Ste­in­gru­ber de­nies Musta­fina quadru­ple gym­nas­tics gold

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Swiss gym­nast Gi­u­lia Ste­in­gru­ber pro­duced a vir­tu­oso dis­play on the floor to deny her Rus­sian ri­val Aliya Musta­fina a fourth gold medal at the inau­gu­ral Euro­pean Games on Satur­day.

De­spite tak­ing a penalty for step­ping off the edge of the floor, Ste­in­gru­ber edged Musta­fina by 0.066 points and won her sec­ond gold medal of the games, af­ter vic­tory in the vault ear­lier in the day.

“I’m re­ally proud about my per­for­mance,” Ste­in­gru­ber told The As­so­ci­ated Press, adding she could do even bet­ter in the floor ex­er­cise.

“I think there’s a lit­tle friend­ship (with Musta­fina) but also a ri­valry. We have to do it against each other, so it’s quite tough.”

The sea­son has been a break­through for Ste­in­gru­ber, who also won Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship all-around gold in Mont­pel­lier, France, in April and now has her first gold medals at a mul­ti­sport games.

“It’s a big step for­ward,” she said, adding that her thoughts were al­ready turn­ing to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I still have to work hard, so I will give my best — first for the worlds and then for Rio.”

Musta­fina and Ste­in­gru­ber have fought all week in Azer­bai­jan, with the Rus­sian beat­ing the Swiss to gold in Thurs­day’s all-around.

Musta­fina is the reign­ing Olympic cham­pion in the un­even bars and un­der­lined her tal­ent in that dis­ci­pline by tak­ing the Euro­pean Games gold Satur­day. It was the Rus­sian’s third Euro­pean Games ti­tle af­ter win­ning the all-around and the team event with Rus­sia.

“I’m ba­si­cally sat­is­fied, com­pletely,” Musta­fina said. “I’m very happy, I’m very tired and I feel like go­ing home.”

The men’s events Satur­day saw dif­fer­ent win­ners on each of the six pieces of ap­pa­ra­tus. Oleg Vernyaev of Ukraine, who won the all-around two days ear­lier, leaves Azer­bai­jan as a dou­ble gold medal­ist af­ter win­ning the vault.

Ukraine-born Azer­bai­jani gym­nast Oleg Stepko pleased the home crowd by win­ning on the par­al­lel bars, while Greece cel­e­brated its first ever Euro­pean Games gold when Eleft­he­rios Petrou­nias won on the rings.

Two- time Olympic medal­ist Flo­rian Ham­buechen of Ger­many had a dif­fi­cult week, but ended on a high note with the gold medal in the hor­i­zon­tal bar.

Else­where Satur­day at the Euro­pean Games, 46-year-old Swiss shooter Heidi Di­ethelm Ger­ber took gold in the 25-me­ter pis­tol event de­spite only start­ing to com­pete at in­ter­na­tional level at the age of 40.

Di­ethelm Ger­ber said she was on the right track for suc­cess at the Olympics.

“It’s progress in small steps ev­ery year, and now I’m on the right way for Rio,” she said in quotes pro­vided by Euro­pean Games or­ga­niz­ers.

Ger­ber’s best Olympic re­sult to date is 29th in the 25-me­ter pis­tol in 2012.


Oleg Stepko of Azer­bai­jan com­petes dur­ing fi­nal of the men’s par­al­lel bars event at the 2015 Euro­pean Games in Baku, Azer­bai­jan, Satur­day, June 20.

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