Former world champions Liu Lingling and Uladzislau Hancharou re-established their supremacy in trampoline at the Baku World Cup, held February 16-17 in the Azerbaijani capital.
Hancharou, the 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 world champion, rebounded from a 2018 where he finished sixth in the world to take the first world cup title of 2018 by a decisive margin of nearly 1.5 points over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dong Dong.
The story was similar for Liu, who won the world title on her 20th birthday in 2014 but has been overshadowed in recent years by two-time Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan, second in Baku, and her own countrywoman, the now-retired 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Li Dan.
As he did in Rio in 2016, China’s Dong Dong, the 2012 Olympic champion and one of the greatest names in the sport, continued his run of excellence in finishing second to Hancharou. A celebrity in China whose interests surpass the bounds of the trampoline hall, on the road to his fourth Olympic Games, Dong remains unrelenting in his goal of surpassing the medal count of the great Alexander Moskalenko, who won the inaugural Olympic title in trampoline in 2000 after dominating the sport throughout the 1990s.
Japanese trampolinists, part of a strong overall contingent of rising gymnastics stars from every discipline ahead of the 2020 Olympics, took both bronzes. Daiki Kishi, a new name on the men’s scene, and Chisato Doihata, already a veteran of three world championships, made sure the Japanese were represented on both trampoline podiums.
The men’s competition was a disappointment for three-time world champion Gao Lei, whose competition ended after the qualifying round. Among the familiar faces who didn’t make it into the top-eight final were 2016 Olympic silver medalist Bryony Page (11th), and Belarusian standout Hanna Hancharova (17th), who married Hancharou in 2017.
Things did go well for 2014 Olympic champion Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand, who made a successful return to the world cup circuit after tearing his ACL and finished fifth.
1. Liu Lingling, China, 57.05
2. Rosannagh MacLennan, Canada, 56.245
3. Chisato Doihata, Japan, 55.80
4. Maryia Makharynskaya, Belarus, 54.65
5. Megu Uyama, Japan, 54.485
6. Susana Kochesok, Russia, 36.180
7. Lin Qianqi, China, 12.085
8. Irina Kundius, Russia, 6.180
1. Uladzislau Hancharou, Belarus, 61.59
2. Dong Dong, China, 60.32
3. Daiki Kishi, Japan, 59.365
4. Tu Xiao, China, 59.185
5. Dylan Schmidt, New Zealand, 58.83
6. Andrey Yudin, Russia, 58.81
7. Tetsuya Sotomura, Japan, 58.12
8. Aleh Rabtsau, Belarus, 30.765