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Posted 6.11.2022 in News

Super sub Watanabe storms to gold on beam

Hazuki Watanabe was not originally due to be at this World Championships but marked her competition debut in style by storming to gold on the beam.

Watanabe's score of 13.600 was enough to top the leaderboard in a final which saw several fallers, with highly-fancied trio Rebeca Andrade, Skye Blakely and Ou Yushan all paying the price.

Initially a reserve in the Japanese squad, injuries opened up an opportunity and Watanabe has seized it with both hands.

“At first, I was the reserve for the team, but when there was an injury they changed it and I got a chance to come to the World Championships," she said.

"That was my first surprise. Now I have a medal too. It is all a bit surprising.

“I am very happy. This is my first world championships, my first big tournament, so my legs were shaking with the nerves. 

“But other gymnasts were falling and making big mistakes but I was able to go through my routine OK, and that was a real boost to my confidence.” 

Ellie Black took a superb silver, her first individual apparatus medal at a World Championships scratching an itch in her fifth appearance in a beam final.

“I’ve been in a lot of beam finals over the years at World Championships, and some really close to the podium, and others not going so well," she said.

“To go out and hit a good beam routine and end up on the podium, I’m just so proud of the performance and for showing what Canadians can do.

“It was a really amazing final to be part of. Those are the best ones, where everyone’s so good. You never know what’s going to happen on beam."

Bronze was won by Shoko Miyata, who joined her compatriot on the podium after scoring 13.533.

"Balance beam is not my strong point, so getting to the final and winning bronze is definitely something," she said.

“Some of the other gymnasts fell and made mistakes, but I was able to do a solid performance.”