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07 July 2019 | in Artistic Gymnastics

Carlotta Ferlito wins popular gold as artistic gymnastics close

On the final day of artistic gymnastics at Napoli 2019, Japan's goldrush was halted somewhat in the apparatus finals


NAPOLI, 7 July – On the final day of artistic gymnastics at Napoli 2019, a full capacity-crowd cheered on as the apparatus finals were contested. After a virtual goldrush for Japan in the team and all-around events, the apparatus finals told a different story as gymnasts from Russia, Korea, Armenia and Azerbaijan found themselves atop the podium.


In the morning session, five sets of medals were decided; in the men’s floor exercise, pommel horse and rings while the women competed in the vault and uneven bars.

Medallists in men's pommel horse event It was in the uneven bars that Japan continued their winning run, as Hitomi Hatekeda produced a performance that surprised even herself. The strongest qualifier for this apparatus, gold medalist from the all-around yesterday and also the team event the day before, Hatekeda came up with near-perfect execution. She knew it too, as she broke into a delighted little dance after. However, even she was not expecting the 14.000 that was awarded, handing her the gold medal.

Medallists in women's uneven barsTatiana Nabieva of Russia won silver while Hatekeda’s teammate Asuka Teramoto put in a clinical performance, not a millimeter out of line, to pick up bronze with 13.800.


Among the big winners in the men’s finals of the morning session were Russian Kirill Prokopev on the floor exercise, Taipei’s Chih-Kai Lee on the pommel horse and Armenian Artur Avetisyan on the rings, whose masterful performance earned him a 14.900 and massive applause from the crowd.


Kazuma Kaya won a silver and a bronze for Japan – on the floor and pommel horse respectively – but this paled in comparison to Japanese results over the past few days.


The final artistic gymnastics session, that took place in the evening, was kicked off by the men’s vault. A powerful vault from Luis Porto of Brazil took him straight into medal contention with a 14.300. Top qualifier and team gold medallist Wataru Tanigawa went for 6.0 difficulty, managed to get a lot of momentum off the vault, but lacking a perfect finish, received a score of 14.275 for his two vaults.


Little did he know then, it would take him out of medal contention. 23-year-old Hansol Kim of Korea stepped out confidently and executed two perfectly tidy vaults, with impressive height and distance, that took him into the lead with 14.650. Only Robert Ghiuzan of Romania who was still to come could have shaken him off that top spot. But Ghiuzan did not do enough for medal contention and that effectively handed the gold to Korea.


A few of the women has trouble on the balance beam,making sure that those with no errors were automatically in the hunt for medals. Hitomi Hatekeda won her second gold of the day, while Lara Mori delighted the home crowd with silver. Uliana Peribinosova wrapped up the podium.


Carlotta Ferlito (ITA)It was the women’s floor exercise though, that got the local Neapolitan crowd to its feet.


Aiko Sugihara started things off with dramatic music and a routine that was powerful and beautiful, although she faltered a couple of times. Two routines later, Farah Abdul Hadi of Malaysia scored 12.550 and the crowd went into raptures – not because of her though, but because Carlotta Ferlito was up next.


As Felito put in what was probably her best performance of the week, the crowd clapped along with every beat of her music. Lifted by the vociferous support, she didn’t put a foot wrong and nailed her routine. As she received 13.200 and went straight into the lead, she was so overwhelmed by the support that she struggled to keep her emotions in check at the end.


The only other women who could then challenge her for gold were Russian Uliana Perebinosova and Hitomi Hatakeda, with four gold medals already under her belt. While Perebinosova did enough for 12.700 and a bronze medal, a fifth gold was not meant to be for Hatakeda. Scoring 12.550 the Japanese 18-year-old was left out of the medals on the floor but took solace in the fact that she is in the company of the likes of Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci, in winning four gold medals at the Universiade.


It was a poignant moment as artistic gymnastics concluded with a home gold for Italy, from the young woman who was selected to be one of the torch bearers of the games.









