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Big winner still not Olympic favorite
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China's Lu Bin continued to show his dominance at the 2007 Gymnastics International Invitational Tournament, a test event for the 2008 Olympic Games, by winning two more gold medals on men's rings and vault yesterday at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing.


"I'm very glad to win another two gold medals here," said the 18-year-old Lu. "It seemed that this venue is a lucky place for me. I hope it can bring luck to the whole Chinese gymnastics team as well at next year's Olympic Games."


Together with his young teammates, Lu also won gold in men's team last Thursday, and he stepped atop the podium in pommel horse on Saturday as well.


But the four gold medals are still not enough to guarantee Lu a spot on China's star-studded Olympic gymnastics team next year.


"It is my first competition after a year's rest for my injury, so I'm not in high ranking on the Chinese team right now," he said. "Starting next January, we will have a squad list for about 10 members, and I will try to raise my ranking among them and strive for a seat on the final squad."


Lu's teammate Yan Mingyong settled for silver on the rings, while Flavius Koczi from Romania won the silver for vault.


In the women's uneven bars, Dariya Zgoba from Ukraine clinched the gold medal, leaving China's Jiang Yuyuan to finish in second place. Daria Joura from Australia finished third.


"I just completed the movements, but I didn't do my best," said Jiang, who won the women's all-around on Thursday. "The rhythm of my movements at the end of my routine was fast and I didn't control it well."


In another area of the National Indoor Stadium, Olena Movchan from Ukraine emerged as the surprising gold-winner in an error-prone women's final at the 2007 Trampoline International Invitational Tournament, an event held concurrently with the gymnastics tournament.


Canada's Rosannagh Maclennan, the reigning world bronze medalist, came in second. China's He Wenna finished in third after committing a major mistake.


China's Olympic bronze medalist Huang Shanshan was the biggest disappointment of the day yesterday, failing to finish her routine and finishing second-to-last among the eight competitors.


"It's an unusual mistake during my training," said Huang, who entered the final with the highest score in the qualification. "I was trying to find a better position in the latter half of the routine, but I lost my power and could not continue."


In the individual events held on Saturday, China's Cheng Fei swept the gold of both women's events on vault and floor exercise, while Makoto Okiguchi of Japan won the men's floor exercise.


The two tournaments will conclude tonight, with three gold medals for gymnastics and men's gold for trampoline on the line.


(China Daily December 3, 2007)

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