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China Regains Number One
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

In a thrilling contest until the last routine of the competition, China edged Russia (256.634 to 256.585) by a margin of .049 to win the men’s team title at the Doha World Championships. Thanks to Zou Jinqyuan’s incredible parallel bars routine, which received a 16.2/7.0 (the highest score here in Doha), China had built near a full point lead going into the last rotation, high bar. Three hit routine for China would have sealed the deal, but the last competitor, Xiao Ruoteng missed his Liukin (full-twisting Tkatchev) and gave a chance to the Russians. A perfectly hit routine by Nikita Nagornyy would have done it, but he bent his arms on a front giant after his layout Tkatchev-half, and his score of 13.733 was just short of what the team needed.

With the compelling three-up-three-count format, China had to count falls early in the competition on floor and pommel horse, but slowly it gained momentum as the day progressed. China’s p-bar total was nearly three points higher than the next best and put the team in the winning circle.  China last won the team title on home soil in Nanning in 2014, but lost to Japan and Great Britain in 2015 in Glasgow.

The Russian team, which had entered the competition with the top qualifying score, posted the highest team totals on floor, rings and vault, but untidy routines on pommel horse and a fall on p-bars by Arthur Dalaloyan (peach on one rail mount) cost the team.  Despite losing the gold by the narrowest of margins, the Russian team, who last won a team medal at worlds in 2006, was in good spirits.

Defending champion Japan, led by Kohei Uchimura, who competed four events for the team, took the bronze posting a 253.744.  Japan was having a great competition until Yusuke Tanaka’s p-bar routine, where he struggled on his unique Makuts coming from a peach position and scored mere 11.566.  Had he posted the score he earned in qualification, 14.833, Japan could have won the title.

The spirited team of the U.S., led by Sam Mikulak, was in the mix for the bronze until the very end of the competition. But when Japan’s Kenzo Shirai hit a floor routine for the top score of the day (14.933), the U.S. had to settle for fourth place.  With Mikulak competing on all six events, the U.S. had a really strong competition counting only one fall (pommel horse), but their lower difficulty on some of the routines turned out to be a factor at the end.

Great Britain started the competition well, hitting rings and vault, but errors on p-bars and high bar pushed them down in the rankings and they placed fifth. Switzerland, Brazil and the Netherlands rounded out the rest of the field placing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

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