KAYA Kazuma (JPN)


Pommel Horse

LEE Chih-Kai (TPE)


KAYA Kazuma (JPN)



HOECK Vinzenz J (AUT)*

COLAK Ibrahim (TUR)*


KIM Hansol (KOR)



Parallel Bars




Horizontal Bars

TANG Chia-Hun (TPE)



*In men’s rings, Ibrahim Colak and Vinzenz Hoeck both won silver











Uneven Bars




Balance Beam





FELITO Carlotta (ITA)



Gold in both, men's and women's all-around individual events


NAPOLI, 6 July - It was a special Saturday at the PalaVesuvio Hall in Napoli, which saw a dramatic final in the men’s all-around competition in artistic gymnastics. Eighteen men having successfully gone through the qualification sessions, fought for the individual gold medal.

Japan’s Kazuma Kaya secured his first place from the very beginning while Russia’s Ivan Stretovich and Chinese Taipei’s Chih-Kai Lee had to improve their scores significantly to get silver and bronze respectively. A mistake from Japan’s Kakeru Tanigawa on the horizontal bar at the end of his campaign cost him a place on the podium.


The strongest men who finished in the top six in the qualification rounds two days earlier were put in one group to start with the floor exercise. Kaya Kazuma was very steady and accurate on landings and got the second-best score (14.450). Kirill Prokopev from Russia scored 14.800 from floor which was slightly lower than the one he had got in the qualification. However, it allowed him to have the single strongest mark in the competition.


After the first rotation, the group with top qualifiers was leading the ranking as expected. Kirill lost points after his exercise on the pommel horse. Andrea Russo from Italy used that moment to gain points. Ivan Stretovich was coming to the pommel horse in the seventh position. He gained over 2 points from qualification on that routine and got the third best mark in his group (14.075).


Kazuma Kaya meanwhile had consistency and perfection in everything he was delivering. On the rings, he made an improvement of 0.3 from the qualification, getting 14.600 in the finals. Kirill leading in the first rotation, dropped down to the seventh place after his display on the rings (13.400).


With increasing confidence and quality, Stretovich got 14.400 points on the vault, exactly as in the qualification. Kazuma Kaya, 14th in vault’s qualification, did a little adjustment in his landing and scored 14.300.


A warm reception was given to Stefano Patron from Italy while he was competing on the parallel bars. He did it very nicely in terms of execution and got 14.000 points.


The athletes then moved to the horizontal bar. A good piece of work from Stretovich resulted in 14.050 points. He set a high standard for those to come next. For Kazuma Kaya a solid 14.000 was enough to stand confidently on the top of the final rankings.


Kirill had to deliver a tremendous performance to contest for bronze. Unexpectedly, he lost control of the horizontal bar and scored 11.800 points, leading to huge disappointment for him.


The winner Kazuma Kaya commented on his second gold medal at the 2019 Universiade. “I feel very happy, he said, but the most important thing for me is not to get the gold medal but to improve my performance and do better every time. I think I could do better than I did.”


Russia’s 22-year old Ivan Stretovich who was a team silver medallist at Rio 2016, remarked that he was happy about the silver medal. He said, “Many times I managed to get good results, but it was not enough for a medal. It was a lucky situation for me today and I am now a silver medalist.”


The second half of Day 4 at the gymnastics venue saw a spectacular final in the women’s all-around competition, a remarkably close battle between Japan’s Hitomi Hatekeda and Russians Uliana Perebinosova and Liliia Akhaimova.

Perebinosova seemed to really enjoy her exercise on uneven bars and she registered the highest score in her group (14.350) with a very stable landing. It was a big jump up from 13.600 that she had the day before. For Akhaimova it was a little bit more challenging, but she managed to stabilize herself and get a good score.


On the balance beam, Italy’s favorite Lara Mori was doing all she could, to stay in touch with the top three. She made the home crowd proud as she scored 12.550. Perebinosova was in second place then, but had a difficult moment. Her hands went down on the beam which decreased her score to 12.100.


