China's men claim gymnastics gold

Sep 6, 2007 - 10:43 PM STUTTGART, Germany (Ticker) - China's men were crowned world gymnastic champions on Thursday - but then promptly brought down to earth by their coach who informed them that changes would likely be made when they compete in next year's Olympics in Beijing.

The six-man team took gold with a combined score of 281.900, putting them some distance ahead of Olympic gold medalists Japan, which took silver with 277.025. The podium was completed by hosts Germany, which managed 273.525 to medal in the men's team event for the first time since 1991.

The next teams to finish in the eight-team final were the United States, South Korea, Spain, Russia and Romania.

China started well on floor and on pommel horse with 2006 World Champion Xiao Qin thrilling the audience.

Cheng Yibing and Yang Wei, the 2006 world champions on rings and parallel bars respectively, consolidated China's lead and they ended the competition on high bar where Zou Kai's 15.275 again underlined the strength of the team.

The United States had bad luck on the high bar with falls by David Durante and Alexander Artemev, although Sean Golden impressed on the floor with 15.575 points.

"I am extremely proud of all of the guys," said Kevin Mazeika, the head coach for United States men in remarks reported on the web site.

"They fought to the end, and fourth is a great result."

China's domination of men's gymnastics is such that they have won seven of the past eight world titles and next year they will be determined to wrest back the Olympic title from Japan on home soil.

"We probably won't see the same team again next year at the Olympic Games in Bejing," China coach Huang Yu-bin. "We have many good gymnasts so the competition in our own country is very strong."

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