Thu, 23 Sep 2021

TOKYO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) squad topped the Tokyo 2020 women's gymnastics team qualification event with 171.629 points, followed by defending champions the U.S. and China.

The ROC team took an advantage of 44.565 points on the uneven bars as all four team members scored high to rank in the front after two subdivisions. They were later surpassed by Belgium's Nina Derwael and U.S. gymnast Sunisa Lee with 15.366 and 15.200 respectively.

Although none of the ROC athletes took first place in all-around and individual events, their total score surpassed the U.S. by a margin of 1.067.

"Altogether we did pretty well," said 21-year-old ROC team captain Angelina Melnikova. "As a captain it is my goal to set the team spirit. Sometimes it's very important to laugh, sometimes it's important to rest a little and I try to provide this environment to my team. My work as a captain is probably about creating this environment," she said.

U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles, defending champion in all-around, floor exercise and vault, finished first in 57.731 points in all-around, despite major errors on the floor and vault.

In subdivision three, Biles started with the floor exercise and slipped out of the field following somersaults in the air, which led to a penalty of 0.3 points. She finished second in floor exercise with 14.133 points, with a difficulty score of 6.700 and an execution score of 7.733.

In the vault qualification, Biles's right foot stepped out of the cushion on landing her first jump, but she managed to score an unparalleled 15.400 on her second try, ranking first in the vault with 15.183 points.

"I feel we did a pretty good job. Obviously there are little things we need to work on, so we'll go back and practise and work on that, just so we can do our best performance at the team finals [on Tuesday], because that's what matters. We're really striving for the top three," said Biles.

China, with five team members making their Olympic debuts, finished third with 166.863 points.

"I think we all did well today and we all tried our best, but I think we can do better," said 18-year-old Tang Xijing.

China's Guan Chenchen, who only competed in the balance beam, finished first with 14.933 points, with Tang finishing 0.600 points behind.

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