|2004 Olympic pommel horse champion Teng Haibin was the top qualifier at the Chinese Gymnastics Championships, which began Thursday in Hunan.
Veteran Teng Haibin was the top qualifier at the Chinese Gymnastics Championships, which began Thursday in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province.
The 25-year-old Teng led the all-around qualification with 90.950. He was the 2003 co-world and 2004 Olympic champion on pommel horse, but has not been on a world or Olympic team since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where he performed disastrously in the team final.
Guo Weiyang was second with 90.700, and Olympic still rings champion Chen Yibing was third with 89.500.
Chen, who returned to all-around competition after several years of struggling with a foot injury, was the top ringsman with 16.250. He struggled on high bar, and said the foot injury is still bothering him.
Feng Zhe, who won China's spring national championships in May, did not compete in the all-around because of a sprained ankle.
Triple Olympic champion Zou Kai led the qualification on both floor exercise (15.850) and high bar (15.900/7.5 Difficulty score).
Thursday's competition also decided the team awards among provinces. Jiangsu won the gold medal with 352.700, ahead of Guangdong (351.000) and Guizhou (348.000).
The competition in Zhuzhou will help determine the makeup of China's team to October's world championships in Rotterdam and November's Asian Games in Guangzhou. Chinese coach Huang Yubin previously announced his intention to send the same top team to both competitions.
Team manager Ye Zhennan said the gymnasts in the running for the team will have to wait to learn their fate.
"It would be premature to announce the lineup," Ye said. "It will lead to a lack of enthusiasm from the athletes during training. The competition is still needed to use as a lever to improve the athlete's motivation and strength."
Competition continues Friday in Hunan with the women's qualification. Spring national champion Sui Lu is expected to challenge 2008 Olympian Jiang Yuyuan for the all-around title. World balance beam champion Deng Linlin is sitting out the competition with a pulled thigh muscle.
Women's head coach Lu Shanzhen said Sui will debut a piked barani (Memmel) on balance beam, and Huang Qiushuang will debut an Endo-immediate full Ono combination on uneven bars.
External Link: Chinese Gymnastics Association