At the end of her campaign she told FISU, “I liked the competition today. Of course, I could do better. While performing on the balance beam, I completed my first element well but then suddenly lost concentration. I was able to get focused again and that helped me to win the medal.”


She managed to hang onto silver though, while Hatekeda sealed gold with 13.050 on the floor exercise. Lara Mori put up a spirited fight with a beautiful routine that was different from the other competitors and scored 13.200, but it was not enough for a spot on the podium.


Gold medalist Hatekeda admitted that she was a bit surprised to get first place. “I felt pressure and had to focus well,” she said. I am very happy about winning the gold medal.”


On Sunday, July 7, athletes will be competing in individual-apparatus events. That will be the last day when medals in artistic gymnastics will be contested at the 30th Summer Universiade. After the break of five days, on July 11, the PalaVesuvio sports center will open doors for the competitors in rhythmic gymnastics.


Results (men’s all-around finals)

Gold: Kazuma Kaya (JAP) (87.000)

Silver: Ivan Stretovich (RUS) (84.375)

Bronze: Chih-Kai Lee (TPE) (83.950)


Results (women’s all-around finals)

Gold: Hitomi Hatakeda (JAP) 53.925

Silver: Uliana Perebinosova (RUS) (52.700)

Bronze: Liliia Akhaimova (RUS) (52.700)


In the lead almost till the end, Russia were pipped to the post by a solid all-round performance from Japan


NAPOLI, 5 July – With the Japanese men having set the bar high with gold in the artistic gymnastics team event at the PalaVesuvio Hall on Thursday, the Japanese women were not to be left behind. Matching Russia vault-for-vault and step-for-step, Japan capitalised on a couple of small errors from Russia and beat the defending Universiade champions to win the gold medal. Home team Italy too put in a strong performance to edge out the Canadians for bronze.


With the spectating crowd growing with every passing day, the best university gymnasts in the world took to the apparatus to qualify for both, the team and individual events. By virtue of having been the top three in Taipei 2017, Russia, Canada and Japan were automatically in the last subdivision.


Preceding them was the group comprising Italy, Chinese Taipei, Korea and Finland. At the halfway mark, after the uneven bars and balance beam, Italy were in the lead. Spearheaded by two-time Olympian and fan favourite Carlotta Ferlito, the Italians thrilled the home crowd with some artistic displays.


Lara Mori also kept pace, keeping her errors to a minimum on both, the vault and floor routine to be the leader in in all-round qualification in subdivision 3 with 50.300 points. As Carlotta Ferlito came in for the final vault, she knew they were well placed. The accomplished gymnast, who was also one of the torchbearers of the Universiade, executed it perfectly to raucous applause, scoring 13.6 and putting Italy firmly in the hunt for a medal.


The three strongest nations were still to come. In the final subdivision were Russia, Canada and Japan, listed here in order of their finish two years ago in Taipei. Veteran Tatiana Nabieva, 2018 world team silver medallist Lilia Akhaimova and Uliana Perebinosova looked like the ones to beat from the start. Perebinosova, who just turned 18 a few weeks ago impressed with near-perfect execution on the vault and uneven bars, scoring 13.65 and 13.60 on the two.


After two rotations, Russia had a narrow 2.5 point lead over Japan. Canada meanwhile, was trying to hold onto bronze. 20-year-old Denelle Pedrick was the only returning gymnast for the Canadians among the team that took silver in Chinese Taipei. Jessica Dowling scored a solid 13.00 for her vault and lifted their hopes. But it all went wrong for Alana Fischer. Fischer started with a good vault but lost her grip on the uneven bars. Gallantly she returned to the apparatus and finished well, but the damage was done and she scored only 8.95.


Japan meanwhile, slowly but surely inched their way to the top. Carrying a 13.4 and 12.75 for balance beam into the second half, they pulled out all the stops on the floor. Youngster Hitomi Hatekeda wowed the crowd and the judges with an off-beat but incredibly interesting floor routine that included references to street dance styles like the ‘mannequin’. The 18-year-old scored 13.00 for her efforts.


