First Day Apparatus Finals
Gymnasts from four countries won event titles as finals got underway at the Doha World Challenge Cup Thursday in Qatar.
World champion Kenzo Shirai (JPN) lit up the Aspire Dome with his incredible twisting skills on Floor, including a front triple full and quadruple twist to finish his routine. Shirai’s 16.0 score (7.4 difficulty) easily win him first World Cup title of 2014, ahead of Paul Ruggeri of the U.S. (15.15) and Chinese newcomer Wang Peng (15.1).
Armenia’s Harutym Merdinyan, the top qualifier on Pommel Horse, hit his 6.7 difficulty routine for the second day in a row to win gold (15.475), besting Pommel specalists Robert Seligman (CRO, 15.275) and Saso Bertoncelj (SLO, 15.15). The gold is a rare World Cup win for Armenia, which had three gymnasts qualify in first place for event finals in Doha.
Armenia’s Artur TOVMASYAN win the Rings with a total (15.575) fellow countryman Vahagn DAVTYAN second with the Brazilian Henrique FLORES with (15.425)
Romania’s Larisa Iordache improved from fourth place during the qualification round to take the gold on vault (improved double twisting-Yurchenko and Tsukahara layout full, 14.337 average). Slovenia’s Teja Belak delivered a stuck handspring front tuck full for the silver (14.1 average), while top qualifier Hiu Ying Angel Wong (HKG) settled for bronze (13.812).
Republic’s Kristyna Palesova took gold on Uneven Bars (13.425) following a hit performance. Teammate Jana Sikulova climbed from bronze to silver medal position after the preliminary round with a 13.175 in finals, while Laura Schulte (SUI) won bronze (12.775).
Iordache, who was also the top qualifier on Balance Beam and Floor Exercise, will have two more chances for gold as event finals draw to a close Friday.