Nina Derwael wins Belgium's first medal at World Gymnastics Championship
Belgium’s Nina Derwael made history at the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Friday night. The 18-year-old put up a great routine during the uneven bars event final to finish with the gold at the Aspire Dome. It was the first time Belgium had a gymnast win a medal in the sport. American Simone Biles meanwhile secured silver and Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz took home the bronze.
Biles competed in what she considers her favorite apparatus but would have some friendly competition as Hurd qualified for the event final as well. Rebecca Downie of Great Britain was first to go up starting with a great routine before it all came apart. During a difficult combination, Downie stalled on the high bar before bailing off to walk and chalk up. She finished with a great dismount but knew that it wouldn’t help compete for a medal.
The 17-year-old American went next and fired up the crowd with a very good routine that included a full pirouette before dismounting with a double tumble and landing and taking two steps. Despite the small misstep, she got a 14.433 that set the pace for the six remaining competitors. Huan Luo took the lead with a 14.500 having a great release which saw her flip far from the high bar and land cleanly.
Seitz continued to change up the top of the leaderboard where her routine that had a 6.2 difficulty value earned her a spot in first with a 14.6. Derwael was back to show her skills on the apparatus after having the best score at the all-around Thursday. With a lot of skills in her combinational movements, the Belgian finished with a terrific dismount to earn a 15.2.
Biles and Mustafina were left to go with the 21-year-old American going first. Biles had another tremendous routine and dismounted with a small hop that got her a 14.7 to put her in second place. Derwael would secure Belgium’s first gymnastics medal but had to wait to see where the Russian would finish. Mustafina had no errors and a perfect dismount. With her difficulty not as high as the Belgian, she earned a 14.433 that would deny her a consecutive medal on her strongest event.
Biles captured her 21st world championship medal in gymnastics surpassing Svetlana Khorkina to become the all-time winningest women’s gymnast. With two more event finals to go, the 21-year-old could come close to becoming the gymnast to win the most world medals ever.