Chinese, Japanese gymnasts battle for top honours
China and Japan will battle it out for top honours in the Asian Games gymnastics, but South Korea could also have a significant say when the action gets underway on Saturday.other Updated: Nov 12, 2010 10:33 IST
China and Japan will battle it out for top honours in the Asian Games gymnastics, but South Korea could also have a significant say when the action gets underway on Saturday.
China's men will be led by Chen Yibing, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2010 world champion on rings, as well as two other reigning world apparatus champions, Feng Zhe and Zhang Chenglong.
The gymnastics in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou starts with the men's qualification and team final, where the hosts, the reigning Asian Games, Olympic and world champions, are strong favourites.
All six members of China's gold medal-winning team from last month's world championships are scheduled to compete at the state-of-the-art Asian Games Town Gymnasium including Chen, Feng and Zhang, as well as Lu Bo and Teng Haibin.
The Japanese finished just behind China at the world championships, but a weakened Japan will be missing two-time world all-round champion Kohei Uchimura as they look to improve on the silver they won four years ago in Doha.
South Korea, who picked up bronze in the men's team event in 2006, finished eighth out of eight in the team final at the world championships in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, but would have done better were it not for costly errors.
Leading contenders for gold in the individual all-round final include Lu, Teng and South Korea's Kim Soo-Myun, all of whom finished among the top 12 in the worlds.
China's women's team, who finished a disappointing third at the worlds, will once more be strongly fancied to continue their winning streak at the Asian Games, where they have long dominated.
Four members of the hosts' gold medal-winning team from the 2008 Beijing Olympics are scheduled to compete in the team final on Sunday, where fast-improving Japan will be a genuine threat.
China's Jiang Yuyuan and Huang Qiushuang are favourites for gold in the all-round individuals. Jiang captured silver at the worlds, where Huang just dropped out of medal contention after a landing error on a floor exercise.
One major team missing will be North Korea, after they were suspended for two years from international competition after the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) ruled Hong Su-Jong had lied about her age.