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Japanese Dominate Baku World Challenge Cup
(6 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)



Japan emerged the big winner with four of the men's titles in Sunday's finals at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. Pictured: The Japanese men's team pose in front of the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.

Japan emerged the big winner with four of the six men's titles in Sunday's finals at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Two-time world floor exercise champion Kenzo Shirai shone on men's floor exercise and vault, while his teammate Tomomasa Hasegawa won pommel horse and high bar.

On vault, Shirai vaulted his signature triple-twisting Yurchenko and a Tsukahara 2 1/2 with clean landings to average 14.975. Azerbaijan's Oleg Stepko hit a Tsukahara double tuck and handspring double front to win the bronze (14.650) over Turkey's Ahmet Onder (14.400).

Shirai, who had fallen on floor in Friday's qualification, was back in top form for the final. He hit his spectacular tumbling, including a triple-twisting double and a quadruple full dismount (slightly short), with a meet-high 16.150. Silver medalist Rok Klavora of Slovenia (14.800) and bronze medalist Alexander Shatilov of Israel (14.550) finished well more than a point behind.

The 21-year-old Hasegawa, a relative newcomer to the international scene, impressed with his titles on pommel horse (15.400 with 6.8 D) and high bar. On high bar, Hasegawa competed a clean and stylish routine that featured an Endo-full to Winkler (full-twisting layout Jaeger); a Kolman; high Yamawaki and full-twisting double-layout. Hasegawa is proof of the Japanese men's current depth of gymnasts with both difficulty, style and consistency that will see a tight race to make this summer's Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro.

İbrahim Çolak from neighboring Turkey won still rings (15.450) over Japan's Kazuma Kaya (14.800) and Stepko (14.700).

After silver medals on pommel horse and vault, and the bronze on rings, Stepko upgraded to gold on parallel bars. He had a slight check on his Stutz to one rail but otherwise competed well, showing off the tight form and light style similar to his former Ukrainian teammate Oleg Vernyayev. Stepko won the bronze on parallel bars at last year's world championships, which granted him an automatic qualification to Rio.

In the women's competition, Brazil's Flávia Saraiva won gold medals on balance beam and floor exercise, topping Sweden's Emma Larson on both events.

Six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan) claimed the gold on women's vault as she continues her charge toward an unprecedented seventh Olympic appearance. Chusovitina, who will compete in the test event in April in Rio to seek qualification, was the top qualifier but looked even stronger in the final on her vaults (full-twisting handspring layout front, Tsukahara 1 1/2).

Slovenian veteran Tjaša Kysselef won the silver over Austria's Lisa Ecker.

First-year senior Lina Philipp of Germany won uneven bars in her first major event, topping Brazilian Olympian Daniele Hypólito and Saraiva. Philipp showed off beautiful line and form and the mechanics which the German women have long been known for on on uneven bars.

The World Challenge Cup in Baku was the first in a series of events over the next six weeks:. Coming up is the American Cup (all-around), March 5 in Newark, New Jersey, USA; the Glasgow World Cup (all-around) March 12 in Scotland; the DTB Cup (all-around) March 19-20 in Stuttgart, Germany; the Doha World Challenge Cup (apparatus) March 24-26 in Qatar; the Turnier der Meister (apparatus) March 31-April 3 in Cottbus; and the Ljubljana World Challenge Cup (apparatus) April 4-8 in Slovenia.

External Link: Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation

2016 FIG Challenger Cup
February 21, Baku, Azerbaijan

(Full scores not yet available for women's vault and uneven bars)
Women's Vault Final
1.Oksana Chusovitina
2.Tjaša Kysselef
3.Lisa Ecker

Uneven Bars Final
1.Lina Philipp
2.Daniele Hypólito
3.Flávia Saraiva

Balance Beam FinalDENDScore
1.Flávia Saraiva6.38.50014.800
2.Emma Larsson5.87.85013.650
3.Elisa Hämmerle5.28.15013.350
4.Marina Nekrasova5.37.8500.113.050
5.Dilnoza Abdusalimova5.47.25012.650
6.Tutya Yılmaz5.86.55012.350
7.Dorina Böczögő5.46.6000.111.900
8.Oksana Chusovitina4.57.30011.800

Women's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Flávia Saraiva5.48.45013.850
2.Emma Larsson5.38.10013.400
3.Marina Nekrasova5.28.00013.200
4.Dorina Böczögő5.37.80013.100
4.Lisa Ecker5.47.70013.100
6.Dilnoza Abdusalimova5.18.0000.113.000
7.Tutya Yılmaz5.36.65011.950

Men's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Kenzo Shirai7.58.65016.150
2.Rok Klavora6.28.60014.800
3.Alexander Shatilov6.28.4500.114.550
4.Ahmet Onder5.88.65014.450
5.Tomislav Marković6.38.2500.314.250
6.Petro Pakhnyuk6.47.15013.550
7.Artem Dolgopyat6.57.1000.213.400
8.Naoto Hayasaka6.65.7000.112.200

Pommel Horse FinalDENDScore
1.Tomomasa Hasegawa6.88.60015.400
2.Maxime Gentges6.28.50014.700
3.Saeed Reza Keikha6.38.15014.450
4.Artem Dolgopyat5.58.70014.200
5.Renato Prpić5.88.25014.050
6.Ferhat Arıcan6.57.40013.900
7.Stian Skjerahaug6.07.35013.350
8.Dmitrijs Trefilovs5.56.50012.000

Still Rings FinalDENDScore
1.İbrahim Çolak6.78.75015.450
2.Kazuma Kaya6.38.50014.800
3.Oleg Stepko6.28.50014.700
4.Tomomasa Hasegawa6.08.45014.450
4.Scott Morgan6.57.95014.450
6.Adrià Vera5.58.25013.750
7.Moran Yanuka5.28.35013.550
8.Vladyslav Hryko6.07.20013.200

Men's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Kenzo Shirai6.09.25015.25014.975
5.69.10014.700
2.Oleg Stepko5.69.00014.60014.650
5.69.10014.700
3.Ahmet Onder5.68.80014.40014.400
5.29.20014.400
4.Vitālijs Kardašovs5.68.60014.20014.250
5.29.10014.300
5.Adrià Vera5.69.20014.80014.000
5.28.1000.113.200
6.Scott Morgan5.68.6000.114.10013.550
5.67.7000.313.000
7.Volodymyr Hrybuk5.68.60014.20013.400
5.27.7000.312.600
8.Andrey Medvedev0.00.000
0.00.000

Parallel Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Oleg Stepko6.88.75015.550
2.Ferhat Arıcan6.68.75015.350
3.Kazuma Kaya6.88.45015.250
4.Kenzo Shirai6.58.50015.000
5.Nestor Abad6.48.55014.950
6.Ahmet Onder6.58.10014.600
7.Alexander Shatilov5.88.70014.500
8.Maxime Gentges5.97.90013.800

High Bar FinalDENDScore
1.Tomomasa Hasegawa6.88.00014.800
2.Ahmet Onder5.98.70014.600
3.Tin Srbić6.08.50014.500
4.Maxime Gentges5.78.40014.100
5.Moran Yanuka5.38.35013.650
6.Alexander Shatilov5.87.55013.350
7.Ümit Şamiloğlu5.77.50013.200
8.Oleg Stepko4.48.30012.700
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