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Canada's MacLennan, China's Gao golden as Trampoline Worlds end

 
Publication date : 10/11/2018

Rosie MacLennan (CAN) and Gao Lei (CHN) bounced to world titles on Saturday as the 2018 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships concluded in Saint Petersburg (RUS), where Sweden's Lina Sjöberg (women's Double Mini-trampoline) and Russia's Vadim Afanasev (men's Tumbling) were also crowned world champions.

Sjöberg strikes gold for Sweden

With the most difficult passes of the women's Double Mini final, Lina Sjöberg made history by becoming the first Swedish gymnast, female or male, to take a world title at the Trampoline world championships. She landed her half out pike - Miller straight in competition for the first time in the final, scoring 72.100 for gold. A former national team member in Artistic Gymnastics, Sjöberg claimed gold after two previous bronze medals.

"Finally!" Sjöberg said. "The third time's the charm!"

Top qualifier Melania Rodríguez (ESP), 17, was just as happy to win silver, the first medal for a Spanish woman in the event.

"I am super happy," she said. "To get a silver medal at the world championships is amazing. I'm completely surprised because it's my first world championships."

Former world champion Kristle Lowell (USA) was ecstatic to win bronze after placing eighth in qualification and said she was delighted to land her passes square in the box. Lowell said she was honoured to share the podium with Sjöberg and Rodríguez, and praised the camaraderie among the international competitors.

"If I have to get a bronze medal to anyone, I want it to be those two because they are both so kind and caring," Lowell said. "They were the first to congratulate me. It makes the competition so much more fun. Getting bronze to them is an honour."

Afanasev tumbles to title

Russia's Afanasev was crowned king of men's Tumbling with two incredible passes for 79.200. After a first pass of two double straights to triple pike, he nearly stuck his spectacular full-full straight to a full-in triple pike.

"I feel great and I am really enjoying my victory," Afanasev said.

Silver medallist Elliott Browne (GBR) said he was struck by a sudden case of nerves in the morning but gathered himself to compete in the final. He tumbled the same ultra-difficult second pass as Afanasev.

"I'm absolutely buzzing! I have got no words," Browne said. "I just kept thinking, 'Do it like I do at home. I know I can do it.'"

Defending world champion Zhang Kuo (CHN) won bronze.

MacLennan recaptures world title

Following bronze in the All-Around Team Final and silver in the women's Synchro, two-time Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan completed her set of medals in Saint Petersburg by taking the gold in the women's Individual Trampoline. Second in the Individual semi-final, MacLennan saved her best for last, scoring 57.180 to recapture her title won in 2013.

The humble MacLennan described herself as "pretty overwhelmed" to wear gold, and praised her competitors.

"I'm so proud of all the competitors in the final," she said. "It's always really inspiring and motivating to watch everyone compete but I was really happy with my routines."

Sidelined by a neck injury in 2017, MacLennan said her love for the sport is driving her toward a fourth Olympic appearance in Tokyo 2020.

"For me, it just goes back to that I just really love jumping and I really love competing," she said. "Watching all the athletes over the past couple of years has reignited my passion and kept me going."

First in semi-finals, 2014 Youth Olympic champion Zhu Xueying (CHN) settled for silver in the final, just 0.1 behind MacLennan. Yana Pavlova (RUS) was delighted to win bronze, her first individual medal in her fifth world championships. Pavlova said she was happy to end the competition on a high note after the disappointment of the team final, when she and several of her teammates had falls that dashed Russia's hopes of gold.

"There was some disappointment since we were ready to win the team gold medal, but many people made mistakes," she said. "But now I feel good because it's an individual bronze medal and I'm glad to have it. Right now I have so much adrenaline it feels like the competition isn't even over!"

Gao, Dong go 1-2 for China

Gao Lei defended his 2015 and 2017 titles, earning 62.255 to take his third consecutive gold. His airtime of 18.255 was well above any of his competitors as Gao soared over the Saint Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex under the close watch of world championships ambassador Alexander Moskalenko, the last man to win three consecutive world Individual Trampoline titles (1990, 1992, 1994).

Teammate Dong Dong, the three-time Olympic medallist, won silver. Andrey Yudin (RUS) closed out the competition for the host nation with another bronze.

Fourth in Saturday's semi-final, Yudin saved his best performance for the final, where he outscored 2016 Olympic champion Uladzislau Hancharou (BLR) for a place on the podium.

"My goal was to get into the final," he explained, "and so I tried to just do a stable routine but made my combinations, so I could get to the final and have a chance at a medal and it worked. Right now I feel good. I am a little disappointed, but I'm glad I made my combination and won a medal."

Action continues next week in Saint Petersburg with the 26th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions, where the top junior athletes from around the world will compete for medals in all the FIG trampoline and tumbling events.

The 34th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships will take place 28 November - 1 December 2019 in Tokyo (JPN).