Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 22 News List

China improves gold haul at World Championships


Britain's Elizabeth Tweedle performs her routine on the uneven bars during qualification for the Gymnastics World Championships at the NRGi Arena in Aarhus, Denmark, on Tuesday. Tweedle took gold in the event on Friday.


China added three more gold medals to its haul at the gymnastics World Championships on Friday, claiming two men's and one women's individual apparatus titles to double its take.

Xiao Qin took gold in the men's pommel horse, Chen Yibing claimed the rings and Cheng Fei took the women's vault, joining men's and women's team golds and the men's all-around by Yang Wei.

Britain's Elizabeth Tweedle upset defending champion Nastia Liukin of the US in the women's uneven bars, and Romania's Marian Dragulescu won the men's floor exercise.

The Chinese sent yet another strong message to the rest of the world with the next Olympics 22 months away in Beijing.

"We definitely didn't expect this success," Cheng said. "We've always had the quality to be winners, but not everyone has been so stable all the time.''

The US won two more silvers -- Liukin's and one on vault from Alicia Sacramone. The US' Sasha Artemev won bronze on the pommel horse, a nice change after falling three times from the high bar in the all-around.

"I'm very happy," Artemev said. "I just came out, decided to swing big and go for it today. I didn't have anything to lose."

Dragulescu scored a 16.25 to win his third world title and defeat last year's champion, Diego Hypolito, who finished second. Kyle Shewfelt of Canada, the gold medalist at the Athens Olympics, won bronze.

"The competition today was a tough one," Dragulescu said. "I'm glad that I'm still number one on the floor. I look forward to the vault final tomorrow and hope I can repeat the result."

China had three more gymnasts entered into yesterday's event finals, though one of them, Nan Zhang, injured herself in training for the beam. She was the top qualifier in the event. Though the Chinese did not specify the injury, a team doctor said in a news release that "it will be a miracle if she can compete tomorrow."

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