China reel­ing a er ‘pre­cious’ team gym­nas­tics crown loss

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

ZHANG Chen­g­long in­sisted China are not a spent force af­ter Ko­hei Uchimura’s Ja­pan ended their eight-year Olympic men’s team reign in Rio.

The Chi­nese fin­ished with bronze less than a year af­ter also los­ing the world ti­tle they had won six con­sec­u­tive times, and all but once since 1994, to Ja­pan.

Uchimura, 27, helped Ja­pan to their first team gold since 2004 in the Rio Olympic Arena ahead of Rus­sia, who were back on the podium for the first time since 2000.

There was de­spair on the Chi­nese team with Zhang ad­mit­ting the im­por­tance of the ti­tle to the Asian gi­ant.

“In China team­work is very im­por­tant,” said Zhang.

“Team gold rep­re­sents the sum­mit of Chi­nese gym­nas­tics. It’s not down to one per­son to be ex­cel­lent, but ev­ery­one has to be ex­cel­lent.”

China paid for er­rors start­ing with a shaky start for Lin Chaopan, 20, and Deng Shudi, 24, on the floor as they com­peted along­side the United States. You Hao also strug­gled on his rings dis­mount.

The Chi­nese im­pressed on the par­al­lel bars with You hit­ting 16.166, but they needed a strong fi­nal ro­ta­tion on the high bar to keep in the ti­tle chase.

Deng, Lin and Zhang failed to pro­duce the nec­es­sary fire­works, fin­ish­ing nearly three points be­hind Ja­pan.

It was also the end of the road for Zhang, a gold medal win­ner in the team event from Lon­don, and sev­en­time world medal­list over four world cham­pi­onships.

The 27-year-old has failed to reach the fi­nals of the all-around and ap­pa­ra­tus events.

Deng and Lin qual­i­fied for to­day’s all-around fi­nal, in fourth and 10th po­si­tion.

In the ap­pa­ra­tus events Chi­nese hopes lie with Liu Yang and You on rings, with Hao and Deng medal prospects on par­al­lel bars.

China took the men’s team gold for the first time in Syn­dey 2000, only to lose to Ja­pan in Athens four years later. They re­cap­tured it at their home Games in Bei­jing 2008 and suc­cess­fully de­fended it in Lon­don.

They will now look to beat Ja­pan on their home Games in Tokyo 2020.

Photo: AFP

China’s Deng Shudi com­petes in the rings event of the men’s gym­nas­tics team fi­nal dur­ing the Rio Olympics on Au­gust 8. China’s team earned bronze, while Ja­pan won gold and Rus­sia took sil­ver.

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