Murakami Leads All-Around Qualifications In Montreal
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By the slimmest of margins, Mai Murakami of Japan led the all-around qualifications at the 2017 Montreal World Championships over American Ragan Smith, 55.933-55.932.

Mai Murakami (Japan)

Canadian national champion Ellie Black qualified in third place with 55.766, followed by French champ Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos (55.299). Russia's Yelena Yeryomina and American Morgan Hurd finished fifth (54.999) and sixth (54.832), respectively.

Murakami ranked second on floor exercise with a 14.200, and fifth on vault with a 14.633. She placed eighth on balance beam with a 13.200 and 17th on uneven bars (13.900).

Smith actually had an off night. After scoring a 14.466 on her double-twisting Yurchenko, she repeated a kip on bars but still managed a 14.133. Beam was worse, however, when she fell on a flip-flop, layout to two feet (12.900). She rebounded on floor exercise with the top score of 14.433.

"I'm just kind of like doing my own thing," Smith said. "I don't really care about the scores … it's my first time at worlds, so it's really exciting."

Added Valeri Liukin, who replaced Marta Karolyi as the U.S. Women's National Team Coordinator after last summer's Olympic Games, "We have a very young team—very hard to handle that part (nerves). Technically, they are pretty strong … again, experience is everything."

When asked if his team can expect to win gold medals, Liukin replied, "I definitely hope so. We'll see."

Black ranked fourth on beam with a 13.433, sixth on vault (14.500), ninth on floor (13.433) and 12 on bars (14.400).

Completing the top 10 in order: Diana Varinska (Ukraine), Nina Derwael (Belgium), Aiko Sugihara (Japan) and Angelina Melnikova (Russia).

The competition continues in Montreal on Thursday with the men's all-around final at 7 p.m. Head to IG's Facebook page for live commentary from the Olympic Stadium!

Read complete coverage of the 2017 World Championships in the November issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe at the special world championships rate, click here.


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