Lilia Akhaimova, a bronze medallist in Taipei, struggled somewhat for stability on the beam and lost her footing. Immediately after, her expression revealed she knew her error might have cost them the gold.


Over on the vault, Asuka Teramoto received a 14.50 for her perfect vault, making the contest even closer. Japan finished with a total of 108.45.  


It all came down to the last floor exercise from Russia and it emerged that Tatiana Nabieva would not be doing the floor routine. A score of 13.35 for Akhaimova on the floor was enough to put her in top spot for individual qualification, but not quite enough for the team gold. Russia finished with 107.45, one point short of Japan.


The delight of the three Japanese women was evident on the podium, as they reflected on their come-from-behind win, having equalled their male counterparts with gold. Japan were atop the podium for the first time since 2011.

When asked about Olympic ambitions, Hitomi Hatekeda said “Of course I would really want to be part of Tokyo 2020, but first I want to focus on the World Championships.”


To the delight of the home crowd, Italy beat Canada to the podium with 103.50 and won their first gymnastics medal of this Universiade.


Martina Rizzelli was excited about the bronze but also admitted to feeling intense pressure competing at home. “There is always pressure at a competition as important as this one,” she said. “It is great to compete at home, but there is even more pressure!”  


The apparatus finals will take place on Sunday, with the top 18 from qualification going through to the finals. The all-around finals are tomorrow, Saturday, 6 July.



4 July: First medals awarded in much awaited Artistic Gymnastics


Napoli, 4 July - It was the second competition day for men going through the qualification rounds in artistic gymnastics. While the weather was hot outside, it was a comfortable and cool atmosphere inside the PalaVesuvio sports complex. The competition though, was heating up as Japan, Russia and Chinese Taipei vied for top honours in the men’s all-round team event.


On Wednesday the first group of gymnasts had put in their qualifying performances in all-round, team and individual. Out of 27 athletes who entered the sessions, the strongest to emerge was Luis Porto of Brazil with 80.350 points in total. The competition was tight and there were quite a few experienced gymnasts on the field. Marco Walter of Switzerland, who has competed at two previous Universiades and many other international events, looked confident while executing all exercises. He had an advantage of about one point on almost all apparatus in his subdivision.


The three athletes from Italy were satisfied with their performances, as Stefano Patron later told FISU. “It was a great competition. I am very happy about it,” he said.


“I had some difficulty on the floor during the warm-up, but I did a good exercise during the competition. I am very happy about the pommel horse because it is the worst apparatus for me,” he smiled. Patron added that his friends had arrived from all around Italy to cheer him on. “They came from Venice, Rome, Milan…,” he said happily. “My parents and grandmother are also here. My friends are supporting me and I feel a perfect team spirit”.


The real competition for medals though, was in Subdivision 3, made up of world-class gymnasts. Kirill Prokopev of Russia, a gold medal winner in all-around events in the Taipei 2017 Universiade, was the leader on the floor exercise with 15.100 points.


Russian Ilya Kibartas was also looking strong as he successfully completed his first two exercises, but then bad luck struck. He injured himself while landing from the rings and had to receive medical attention. This misfortune cost Russia as Japan seized the advantage.


New national champion Kakeru Tanigawa got the highest score (14.950) on the parallel bars. The best result on the horizontal bar – 14.700 – was achieved by Chia-Hung Tang from Chinese Taipei.


After the two days of qualification rounds, the first medals were awarded in Artistic Gymnastics men’s team event. The gold medal was taken by Japan with a total of 172.850 points, silver went to Taipei with 167.400 points and third place went to Russia with 166.500.


Kakeru Tanigawa’s elder brother Wataru was happy with the gold but also disappointed for his injured Russian friend. “I am very happy. I tried to focus on my performance,” he said to FISU. “But the injury of the Russian athlete made me worry about him.”


Ivan Stretovich of Russia was disappointed with bronze. “We had hoped that Ilya would help us improve our team results. Unfortunately, he got injured.” But he also added that “Japan has sent the best gymnasts to the Universiade. Their athletes are expected to go to the World Championships this autumn.”


Tomorrow, on July 5, women will be aiming to secure a place in the finals of all-around and individual events. The best athletes in individual and all-around events will be decided on July 6 and July 7.


By FISU event reporter Maksim Berdnikov



Gymnastics stars look to shine in Napoli


NAPOLI, 28 June - Olympians, Olympic hopefuls and world medalists fill out the gymnastics rosters for the Summer Universiade 2019, set to take place in Naples, Italy from 3-14 July. Nearly 200 student-athletes from all five continents will descend on the capital city of the Campania region, in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius for eight days of gymnastics at what promises to be one of the most highly anticipated events on the sport’s summer schedule.


Artistic gymnastics competition will take place 3-7July, with titles up for grabs in team, individual all-around and event finals, while rhythmic is set to light up the PalaVesuvio Hall on 11-13 July as champions are decided for individual and group all-around, as well as apparatus finals.


With just two event champions from the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade returning -- pommel horse star Lee Chih Kai of Chinese Taipei and Russian floor standout Kirill Prokopev -- the stage is set for a new class of stars to emerge.


Asuka TeramotoAiming for honors in the women’s competition will be Asuka Teramoto, Aiko Sugihara and Hitomi Hatakeda, who will try to vault Japan to the top of the women’s team podium for the first time since 2011, as well as claiming individual recognition on their best individual events.


Russia, winners in the women’s team competition from 2013 to 2017, have entered veteran Tatiana Nabieva, a 2010 world team gold medalist, in her first international competition in several years. Joining the 24-year-old will be 2018 world team silver medalist Lilia Akhaimova, while 2016 Olympian Barbora Mokosova of Slovakia, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and Tan Ing Yueh of Indonesia, Valeriia Osipova of Ukraine and Jessica Dowling of Canada will be among the international standouts aiming to medal on their best events.


Kakeru TanigawaMeanwhile, a strong Japanese men’s contingent, led by new national champion Kakeru Tanigawa and his older brother Wataru, seek to lead the land of the rising sun to a third consecutive Universiade team victory.


Turkey’s Ahmet Onder, who has quietly evolved into one of the top men’s all-arounders in Europe, will be competing at the Universiade in the company of his countryman Ibrahim Colak, a silver medalist on rings from the 2017 Universiade. The elegant Onder will be seeking podiums following a fifth place finish at April’s European Championships, as will 2016 Olympic team silver medalist Ivan Stretovich and 2017 Universiade floor medalist Hansol Kim of Korea.


Closer to home, an Italian delegation includes two-time Olympian and fan favorite Carlotta Ferlito, Lara Mori, Martina Rizzelli and the artistic Marco Sarrugerio, all of whom are likely thrill the host crowd with their stylish brand of gymnastics.


In Rhythmic Gymnastics, high hopes for high marks


In addition to the prizes in Naples, many gymnasts will be competing with an eye on sharpening their performances ahead of this fall’s World Championships, the gateway to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This is likely to be on the minds of 2016 Olympians Salome Pazhava and Ksenia Moustafaeva, both highly expressive performers gunning for a second Olympic qualification for Georgia and France respectively, as well as American Laura Zeng, who is trying to continue an upward trajectory that has included best-ever finishes for her country at previous world championships.


Zeng will in fact, be the solo rhythmic gymnast for USA in Napoli. In 2015 she claimed the Pan American Games All-Around title and then went onto compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Zeng will compete in hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.


Russia, long the dominant country in Rhythmic Gymnastics, saw Yulia Bravikova and Ekaterina Selezneva divide the medals between them at the Universiade two years ago. This summer, the baton has been passed onto the elegant Aleksandra Soldatova, the reigning world champion with the ribbon, to carry on Russia’s long history of success. The Russian Group, shocked by Ukraine in 2017, will be aiming to climb back on top as well.