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Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:01    PDF Print
Chinese Men Wary of Japan in Guangzhou
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2004 Olympic gold medalist Hisashi Mizutori leads a Japanese team that will put pressure on host China at the Asian Games.

Even without world champion Kohei Uchimura, Japan will pose a strong threat to the host Chinese at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China's team manager said.

In Guangzhou, China is fielding the same team that claimed the gold medal at last month's world championships in Rotterdam. China also boasts three individual world champions from Rotterdam — Chen Yibing (still rings), Feng Zhe (parallel bars) and Zhang Chenglong (high bar) — and is favored to dominate again at the Asian Games.

In Rotterdam, Japan nearly defeated the Chinese, but two falls in the team final landed them in second. China, which won the 2008 Olympic title over Japan by more than five points, won by little more than one point in 2010.

Japan's world team members will stay home, but the team sent to Guangzhou should not be overlooked, Chinese team manager Ye Zhennan said.

"Although the Japanese sent their second team, they are still incredibly strong," Ye told the Chinese media.

Unlike most countries, Japan traditionally applies a non-objective mathematical formula in picking its world and Olympic squads, using all-around and apparatus rankings from two separate trials. But like the Chinese, the Japanese have such depth that outstanding gymnasts are inevitably left off their first team, Ye noted.

2005 world all-around silver medalist Hisashi Mizutori, who helped Japan win the team gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is the most experienced gymnast on Japan's Asian Games team. The team also includes 2008 Olympian Takuya Nakase, sixth all-around at the 2006 Worlds, and Shun Kuwahara, winner of the 2007 NHK Cup.

"They have a strong competitive edge," Ye said of Japan's experienced team.

2008 Olympic all-around champion Yang Wei said he observed Japan training in Guangzhou to prepare for his role as a television commentator. Yang, who won the 2006 Asian Games and back-to-back world titles in 2006 and 2007, said the Chinese men never count on winning.

"We need to wait and see," he said. "I believe they will go all out."

The Chinese have gold-medal contenders in all the individual events, but are at their weakest in the all-around. The team has been without a strong all-arounder since Yang retired. In Rotterdam, Lu Bo finished sixth and Teng Haibin was 11th.

Teng, the 2004 Olympic champion on pommel horse, has the potential to win the all-around title if he can overcome his inconsistency. Men's head coach Huang Yubin said Teng struggles physically.

"He stepped it up at the world championships in the Netherlands," Huang said. "But in my opinion, he also has some problems that need to be solved. For example, his physical ability now is quite weak as we can see during competition also. He went to the Olympic Games in Athens and won, so his competitive experience is relatively rich, but he must first resolve his physical problems if he wants to be show his full potential in 2012."

Held every four years, the Asian Games are the largest single sporting event outside the Olympic Games. This year's edition includes athletes from 45 nations competing in 42 sports. Gymnastics competition begins Saturday at the Asian Games Town Gymnasium.

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 09 November 2010 22:27    PDF Print
Romanians Regrouping for Pre-Olympic Year
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Following the world championships, the Romanian women's team is taking a break from competition — but not from training — in order to prepare for 2011.

World balance beam champion Ana Porgras

The team has returned to full-time training at the Olympic Sports Complex in Izvorani, with an emphasis on increasing the gymnasts' difficulty for 2011.

The gymnasts will get a few days of vacation at the end of the year, but there is work to be done now, veteran coach Mariana Bitang told a Romanian newspaper.

"If they took a break now they would certainly gain a few kilograms, and instead of a training program we would have to have a weight-loss program," Bitang said.

The Romanian women finished fourth at last month's world championships in Rotterdam, behind Russia, the U.S. and China. Along with 1981 and 2006, 2010 was only the third time since 1976 the team did not medal at a world or Olympics.

In Rotterdam, Ana Porgras won the gold medal on balance beam, the Romanian women's first world title since 2002. Teammate Diana Chelaru tied for the silver medal on floor exercise.

The week after worlds, Sandra Izbasa took part in the Arthur Gander Memorial and the Swiss Cup. But the gymnasts will sit out this weekend's DTB Cup in Stuttgart and the following weekend's Glasgow Grand Prix in Scotland.

2010 European balance beam champion Amelia Racea, relegated to team alternate in Rotterdam because of injury, is able to train again.

While Romania's senior women will stay home, their junior counterparts will take part in several international competitions in November, including the Massilia Cup in France, the Alpen Adria Cup in Austria and Top Gym in Belgium.

Romanian held its junior national championships for categories II and III this past weekend in Bacau. Steau Bucharest's Irina Paun, scheduled to compete at this weekend's Massilia Gym Cup, won five medals.

