World champion Wei: ‘I have high hopes of winning again in Paris 2024’

Written by John Crumlish for International Gymnast Online

Saturday, November 19, 2022

China’s Wei Xiaoyuan was both incredulous and inspired by her winning performance on uneven bars at this month’s World Championships in Liverpool, where she retained her 2021 crown and bettered the reigning Olympic champion in the process.

“I cannot believe I have just defended the title,” said Wei after scoring 14.966 to finish first in the uneven bars final held November 5. “Defending the title will boost my confidence for the whole of the Paris Olympic cycle. I have high hopes of winning gold again in Paris 2024.”

Wei’s 14.966 score in the final reflected her difficulty score of 6.6, which was 0.20 higher than the field’s next highest, and her execution score of 8.366. Shilese Jones of the U.S., who matched Wei’s execution score, took silver with 14.766.

Third was Belgium’s Nina Derwael, who won gold on uneven bars at the 2018 Worlds, the 2019 Worlds and last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. She scored 14.700. Derwael’s 8.40 execution score was the best of the uneven bars final.

“I think I have the highest difficulty score among all the finalists and that favoured me for gold,” said Wei of her winning performance.

Born August 25, 2004, in Guangxi, Wei finished second on balance beam, third on uneven bars and sixth all-around at the 2019 Junior Worlds in Gyor. She won gold on uneven bars at the 2021 Worlds in Kitakyushu, where she also placed sixth all-around.

Wei said Derwael, who did not compete at the 2021 Worlds, remains a big source of motivation for her.

“She is my uneven bars idol among all the current gymnasts,” said Wei of Derwael. “I had a lot to learn from her, so this time I treated her as a learning target instead of a competitor.”

With two world titles to her credit, Wei said she wants to continue to progress.

“I think I did a pretty good job,” she said. “But I can improve my rhythm a bit more and perform like the other experienced gymnasts out there.”

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