Derwael makes a winning return to world title venue
March 22 2019 11:15 PM
Nina Derwael
Winner Nina Derwael (centre) of Belgium poses on the podium for women’s Uneven Bars event with second-placed Fan Yilin (left) of China and third-placed Anastasiia Iliankova of Russia in the Artistic Gymnastics Individual Apparatus World Cup yesterday. PICTURES: Thajudheen

Nina Derwael, competing in her first event since becoming a world champion in Doha last October, made a winning return as the Belgian won gold at the Artistic Gymnastics Individual Apparatus World Cup.
Yesterday at the Aspire Dome, the venue of her world title, Derwael was in sublime form as she cruised to an easy win. The two-time European champion stuck to her routine which has given her success in the last two years. 
Derwael, who will turn 19 on Tuesday, began with a full twisting double tuck and finished with a twist high above the bar for 15.033 points, the same score she achieved in the qualifying on Wednesday. The 2017 world champion Fan Yilin (14.933) took silver ahead of Russian Anastasiia Iliankova (14.700). 
Derwael was pleased with her gold medal finish and admitted she did not have an ideal preparation as she was recovering from a broken finger.
“I did not have an ideal preparation for the competition but I am very happy that I pulled it off. I had some little injuries that prevented me from doing other competitions. But now I am really happy to be back on the podium. I wasn’t really anxious; I was comfortable out there and I knew I could do it. I just did what I usually do in training,” she said.
“I am really happy to be back here, I have won gold thrice now in Doha. I am going to prepare for the European championship now. I am very excited about Tokyo Olympics. The Belgium team still needs to qualify as a team so we are going to try and do that at the World Championship in Stuttgart this year,” added Derwael, who will be in action in the Balance Beam finals today. 
Meanwhile, Jade Carey continued her rich vein of form as the American won the Vault gold. Carey, who had clinched both Vault and Floor gold at the Baku World Cup last week, put on a strong show once again.
The 18-year-old controlled her landing perfectly to top score with 14.833 points, ahead of Russian Maria Paseka (14.766) and Frenchwoman Coline Devillard (14.549). Yesterday’s win boosted Carey’s World Cup series ranking points to 85, putting her first in the Vault race for Olympics qualifications.
The 43-year-old Oksana Chusovitina finished fifth with 13.866 points. The Uzbek, who has competed in seven Olympic Games, is gunning for her eighth appearance as she looks to book her place at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
World bronze medallist Lee Chih-Kai overcame nerves to flair his way to win the Pommel Horse. The Chinese Taipei gymnast beat 2013 world champion Kohei Kameyama of Japan to gold, after both had finished on same score of 15.400. 
Chih-Kai was given the gold thanks to his superior difficulty scores. Kameyama’s compatriot Imabayashi took bronze after tallying 5.333.
China’s Zou Jingyuan missed out on a medal after he missed his hand placement and came off early on. He also tumbled for a second time to finish seventh 12.866.
In the men’s Floor Exercise, veteran Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov sprung a surprise by winning the gold medal. In a strong field which consisted of world championship bronze medallist Carlos Yulo and all-round silver medallist Xiao Ruoteng, Shatilov made it a memorable 32nd birthday with a superb show as he tallied 14.633 points.
Rayderley Zapata of Spain was also a surprise runner-up with 14.433, finishing ahead of Filipino teenager Yulo, who had topped the qualifications but had to settle bronze medal after scoring 14.266 points. Ruoteng finished a disappointing sixth with a 13.166.

Men’s Pommel Horse 
1. Lee Chih-Kai (TPE) 15.400
2. Kohei Kameyama (JPN) 15.400
3. Kaito Imabayashi (JPN) 15.333
Men’s Floor Exercise
1. Alexander Shatilov (ISR) 14.633
2. Rayderley Zapata (ESP) 14.433
3. Carlos Edriel Yulo (PHI) 14.266 
Men’s Still Rings Final
1. Lan Xingyu (CHN) 15.100
2. Artur Tovmasyan (ARM) 14.833
3. Vahagn Davtyan (ARM) 14.825
Women’s Uneven Bars 
1. Nina Derwael (BEL) 15.033
2. Fan Yilin (CHN) 14.933
3. Anastasiia Iliankova (RUS) 14.700
Women’s Vault 
1. Jade Carey (USA) 14.883
2. Maria Paseka (RUS) 14.766
3. Coline Devillard (FRA) 14.549

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