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World Gymnastics Championships 2019: Nina Derwael wins second straight uneven bars gold

Rudy Martinez
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:44 IST

Nina Derwael in action at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships
Nina Derwael in action at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

For the second year in a row, Nina Derwael was crowned the champion of uneven bars at the World Gymnastics Championships at Stuttgart, Germany on Saturday. A stunning routine on the apparatus put her back on top of the podium, thus enabling her to win her second gold medal in the uneven bars event. Rebecca Downie held on to take the silver medal and American Sunisa Lee took home the bronze.

Derwael looked to defend her title on the apparatus where she had proved the strongest last year by handing a defeat to the title favourite, Simone Biles. With another shot at making the podium before the Olympics in Tokyo, the Belgian needed her routine to go well with the Americans and Russians running in pairs.

Biles opened the competition with a flawless routine that saw good release and technical skills before finishing with a score of 14.700. Rebecca Downie put together an explosive routine that saw her pull off a one-handed release on the lower bar. With a perfect dismount, the British gymnast got well ahead of Biles, recording a 15.000.

Sunisa Lee didn’t threaten Downie as her routine didn’t have a high difficulty rating and she lost momentum on the lower bar. Yet, she finished ahead of Biles, which prevented the 22-year-old from achieving a second consecutive silver medal. 2018 bronze medallist Elisabeth Seitz blew her chance to get another due to a mistake on the transition to the lower bar as her feet planted on the pads. The completion gave her a 13.566 which was a letdown for the host nation.

Angelina Melnikova moved into the third spot with a 14.733, pushing Biles down to fourth, which hasn’t happened since the 2013 World Championships. With just three more competitors to go, Downie was in good shape to earn the gold. But Derwael was the last to go and with another very good bar routine, she overtook Downie with a score of 15.233 to successfully defend her title.

Published 12 Oct 2019, 23:28 IST
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