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Gyor brilliance offers a glimpse of Gymnastics’ future

Publication date : 30/06/2019

The 1st FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships in Gyor (HUN) concluded on Sunday, and fans of several nations can feel very excited about their country’s Gymnastics future.

In the girls’ events, Russia’s supporters can be particularly satisfied. They have secured every gold medal this weekend apart from the Vault. Viktoriia Listunova (RUS) won the Floor Exercise with an immaculate and technical routine, with her teammate Elena Gerasimova (RUS) taking silver. Ou Yushan  (CHN) got bronze.

And on Balance Beam, Gerasimova (RUS) was victorious, ahead of Wei Xiaoyuan (CHN), who got silver, and Kayla DiCello (USA), who won bronze.

Both were full of praise for each other, and the event itself. “I’m feeling wonderful,” said Listunova, who had also won All-around gold this week. “I gave everything I could, it was my best performance. These four days were really intense.

“I loved this competition, it was also great to cheer for my teammates. I was rooting so much for them. Elena is a very good gymnast. Her best trait is stability, and that’s something I’d really like to have as well.”

Gerasimova was equally pleased. “I was quite emotional after my routines, all the tension came out when I finished them,” she said. “It felt like a weight falling off my shoulders. Viktoriia is a great gymnast, she works so hard to reach these heights.”

In the boys’ events, Japan’s supporters can look towards a future potentially containing two new stars, too. Some already knew about Takeru Kitazono (JPN) from his fine performances at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games – and he confirmed his potential with a disciplined win in the Parallel Bars. Yang Haonan (CHN) won silver, and Shinnosuke Oka (JPN) the bronze.

But Oka (JPN), who also won the All-around, has perhaps been the breakout male star of weekend – and the pair have big plans together.

“I am too young for Tokyo 2020, but I hope that Takeru and I can go to Paris 2024 together and win a lot of medals,” said Oka. “By then, I want to be better than him. It is my goal to be like Takeru. He is a better gymnast than me at the moment, and I can learn from him.”

Kitazono has no doubt that his friend has got great potential. “Shinnosuke is excellent,” he said. “But he is a year younger than me and I didn’t think he would beat me in the All-around.

“It has made me learn something, which is that you need to win when you get the chance. You won’t always get it. I was very happy to take my opportunity today. Being in Gyor has helped me learn a lot.”

Gabriel Burtanete (ROU) won the boys’ Vault, Yang took the silver, with Jasper Smith-Gordon (GBR) winning bronze.

“I am perfectly satisfied with my performance, I felt really good and went in with no fear,” said Burtanete. “The whole Junior Worlds was a great experience for me, I loved the atmosphere here in Gyor.”

Nazar Chepurnyi (UKR) won gold in the boys’ Horizontal Bar. “It was not easy getting used to a big hall and a big competition,” he said. “It was a very nervous wait for the score, but I knew I’d done my routine really well. I was praying. But then it was strong enough for gold, and I felt brilliant. It has been a very well organised event and a really good crowd.”

Ivan Gerget (RUS) won silver, while the locals had something to cheer about, with Krisztian Balazs (HUN) securing bronze.

Click here for the results.

The gymnasts will now depart for their various different corners of the world – and most will return happy to have gained real, top-level sporting experience in Hungary. “It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Smith-Gordon.

“I’ve loved it. It’s the first time competing in a competition of this size. The atmosphere, and being in an arena with thousands of people cheering for you, was very special. It was my first time standing on a podium which felt amazing, my first time speaking to the press. It’s a really good experience.”