express what you feel. I'm over the moon.”

Armenia’s Harutyun Merdinyan scored 15.500 to take bronze as did Japan’s Kazuma Kaya.

Pommel Horse Final Results

1.  Max Whitlock (Great Britain) 16.133

2. Louis Smith (Great Britain) 16.033

3. Harutyun Merdinyan (Armenia) 15.500

3. Kazuma Kaya (Japan) 15.500 

5. Vid Hidvegi (Hungary)  15.366

6. Oleg Verniaiev (Ukraine) 15.266

7. Alexander Naddour (USA) 15.200    

8. Robert Seligman (Croatia) 14.433

An impressive day of finals continued with the women’s Uneven Bars which delivered an unprecedented four gold medals. China’s Yilin Fan delivering the highest degree of difficulty, while the USA’s Madison Kocian and Russias Viktoria Komova delivered the best executed performance.

USA gymnast Kocian couldn’t believe she won gold: “It's definitely crazy. I wasn't sure if they were going to do a tie-breaker but I knew my execution would be a little better based on qualifications, so I knew either way I was going to have a medal. I was just hoping it'd still be gold."

Komova’s Russian teammate Daria Spiridonova was the fourth gold medallist in a truly special final.

Uneven Bars Final Results

1. Yilin Fan (China) 15.366

1. Viktoria Komova (Russia) 15.366

1. Daria Spiridonova (Russia) 15.366

1. Madson Kocian (USA) 15.366

5. Gabrielle Douglas (USA) 15.133

6. Chunsong Shang (China)14.900

7. Ruby Harrold (Great Britain) 14.766

8. Sophie Scheder (Germany) 14.600

The closing saw the men do battle on Rings. An excellent performance by Rings specialist from Greece, Eleftherios Petrounias saw him take the title. 2014 silver medallist Yang Liu (China) had to settle for bronze, while team mate Yoa Hao delivered a strong routine to take the silver just .33 marks ahead of Yang.

Rings Final Results

1. Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) 15.800

2. Yoa Hao (China) 15.733

3. Yang Liu (China) 15.700

4. Samir Ait Said (France) 15.633

5. Brandon Wynn (USA) 15.600

6. Lambertus Van Gelder (Nertherlands) 15.266

7. Davytan Vahagn (Armenia) 15.200

8. Donnell Whittenburg (USA) 14.433

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