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China gymnasts continue gold rush at world cup final
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13:35, December 15, 2008

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Cheng Fei added her second gold on floor at the conclusion of the World Cup Final on Sunday as Chinese gymnasts capped their fantastic year with five titles out of ten in the two-day event.

Cheng followed up her vault win on Saturday and claimed floor'stitle, edging compatriot Jiang Yuyuan.

Feng Zhe, 19, dramatically gave China a second title of the day,sharing men's parallel bars gold medal with Yann Cucherat of France despite his opening mistake.

China also had a bronze medal on women's beam through Li Shanshan.

On Saturday, He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan had a Chinese one-two finish on women's uneven bars with He atop courtesy of an amazing difficulty score of 7.3 points, and Zhang Hongtao, who was even not in China's Beijing Olympic team, clinched gold on men's pommelhorse.

Chinese gymnasts dominated the Beijing Olympic, collecting ninetitles out of the 14 including the most-coveted men's and women's team golds.

Their achievement in Madrid reiterated China's indisputable leadership in this sport although a dozen of world's top gymnasts were absent from the year-end tournament.

France became the only country besides China to win more than one title with Olympic runner-up Thomas Bouhail striking gold on men's vault.

Lauren Mitchell of Australia won balance beam while Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands took the title on high bar.

Cheng, world champion for three consecutive years, made a strong rebound from her failure in Beijing, where she was a pre-Games favorite for vault and floor in Beijing but her slips inboth events ruined her title opportunities.

She won by a clear edge, scoring 15.375 points with a joint highest difficulty and the best execution in the exercise, but notwithout trouble - she had to overcome the disappointment on beam, where she fell off the apparatus twice, before reconcentrating on her game on floor.

"Balance beam is not my strongest apparatus, so I was not that confident. I was very nervous on the beam and made terrible mistakes," Cheng said.

"But that happened. I just tried not to think about it and regain the right feeling. I'm happy I did it."

Cheng also said that the two titles in Madrid offset her disappointment in Beijing more or less.

"My purpose to compete here is to restore the confidence as well as to win golds. Whatever the result is, I want to give a satisfying performance this time. I'm happy I did it."

Feng went slightly off-balance in his opening element on parallel bars but his difficulty score, highest on parallel bars, allowed him to tie Cucherat for the title. Ukraine's Valeriy Goncharov, the 2004 Olympic champion, was third.

Japan's leading character Hiroyuki Tomita, who will retire after this tournament, could have ended his career on high notes but touched the mat with his fingers on landing after a superb routine.

The 2005 world all-around champion finished third behind Zonderland and Australia's Philippe Rizzo.

Source: Xinhua

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