Defending national champ Aleksandr Kartsev took advantage of 2018 world champ Artur Dalaloyan's unlikely fall on parallel bars to clinch the national title
Three-time World Championships gold medallist Artur Dalaloyan was edged out by reigning champion Aleksandr Kartsev in the all-around final of the Russian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Penza on Friday (12 March).
Kartsev, who won last year's title in November in the absence of all the top Russian gymnasts who skipped the competition over Covid-19 fears, managed to clinch his second title and prove that his 2020 win was not a one-off, with this second title coming in a lot more impressive style, given the level of competition.
The 19-year-old made the most of an uncharacteristic – and ultimately decisive – fall by 2018 world champion Dalaloyan on parallel bars to overtake his more experienced counterpart.
Kartsev trailed Dalaloyan by around 0.13 points after qualifying, but easily pulled away to finish top with a total score – qualifying and final scores were added together – of 168.862 points.
Dalaloyan finished on 167.629 points, while two-time Olympic medal winner David Belyavskiy was third on 167.297 points.
Dalaloyan seemed on course to win the title with just two rotations left, although both Kartsev and Belyavskiy were attempting to close the gap.
He was last to go in the fifth rotation on parallel bars and looked confident.
However, the 24-year-old struggled with his balance on a pirouette attempt and as he set up for his dismount completely lost control of his body, falling and landing on the mat on his side at an odd angle.
It was an unlikely mistake from the three-time World gold medallist, who got back on the apparatus to repeat his dismount but only succeeded in landing unevenly and off-balance.
That left him going into the last set on the horizontal bar trailing Kartsev by around 1.4 total points.
While Dalaloyan went first on high bar and produced a clean routine, Kartsev was also solid and as he dismounted, knew that he was unlikely to be caught.
The win propels Kartsev into the reckoning for the Russian Olympic Committee team's gymnastics squad at Tokyo 2020.
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