Villa, Kitazono, and Naidin add to gymnastic medal hauls

The winners of the individual all-around competitions, Japan’s Takeru Kitazono and Italy’s Giorgia Villa, double their golden tally at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 in the artistic gymnastics apparatus finals on Saturday 13 October. The Italian emerged victorious on the vault, the Japanese on the floor.

Picture by IOC/OIS

China’s Dehang Yin won the men’s pommel horse competition and Russia’s Kseniia Klimenko the women’s uneven bars to complete a busy day in the Youth Olympic Village.

After finishing in seventh place on the floor during qualifying, Kitazono displayed his quality in the final when it mattered most. With scores of 4,900 for difficulty and 8,733 for execution, his performance earned him a total score of 13,633 and a second gold medal in Buenos Aires 2018, ahead of Hungary’s Krzstian Balasz, who finished with a score of 13,600. Russia’s Sergei Naidin, 13,566, who had finished second behind Kitazono in the individual all-around competition on 11 October, won a bronze medal.

In the next final, the women's vault, Villa also won her second title after her unprecedented success in the individual all-around competition. Her two jumps scored well above her rivals, and her total of 14.333 left Hungary's Csenge Maria Bacskay (13.933) and Canadian Emma Spence (13.483) in the silver and bronze-medal positions respectively.

In the men’s pommel horse, Yin (13.900) finished just ahead of Naidin (13.500), but the surprise came from Iran’s Haljari Bohlouzade who took bronze (13.241) and won a first Youth Olympic Games gymnastics medal for her country. The young gymnast was so overwhelmed by his result that he forgot to attend the post-match interviews. “I am very excited because it was already a dream for me to compete in two finals, the all around and the pommel horse,” said the young Iranian. “But finishing with a medal is even more incredible.”


Finally, Klimenko, who had missed the podium in the all-around competition, finished just ahead of Villa on the women’s parallel bars. It was the Russian’s best execution score that gave her the win, with a total of 14.266 ahead of Villa’s 14.166. Villa’s silver was her third medal of these Games. China's Xijing Tang finished with a bronze medal with a score of 13,900.

Registration uncertainty

Naidin ended the day with two medals around his neck, but it could have been very different for the 17-year-old, who started the day fearing he would be unable to compete at all.


Naidin entered the arena for his warm-up just two hours before the finals and, as is routine, he checked the starting lists with his coach. The problem is that his name was not there!

When we realized that, it was a big shock and we immediately went to see the officials of the international federation. Sergei NaidinRussian Federation - Sergei NaidinRussian Federation

By completing the registration forms, Naidin’s coach Sergey Stepanenko had mistakenly taken him out of the apparatus finals for which he had qualified. A small mistake that caused a moment of panic. "He thought he had confirmed my participation, but instead he had knocked me out of the finals by mistake. I do not blame my coach, but of course it was not easy."

"There was a moment when I thought that I would not be able to participate at all in my events. I was shocked, but we fought and I ended up with my place in these finals. It was hard to concentrate after everything that happened but now, I think I can be satisfied. Win those medals, it's just superb!"