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Competition Reports

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 21 November 2018 07:25    PDF Print
Murakami: 'That Is My Job, To Show Them The Way'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

A series of flashbacks from the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

All-around silver medalist Mai Murakami is not the oldest member of the Japanese team, but she eagerly accepts the responsibility that comes with her experience.

Asuka (Teramoto) is actually the captain, but I want to lead my teammates with my performances,” said the 22-year-old Murakami. “I want to make lots of young gymnasts in Japan feel ‘I want to be like Mai.’ That is my job – to show them the way by my performance.”

Murakami, who finished third on floor exercise and led Japan to sixth place in the team final in Doha, said she and her teammates understand they will need to fortify their routines to challenge for a team medal in the future.

“I will have to put lots more difficult stuff,” she said. “I need to raise my difficulty score and we need to as a team.”

IG’s John Crumlish was chief editor/reporter for the organizing committee’s News Service at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

Read complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships in the December 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 20 November 2018 07:37    PDF Print
Stephens: Cutting Ties With Past Injury
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

A series of flashbacks at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

For Australian gymnast Clay Stephens, competing in Doha was the chance to literally cut his ties with the serious knee injury that crippled his performance at last year’s Worlds in Montreal.

Stephens was at last able to discard the bright yarn bracelet from his left wrist — an ornamental reminder of the injury he sustained in Montreal, where he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament on his last tumbling pass on floor exercise.

“I put this bracelet on the day I ruptured my ACL, and the plan was to cut it off at my next competition,” said Stephens, who in Doha went on to earn his two highest scores on vault and floor exercise and finish 61st all-around in qualifications. “So one year later, at this Worlds, it’s pretty cool to be able to do that.”

No stranger to challenges, Stephens was born without a right pectoral muscle. He insists his condition has not stifled his success in a sport that counts on every available muscle, and particularly upper-body strength.

“It’s easy to see this as a difficult thing for me to deal with,” said Stephens, who has chauffeured for the visually impaired. “Everyone is going through their own battles, whether mental or physical. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s just that mine is very visible. Success for me is about smart training and picking skills that are going to be easier for me than for other people.”

Stephens, who referred to the training session alongside six-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura and his Japanese teammates as “cool,” said persistence and time should close the current scoring gap between the mighty Japanese and the aspiring Australians.

“We’ve been pushing our start values for a long time,” Stephens said. “We’re slowly starting to get there. It’s all about finding the balance between high execution and high difficulty. It’s going to be a long time until we get there, but it’s possible. It’s important for us to train smart and hard, and keep doing what we’re doing. We’re in the right direction. We’re working hard and we’re getting better.”

IG’s John Crumlish served as chief editor/reporter for the organizing committee’s News Service at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 19 November 2018 07:36    PDF Print
Ireland's Meaghan Smith: 'I Wanted To Keep Going'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

A series of flashbacks at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

Canadian-born Irish gymnast Meaghan Smith is a relative newcomer to international competition, but her motivation and pride extend as deep as her Irish roots.

Smith’s journey to Doha began three years ago when she pondered her lineage and her competitive future.

“My gymnastics career in Canada was kind of over,” said the 20-year-old Smith. “I was at the senior level, but I wasn’t at the top, so I knew I wouldn’t be going to international events, and I wanted that opportunity. I’m also proud to be Irish, so we thought, ‘Hey, I can compete for Ireland.’”

Smith, whose maternal grandmother is Irish, contacted an Irish club that welcomed her to become a member. She made her international debut for Ireland at the European Championships in Glasgow in August.

The chance to extend her career on behalf of Ireland gave Smith, who placed 86th all-around in qualifications in Doha, a fresh incentive to work towards her potential.

“Now, I have a goal,” Smith said. “I have things to look forward to, like the World Championships. I know they are on my calendar, so when I’m in the gym, I think, ‘OK, how can I be better, how can I improve for this competition?’ And, I love the sport. I didn’t want to give it up. I wanted to keep going.”

IG’s John Crumlish served as chief editor/reporter for the organizing committee’s News Service at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

Complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships be in the December issue of International Gymnast.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 16 November 2018 07:21    PDF Print
Derwael: 'It Was Just A Relief'
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Second in a series of flashbacks to the 2018 World Championships in Doha

Although Belgium’s Nina Derwael won gold on uneven bars by a convincing margin of 0.50 points, she modestly assessed her history-making performance as among her finest.

“It was one of my best routines that I’ve done here so far,” said Derwael, who outscored the field by 0.30 in Difficulty and 0.20 in Execution to win Belgium’s first world title. “I slightly over-rotated my full turn before my dismount, but my dismount was great, so I’m very, very happy with my performance.”

Derwael said her winning routine looked easier than it felt.

“I felt a lot of stress before mounting the bars, but once I got into my rhythm, I could feel, ‘Yeah, it’s going great,’ and continued like that,” she said. “Then, when I stuck my landing, it was just a relief.”

IG’s John Crumlish served as chief editor/reporter for the organizing committee’s News Service at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

Next up: Australia’s Clay Stephens cuts ties with past injury

Read complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships in the December 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or to order back issues, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 15 November 2018 08:00    PDF Print
Biles And Hurd: Role Models For Younger Teammates
(8 votes, average 4.75 out of 5)

First in a series of flashbacks to the 2018 World Championships in Doha

Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd have won five world all-around titles between them, but their most meaningful honor may be serving as mentors and role models for the newcomers in their gold medal-winning U.S. team.

For Kara Eaker, the squad’s youngest member, the duo embody the resilience she needs when things don’t go according to her plan.

“Watching them in the gym is really inspiring,” said Eaker, who finished sixth on balance beam. “Watching their determination and confidence, even though they make mistakes, I know they can keep going. It makes me more determined to keep going.”

Grace McCallum looks to Biles and Hurd to help navigate what is, for her, uncharted territory.

“They definitely push you in the gym and make you work a lot harder, and make it a lot of fun,” said McCallum, who turned 16 on the day of the team final. “They have been here (at previous Worlds), so they know what to do. They show you around and show you what to do.”

The 21-year-old Biles enjoys providing encouragement and leadership based on her seniority and leadership.

“We worked very hard to be where we are,” Biles said. “I’m excited I could cheer them on and make them believe in themselves.”

IG’s John Crumlish served as chief editor/reporter for the organizing committee’s News Service at the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

Next up: Nina Derwael of Belgium describes what she thought, from start to finish, of her gold medal-winning performance on uneven bars.

Read complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships in the December 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or to order back issues, click here.

 


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