China hits out at 'unfair judging' after top gymnasts fail to make it through to individual event finals

After winning bronze in women’s team artistic final, manager Ye Zhennan claims scores ‘deliberately suppressed’ in qualification as Fan Yilin and Shang Chunsong are eliminated from contention

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 12:30am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 8:53pm

Chinese officials have lashed out at “unfair judging” after their two top women gymnasts, who were expected to win medals, failed to reach their individual event finals.

China won bronze in the women’s team artistic gymnastics competition, behind champions the United States and Russia, who beat the Chinese by less than a point in the final.

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But there were rumblings in the gymnastics arena after Fan Yilin, the 2015 world champion in the women’s uneven bars and China captain, Shang Chunsong, a balance beam special, were both eliminated from the individual finals.

Team manager Ye Zhennan said the pair had been “unfairly treated” by judges because the pair’s scores in the qualification and final were different and “deliberately suppressed” and were not consistent.

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“We made two major mistakes in the final but how come our score was still higher than the qualification where we only had one major blunder,” explained the official. “It proved our qualification score was purposefully suppressed by the judges.”

China scored 175.279 points in the qualification while their overall score in the final was 176.003.

The qualification, however, decides which eight teams and 24 athletes can reach the respective team and individual all-around finals as well as the top eight athletes for each of the four individual apparatus finals.

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Fan, China’s biggest hope in Rio, finished a disappointing ninth place in the uneven bars – the same event that saw her crowned world champion in Glasgow last year.

Balance beam specialist Shang only had a 8.166 in her execution score while other gymnasts who finished their routine scored at least 8.5.

Former Olympic champion Liu Xuan waded into the controversy, saying it was “heartbreaking” how her fellow gymnasts were treated by the judges.

“The way they [the judges] suppressed her score is as good as the Chinese diving team members suppressing the splash from the water during their dives,” the 2000 Sydney Olympic champion wrote on her blog.

“If we had to compare Fan’s routine with the same routine the Americans had, then she should at least score over nine points. There is nothing we can do about it. I have suffered similar treatment during my days as an athlete and that’s why I feel sorry for my fellow younger gymnasts.”

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Liu expressed her feelings in her Weibo account with red Chinese characters that read: “Judges, please treat the Chinese gymnastics team fairly”.

Although China finished with a bronze medal, it was still their second best result in the women’s team event. They claimed a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and were third at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and 2000 Sydney Games, when Liu was a member.