Liu Tingting retains Chinese all-around title

2018 beam world champion held off Wei Xiaoyuan to take victory in Zhaoqing with Qi Qi taking bronze.

By Rory Jiwani

Liu Tingting won a dramatic women's all-around final at the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Zhaoqing on Saturday (26 September).

Despite coming off the balance beam - the event in which she won gold at the 2018 World Championships - the 20-year-old retained her title by half a point from Wei Xiaoyuan with Qi Qi claiming the last podium place.

Liu held a lead of just 0.1 over Guan Chenchen from qualifying, but Guan's fall from the uneven bars wrecked her hopes and she ended down in sixth place.

Wei actually had a better final than Liu, scoring 55.150 to 55.100, but her deficit from qualifying was too much to make up.

It was Liu's second gold of the event having helped Guangdong Province, which also included All Around star Chen Yile, to a home victory in the team event on Thursday.

There was some doubt over Liu's participation in the all-around after she missed two weeks of training last month due to chicken pox.

And despite not being at 100 percent, she was still good enough to claim back-to-back national all-around titles.

Liu Tingting performs on balance beam during the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

Liu does enough to retain crown

The top six from qualifying were grouped together in the same rotation, rotating in Olympic order (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise).

Liu was pushed down to second place after vaulting a Yurchenko with a full twist as she scored 13.100 with Guan's 13.950 taking her into a sizeable lead.

But the Zhejiang gymnast's hopes of a first all-around title were dashed by a scary fall on the uneven bars with her coach just managing to catch her, as she slipped off mid Weiler kip.

She scored just 11.350 - the worst of all 24 finalists - leaving her out of contention for a podium finish before her best discipline, the balance beam.

A solid 14.550 on the bars from Liu restored her to the top with Wei Xiaoyuan posting 14.600 to become her nearest rival.

The drama was far from over as Liu came off the beam on her front handspring, front tuck acrobatic series and scored just 13.850 to potentially leave the door open.

But Wei failed to capitalise as she fell on her acro series, a back handspring to layout stepout, and scored 13.800, nine-tenths down on her score from qualifying.

That left Liu with a comfortable lead of three-tenths going into the floor exercise, and her score of 13.600 gave her a winning total of 111.100.

Wei from Guangxi Province took second with 106.600 and third place went to Qi Qi whose 14.200 on floor, the best on the day, moved her past Lu Yufei onto the podium.

Qi's dynamic routine on the floor exercise opened with a strong, stuck double-twisting double back followed by a one-and-a-half twist through to triple full.

Fifth place went to Tang Xijing who is another one to watch in the beam after her top score of 14.850.

The individual apparatus finals take place over the next two days with the vault and uneven bars on Sunday, and the beam and floor on Monday.