External Link: Romanian Gymnastics Federation

2010 Romanian Junior Women's Championships
Nov. 6-7, Bacau

Junior II All-Around
1.Ana Maria OcolisanCNS Cetate Deva52.650
2.Stefania StanilaCNS Cetate Deva51.600
3.Maria RautaFocsani51.300
4.Andreea RotaruFocsani51.000
5.Alexandra MarcuCNS Cetate Deva50.050
6.Cristina IliescuCSA Steaua Bucharest46.900

Junior III, Level III All-Around
1.Laura JurcaCNS Cetate Deva52.850
2.Andreea PuiuCSM Onesti52.650
3.Madalina BlendeaCNS Cetate Deva51.700
4.Larisa CulbeceCSS1 Timisoara51.650
5.Adela FloreaCNS Cetate Deva51.500
6.Aida OrheanuFocsani51.400

Junior III, Level IV All-Around
1.Irina PaunCSA Steaua Bucharest55.150
2.Ioana BadeaCSS 1 Timisoara53.200
3.Catinca TirziuCSS 1 Constanta51.650
4.Silvia ZarzuCSM Onesti50.085
5.Denisa NastaseFocsani50.600
6.Andreea MunteanuCNS Cetate Deva50.400

Junior II Vault
1.Ana Maria OcolisanCetate Deva13.350
2.Andreea RotaruFocsani13.100
3.Maria RautaFocsani13.050

Junior II Uneven Bars
1.Ana Maria OcolisanCetate Deva13.300
2.Maria RautaFocsani12.350
3.Alexandra MarcuCetate Deva12.250

Junior II Balance Beam
1.Alexandra MarcuCetate Deva13.650
2.Maria RautaFocsani12.900
3.Andreea RotaruFocsani12.850

Junior II Floor Exercise
1.Andreea RotaruFocsani14.200
2.Ana Maria OcolisanCetate Deva13.700
3.Alexandra MarcuCetate Deva13.600

Junior III, Level III Vault
1.Madalina BlendeaCetate Deva13.625
2.Larisa CulbeceTimisoara13.300
3.Andreea PuiuOnesti13.200

Junior III, Level III Uneven Bars
1.Anda ButucCSS2 Bucharest13.850
2.Madalina BlendeaCetate Deva13.800
3.Laura JurcaCetate Deva13.400

Junior III, Level III Balance Beam
1.Andreea IridonCetate Deva13.450
2.Larisa CulbeceTimisoara13.350
3.Laura JurcaCetate Deva13.250

Junior III, Level III Floor Exercise
1.Andreea IridonCetate Deva14.150
2.Madalina BlendeaCetate Deva14.000
3.Aida OrheanuFocsani13.900

Junior III, Level IV Vault
1.Silvia ZarzuOnesti13.450
2.Irina PaunBucharest13.200
3.Diana TeodoruBacau13.100

Junior III, Level IV Uneven Bars
1.Andreea MunteanuCetate Deva12.950
2.Irina PaunBucharest12.700
3.Ioana BadeaTimisoara12.600

Junior III, Level IV Balance Beam
1.Ioana BadeaTimisoara13.700
2.Irina PaunBucharest13.500
3.Denisa NastaseFocsani13.050

Junior III, Level IV Floor Exercise
1.Denisa NastaseFocsani14.000
2.Irina PaunBucharest13.850
3.Silvia ZarzuOnesti13.750
Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 08 November 2010 19:12    PDF Print
Chinese Hope for Golden Sweep in Guangzhou
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

The host Chinese team has its eye on a full sweep of the gymnastics gold medals at the 16th Asian Games, which begin Monday in Guangzhou.

With Japan not sending its top men's team and North Korea banned from competition, the door is open for China to win all 14 gold medals at the city's Asian Games Town Gymnasium. The roster includes 127 gymnasts from across Asia, but few should be able to challenge China in China.

Gymnast Yang Yilin will serve as a torchbearer Tuesday as the relay continues in Guangzhou.

China is sending its same squads from last month's world championships in Rotterdam, where its men's team took first and the women finished third. The Chinese men won individual gold medals from Chen Yibing (still rings), Feng Zhe (parallel bars) and Zhang Chenglong (high bar), while Jiang Yuyuan won the silver medal in the women's all-around.

At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, China's male gymnasts won five of eight gold medals, and the women won five of six.

2006 men's vault champion Ri Se Gwang and 2006 uneven bars champion Hong Su Jong will not be able to defend their titles in Guangzhou. North Korea is banned from international competition through October 2012 for falsifying Hong's age, the FIG announced last week.

The Chinese teams returned from Rotterdam on Oct. 28, and then flew from Beijing to Guangzhou on Nov. 5.

Jiang Yuyuan said the women's team is training very well, and that the responsibility of being team captain will not add pressure in her first Asian Games.

"I participated in the Olympic Games and world championships before and have a plenty of competition experience, so I'm not too nervous," she said. "Many people have asked me about being the captain, but actually no, I don't bow to the pressure."

2008 Olympic gold medalist Yang Yilin will carry the torch Tuesday as the Asian Games torch relay nears its final destination in the host city of Guangzhou. Yang, a native of Guangzhou, will be the first runner taking the torch from the city's Zhongshan Memorial Hall toward the official stadium.

After the team first arrived, the gymnasts trained in Yang's hometown gym.

"Yang Yilin was so excited, because this is her 'alma mater,' carrying her most wonderful childhood memories! Walking onto the familiar campus, into the hall where she shed countless sweat and tears, Yang Yilin's eyes were blazing with memories," women's head coach Lu Shanzhen wrote on his blog.

Lu praised the accommodations at the Guangzhou's Athletes' Village — despite its lack of entertainment. Gymnasts will need to go to the communication center for television and Internet access.

"The organizing committee arranged this deliberately to let coaches and athletes rest and have peace of mind in order to focus on the competition," Lu wrote.

External Link: Official Asian Games Website

XVI Asian Games
Nov. 13-17, Guangzhou, China

Men's Roster
Chen Yibing
Feng Zhe
Lu Bo
Teng Haibin
Yan Mingyong
Zhang Chenglong
Ng Kiu Chung
Shek Wai Hung
Zhong Jian
Ranjan Alok
Ashish Kumar
Devesh Kumar
Srivastava Mayank
Rakesh Kumar Patra
Amir Azami
Vahid Izadfar
Nejad Hadi Khanari
Ehsan Khodadaditirkolaei
Mohammad Ramezannpour
Younes Zeyghami
Ali Altameemi
Ryosuke Baba
Ryotaka Deguchi
Shun Kuwahara
Hisashi Mizutori
Takuya Nakase
Kyoichi Watanabe
Stepan Gorbachyov
Ilya Kornev
Timur Kurbanbayev
Maxim Petrishko
Eldar Valeyev
Stanislav Valiyev
Yernar Yerimbetov
Kim Hee Hoon
Kim Ji Hoon
Kim Soo Myun
Sin Seob
Yang Hak Seon
Yoo Won Chul
Ali Alakhwaher
Abdulaziz Aljohani
Radwan Almuwallad
Habeb Aswailah
Jasem Gazwi
Ismail Shabi
Jawad Alherz
Mohammad Ali
Naser Alothman
Bader Alrashed
Ali Alsaffar
Mohamad Shami
Lum Wan Foong
Erdenebold Ganbat
Ajar Jangam
Nirajan Kunwar
Pasang Kaji Sherpa
Surah Singh
Ahmed Aldyani
Nasser Alhamad
Mahmood Alsadi
Malek Alyahri
Thuangtong Chan
Gan Zi Jie Gabriel
Nadika Bulathsinhalage
Tharindu Paththapperuma
Suriyen Chanduang
Weena Chokpaoumpai
Rartchawat Kaewpanya
Woranad Kaewpanya
Thitipong Sukdee
Kittipong Yudee
Chen Chih Yu
Hsu Ping Chien
Huang Che Kuei
Lu Yan Ting
Tu Yu-chen
Anton Fokin
Otabek Masharipov
Daulet Narmetov
Ivan Olushev
Ravshanbek Osimov
Eduard Shaulov
Dang Nam
Hau Trung Linh
Hoang Cuong
Nguyen Hathanh
Pham Phuoc Hung
Truong Minh Sang
Nashwan Al Harazi
Mohammed Sharif
Women's Roster
Deng Linlin
He Kexin
Huang Qiushuang
Jiang Yuyuan
Sui Lu
Yang Yilin
Wong Hiu Ying Angel
Momoko Ozawa
Yuko Shintake
Rie Tanaka
Koko Tsurumi
Mai Yamagishi
Eum Eunhui
Jo Hyun Joo
Kim Ye Eun
Moon Eunmee
Park Eun Kyung
Park Ji Yeon
Bou Aram Katia
Cheong See Teng
Frances Audrey Munoz
Aljazy Abdulrahman Alhabshi
Khoo Oon Hui Krystal
Lim Heem Wei
Tay Jia Hui Tabitha
Tay Xi Hui Nicole
Mananchaya Senklang
Emrina Abduvaliyeva
Luiza Galiulina
Yulia Goreva
Diana Karimdjanova
Asal Saparbayeva
Irina Volodchenko
Do Thi Ngan Thuong
Do Thi Thu Huyen
Phan Thi Ha Thanh
Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 05 November 2010 11:12    PDF Print
FIG Suspends North Korea for Two Years
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

North Korea's gymnasts will be out of competition for two full years because of the changing ages for 2004 Olympian Hong Su Jong, the FIG announced Friday.

