Paseka, Whitlock and Petrounias successfully defend their World titles


Paseka, Whitlock and Petrounias successfully defend their World titles

October 7, 2017

Competition report of the first day of event finals at #mtlgym2017

5 finals were contested today at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium: floor, pommel horse and rings for the men and vault and bars for the women.


After the drama on floor in qualification, the FIG allowed first reserve Tomas Gonzalez of Chili to compete in the final so 9 gymnasts fought for the 3 available medals. Top qualifier and defending World Champion Kenzo Shirai (JPN) was simply unbeatable as he produced a routine with a difficulty of 7.2, finishing with an impressive quadruple twist. Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat went into the final believing a medal was possible. After a fabulous routine he was afraid the other competitors would pass him as they were all very strong. But he stayed in second place winning the silver medal. The 20-year-old was in awe afterwards: “It’s the first time and it’s very exciting. I can’t believe it yet!” Worlds debutant Bram Verhofstad (NED) controlled his nerves well, showing off nice form. He held on to fourth place, being overtaken by Yul Moldauer (USA) for the bronze medal.

1.      Kenzo Shirai (JPN) 15.633

2.      Artem Dolgopyat (ISR) 14.533

3.      Yul Moldauer (USA) 14.500

4.      Bram Verhofstad (NED) 14.333

5.      Tomas Gonzalez (CHI) 14.266

6.      Donnell Whittenburg (USA) 14.166

7.      Manrique Larduet (CUB) 14.100

8.      Kim Hansol (KOR) 14.100

9.      Milad Karimi (KAZ) 13.266



No major surprises in the women’s vault final as Russian defending World Champion Maria Paseka performed the most difficult vaults to win the World title again. Her form isn’t the best, and she knows that: “I can do the vaults cleaner but for today it was good enough.” After a year of struggling with a back injury and poor performances, the Russian was thrilled to be on top of the podium again. First-year senior Jade Carey showed a lot of promise on this event, taking the silver medal ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Giulia Steingruber who has made an excellent comeback.

1.      Maria Paseka (RUS) 14.850

2.      Jade Carey (USA) 14.766

3.      Giulia Steingruber (SUI)  14.466

4.      Ellie Black (CAN) 14.466

5.      Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) 14.366

6.      Wang Yan (CHN) 14.350

7.      Shallon Olsen (CAN) 14.233

8.      Sae Miyakawa (JPN) 13.800


Pommel horse

Great Britain’s Max Whitlock raised the standard on one of his signature events. The World and Olympic Champion showed off great difficulty, half a point higher than his nearest rival. His execution was good as well, taking the top score and a marking a successful return to competition: “Today I’m so happy, my build up hasn’t been perfect but I’m here with the title again, I can’t believe it. It feels very, very special, I’ve worked so hard and to defend my title is a big moment for me, that’s what I’ve always aspired to do.” Reigning European Champion David Belyavskiy performed with his usual beauty and elegance, delighted to clinch the silver medal after his all-around disappointment. 2015 European Champion Harutyun Merdinyan (ARM) finished 5th and falls prevented Slovenia’s Saso Bertoncelj and Oleg Verniaiev from challenging for the medals.

1.      Max Whitlock (GBR) 15.441

2.      David Belyavskiy (RUS) 15.100

3.      Ruoteng Xiao (CHN) 15.066

4.      Alexander Naddour (USA) 14.750

5.      Harytyun Merdinyan (ARM) 14.700

6.      Weng Hao (CHN) 14.500

7.      Oleg Verniaiev (UKR) 13.700

8.      Saso Bertoncelj (SLO) 12.966


Uneven bars

4 gymnasts tied for the World title on bars 2 years ago in Glasgow. Of them, only Fan Yilin of China participated here in Montreal. With a D-score of 6.5 she executed the most difficult routine of this final. She got rewarded with the top score, another gold medal for Fan! Russia’s Elena Eremina rocked her bars set after a mistake on this event cost her dearly in yesterday’s all-around final. No mistakes today, and the silver medal. European Champion Nina Derwael has been writing history all week, first by becoming the first Belgian female finalists, then the highest all-around finish (8th) and today as Belgium’s first ever World medallist: “[My coach] Marjorie told me when I got off the podium  that I did my job, I did my best. What the others do I can’t change. This is how I tried to view it. But still, I thought if she’s behind me that’s good, I felt better after every exercise. I’m so happy, it’s like a dream. Belgium is a small country, it’s nice to show that we can do big things.”

1.      Fan Yilin (CHN) 15.166

2.      Elena Eremina (RUS) 15.100

3.      Nina Derwael (BEL) 15.033

4.      Anastasia Iliankova (RUS) 14.900

5.      Eli Seitz (GER) 14.766

6.      Diana Varinska (UKR) 14.583

7.      Luo Huan (CHN) 14.566

8.      Ashton Locklear (USA) 12.766



Eleftherios Petrounias has won his first major title at the 2015 European Championships and has been undefeated since then. In Montreal he added another gold, his seventh major title in a row already!  The Greek ‘Lord of the Rings’ said: “This has been the most difficult title. The other gymnasts were really strong. And the pressure is on my shoulders.” Russia’s former European Champion Denis Ablyazin come close, within a tenth of the master, holding off China’s Liu Yang. France’s Samir Ait Said, world famous for his horrific injury in Rio, just missed out on the podium but can be proud of the journey he has made since August last year. Also worth a special mention is Turkey’s Ibrahim Colak who definitely has the potential to medal on this event.

1.      Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE) 15.433

2.      Denis Ablyazin (RUS) 15.333

3.      Liu Yang (CHN) 15.266

4.      Samir Ait Said (FRA) 15.258

5.      Ibrahim Colak (TUR) 15.066

6.      Igor Radivilov (UKR) 14.933

7.      Arthur Zanetti (BRA) 14.900

8.      Courtney Tulloch (GBR) 14.533


An interesting fact: all 5 World Champions crowned today also won the World title in 2015!

The full results are available on the FIG’s event website: