Reigning, former champions face off in last three men’s finals
DOHA: Reigning and former champions will face off for the last three titles of the championships in the second day of men’s apparatus finals at Aspire Dome on Saturday.
On vault, leading qualifier Ri Se Gwang of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has two built-in advantages, and neither refers to his wins at two previous worlds.
Both of the vaults that Ri performed in qualifications have a difficulty tariff of 6.0 — and none of the other qualified gymnasts performed even one vault valued over 5.60.
Key to Ri’s third worlds win will be finishing both of his attempts safely and upright, as the extra risk he takes brings a greater risk of uncontrollable landings.
All-around champion Artur Dalaloyan of the Russian Federation and Artur Davtyan of Armenia qualified second and third, respectively, to the vault final.
Yielding to Ri in difficulty, Dalaloyan and Davtyan will rely on execution to offset the scoring potential of their lower-valued vaults. In qualifications, they outscored Ri in execution on both vaults.
China’s Zou Jingyuan may not have a lock on gold in the parallel bars final, but his scores thus far point to a repeat of his 2017 victory on that apparatus. He led qualifications with 15.800 points, followed by a magnificent 16.200-scoring performance in Monday’s Team final.
Zou will need to be peerless again the final, where he will face two former winners — team-mate and 2013 co-champion Lin Chaopan, and 2014 champion Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine. Zou outscored Verniaiev by just 0.067 for gold in last year’s final.
Gold medalists from the last four worlds will face off in the horizontal bar final.
Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, the 2015 champion, qualified first for this final and is seeking his first individual medal of the championships. He was unable to compete on all six apparatus because of an ankle injury.
“I feel very bad for my team-mates because I had injuries from the beginning, and I was not happy about that,” said Uchimura after Monday’s team final, in which Japan took bronze.
2017 winner Tin Srbic said he plans to boost his difficulty score from 6.0 in qualifications, where he ranked fifth, to a much heartier and more competitive 6.40 in the final.
“I will do my best to regain the title,” Srbic said. “But I can’t talk that way because, with gymnastics, one slip of a hand and you’re off.”
Other medal threats are the USA’s Sam Mikulak, who qualified second; all-around silver medalist Xiao Ruoteng of China, who qualified third; and 2013 and 2014 champion Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands, who qualified fourth.