China takes half the gold at Olympic tune-up

Updated: 2015-05-11 03:08

By JI YE and MICHEAL PLACE in Rio de Janeiro(China Daily Latin America)

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China takes half the gold at Olympic tune-up

Gold medalist Shang Chunsong (center) of China, silver medalist Sophie Scheder (left) of Germany and bronze medalist Elisabeth Seitz of Germany pose during the awarding ceremony of the women's uneven bars event of the Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 2. [Photo by Rahel Patrasso]

China's gymnasts stepped up their preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning five of the 10 gold medals up for grabs at the World Challenge Cup in Sao Paulo, a three-day long event that concluded on May 3.

The 2016 Olympic host attracted gymnasts from 14 countries and regions to the Geraldo José de Almeida Gym "Ibirapuera". After events in Cottbus, Doha and Ljubljana, the competition marks the halfway point of the 2015 FIG World Challenge Cup series and the only stop in South America.

Ye Zhennan, manager of China's gymnastics team, said the main objective of the competition was to prepare the athletes for the Rio 2016 Games.

"The aim was to train the team, gain the experience, and test our winter-training results," Ye said.

"We also took this opportunity to adapt to the jet lag and climate difference here in Brazil, and analyze their impact on athletes," Ye said, adding that it took about two weeks to get over the jet lag.

In addition to the five gold medals, Chinese gymnasts also won two silver medals.

China's Olympic hopeful Shang Chunsong followed her success in the May 2 parallel bars finals by winning the women's beam the next day with a score of 15.400.

Xiao Ruoteng took the final day's other gold for China in the pommel horse with a score of 15.075, defeating teammate and 2009 world champion Zhang Hongtao. Xiao also won the men’s horizontal bar posting a score of 15.125.

Deng Yalan was China's other gold medal winner, triumphing on the women's beam with a score of 15.400.

Xiong Jingbin, coach of China's gymnastics team, said the Chinese gymnasts basically presented their normal performances, achieved their original aim and the level of competition was not as high as at other major events.

"Since China is so far away from Brazil geographically and the jet lag between the two countries is significant, some of our gymnasts didn't adapt very quickly and some even had a bit of altitude sickness in Sao Paulo," Xiong said, adding that they would share what they've learned with the entire Chinese team in preparation for the 2016 Olympics.

Xiong said the Ibirapuera gym area where held the event was held would be the training center for China's Olympic team prior to the 2016 Olympics. "We found the gymnasium is good and only needs to install a few sports facilities," Xiong added.

Brazil was the second most successful country at the event, taking home three gold medals.

They went to Flavia Saraiva for women's floor exercises, Arthur Zanetti for men's rings and Angelo Assumpcao for men's vault.

But the host nation's fans were disappointed by a second-place finish for two-time world champion Diego Hypolito in the floor exercises. The 28-year-old revealed he needed anti-inflammatory medication to treat back pain during the event.

"As a result of this pain I'm not always able to jump," Hypolito told Globo News.

"Here I felt it was a little worse but I'm satisfied. The fans gave me a lot of support and this helped me a lot looking ahead to the Olympics," he said.