North Korea is suspended from international competition until October 2012 for age falsification and false registration, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Friday.

As IG reported in September, North Korean gymnast Hong Su Jong's birth year has appeared over the years as 1985, 1986 and 1989. For the 2010 World Championships, the North Korean federation submitted Hong's birth year as 1989, meaning she was underage at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

On Oct. 5, the FIG's Disciplinary Commission provisionally suspended the North Korean federation for 30 days, leaving the country out of October's world championships in Rotterdam. North Korea appealed but the FIG upheld the suspension, stating the federation's offered excuses for the varying birth dates were not credible.

Hong's case is the second age falsification offense for North Korea. The North Korean women were banned from the 1993 World Championships after the FIG discovered gymnast Kim Gwang Suk had been registered as being 15 from 1989-1991.

The FIG Presidential Commission followed the Disciplinary Commission's recommendation to suspend North Korea for two years, from Oct. 6, 2010 to Oct. 5, 2012, and to forbid its participation "in any capacity in any competition or activity authorised or organised by the FIG, any Union, any National Federation, any club or in any international event."

The FIG stated that Hong also is not allowed to compete in any domestic competition during that period of time.

"The FIG's decision is a clear signal to those who would willfully disregard the current rules surrounding gymnast age. The health of its athletes and respect for the law are among the International Gymnastics Federation's highest priorities," the FIG stated.

The sanction includes not only the women's team, but also North Korea's male gymnasts and rhythmic gymnasts. Notably this affects male standout Ri Se Gwang, the only gymnast who has competed two vaults of the maximum difficulty of 7.2 (piked double front-half and Tsukahara double back with a full twist).

The latest birth date for Hong Su Jong — March 9, 1989 — confirms the long-held suspicion that she and her sister, Hong Un Jong, are twins. Hong Un Jong, whose date of birth has been listed consistently as March 9, 1989, won the gold medal on vault at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Hong Un Jong did not compete at the 2004 Olympics.

The FIG also hit the North Korean federation with a fine of 20,000 Swiss Francs (approximately $20,800). Several years ago, the North Korean federation was temporarily suspended from the FIG for being unable to pay its membership dues.

The FIG showed leniency, however, by not stripping Hong of the silver medal she won on vault at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart for the infraction of "false registration." Although a 1989 year of birth would have been made her age eligible in 2007, Hong was registered in Stuttgart using a passport that listed her year of birth as 1986. All passports are photocopied, the FIG told IG. However, the FIG could not determine that 1986 is a false birthdate.

North Korea may appeal the sanction in writing within 21 days, the FIG stated.

Click here to download FIG Disciplinary Committee's findings and recommendation for suspension.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 04 November 2010 14:02    PDF Print
Hill: Stability Key for Olympic Qualification
(11 votes, average 4.18 out of 5)

Preparing for the upcoming DTB Cup, Germany's Lisa Katharina Hill told IG this week that her team will need to be more stable if it hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Lisa Katharina Hill (Germany) at the 2010 Worlds

"I think we have to develop our routines, and especially on floor, we have to focus on our dismounts and stuck landings," she said.

Hill said a lack of experience contributed to Germany's 14th-place finish at last month's world championships in Rotterdam. The top 24 teams in Rotterdam have advanced to the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, where the top eight teams will earn berths to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Four additional teams will earn Olympic berths at a competition in early 2012.

"I think that we, as a team, achieved a pretty good result, especially on uneven bars," said the 18-year-old Hill. "Unfortunately we were not able to repeat our best training performances on all apparatuses, which is due to the fact that a lot of our gymnasts are very young and inexperienced. For some these were their first world championships."

Hill said she has not found it difficult to compete in major events following Rotterdam. She and partner Sebastian Krimmer placed 10th at the Swiss Cup mixed-pairs competition on Oct. 31. Hill is scheduled to compete at the DTB Cup, a World Cup event Nov. 12-14 in Stuttgart.

"The competitions after the world championships are great ones, and I have tried to remain in good shape to present my best routines during these competitions," Hill said. "After a good preparation for the world championships, you can perform your routines easily so that you are able to repeat them even after the peak of a world championship."

Hill, who earlier this year placed ninth with her team at the European championships and second all-around at the German championships, said her overall results in 2010 have inspired her for 2011.

"After this year I am really motivated for next year," she told IG. "I definitely want to participate in the European championships in Berlin and the world championships in Tokyo. And, of course, I would be very happy about any participation in World Cups and other international tournaments."


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