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He Kexin Hits New High Score
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Newcomer He Kexin scored 17.000 on uneven bars this past week at a two-day internal test for the Chinese team in Beijing, site of the 2008 Olympic Games.

With a 7.700 A-Panel (difficulty) score, He earned 17.000 for her routine, which includes a Jaeger to mixed grip to straddled front flip and a layout Jaeger. It is likely the first time a female gymnast has hit that mark, though Chinese men's team members Chen Yibing and Yang Wei have both scored 17.000 on still rings.

He Kexin performed a Jaeger to mixed-grip

The 16-year-old He owned the previous high mark, having scored a 16.850 at the recent Cottbus Cup. She also won the event at the Doha World Cup in March with a 16.550.

Yang Yilin, the bronze medalist on the event at the 2007 World Championships, was close behind He in Beijing with a score of 16.800.

Head coach Lu Shanzen said the women's team competed back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday to test the team's physical levels and improve competition readiness. Lu said he was pleased with the strong results on the second day, with the gymnasts showing few signs of fatigue.

Superstar Cheng Fei and all-arounder Jiang Yuyuan performed well on both vault and floor exercise. Jiang, who won the Good Luck Beijing tournament in December, earned a 15.800 on vault with a 2 1/2-twisting Yurchenko.

Jiang was the top all-around performer, despite struggling on the uneven bars and balance beam on the second day.

"Jiang Yuyuan's series of problems on uneven bars and balance beam show that on these events she doesn't have enough stability," Lu told China Sports Daily. "She had some minor problems on bars on the first day, which means we will need to find the solution in future training."

Pang Panpan, a member of China's gold-medal team at the 2006 worlds, tied for fourth all-around with Xiao Sha. Pang, who had been in contention for the all-around gold in 2006 until she crashed a double-twisting Yurchenko, performed only a single-twisting version on vault this week. When asked about the vault, Pang, who has recovered from a series of foot and ankle injuries, stuck out her tongue to show her feelings on the event.

Based on two-days scores, Cheng was the top performer on both vault and floor exercise, He on uneven bars and Xiao on beam. On the second day, 2007 world balance beam silver medalist Li Shanshan (7.3 A Panel) matched Xiao (7.1) for the high score on that event.

The Chinese men team's also held an internal test this week. Head coach Huang Yubin said he was pleased that the gymnasts have shown improvement on the team's nemesis, the high bar. Zou Kai, Li Xiaopeng and Xiao Qin all competed strong routines.

Yang Wei, the 2006 and 2007 world all-around champion, showed improvement on high bar, his weakest event. He struggled on pommel horse but hit his other events cleanly.

The gymnasts taking part were Yang, Zou, Li, Feng Zhe, Huang Xu, Lu Bin, Xiao Qin, Chen Yinbing, Teng Haibing, Feng Jing and Liang Fuliang.

Huang said the test results showed the men's team in good mental and physical condition and following the established work plan toward Beijing, where the men are favored to win.

China will hold its national championships and a World Cup event in May in Tianjin. The gymnastics competition at the Olympics begins Aug. 9.

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