Paseka soars past Hong and Biles to land vault title

Sat Oct 31, 2015 1:34pm EDT
 
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By Pritha Sarkar

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Russia's Maria Paseka upstaged favorite Simone Biles and North Korea's defending champion Hong Un-jong with two soaring leaps to capture the vault gold at the gymnastics world championships on Saturday.

Paseka hit her landing with both her vaults, an Amanar -- a round-off on to the springboard followed by a back handspring on to the vaulting equipment before flying into the air while twisting around two-and-a-half times -- and a Cheng, to earn an average total of 15.666. She gave Russia their first gold of the Glasgow championships.

"I feel crazy emotions. Today I managed to do everything I trained for and everything went as planned. I had so much adrenaline in me that I didn't really think about how I did after I vaulted. But I was very relieved when I saw the result,” Paseka told reporters.

Hong attempted the same two vaults as Paseka but paid the price for taking a step forward after her Amanar and a step back when she landed the Cheng -- a round-off half twist on somersault with one-and-a-half twists. She missed out on gold by 0.033 of a point.

Biles, who had been the top qualifier for the final, added the bronze medal to the team and all-around golds she collected earlier in the week with a score of 15.541.

Britain's Ellie Downie finished fourth while Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian to make an apparatus final at the worlds was fifth.

Karmakar had the highest difficulty (7.000) of the finalists for her risky Produnova vault -- a front handspring into double front somersault -- but failed to pull it off cleanly as her bottom touched the mat before she bounced back on to her feet.

Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber's competition ended painfully as she sat down awkwardly following her second jump and limped off the stage with her arms around two coaches who had rushed to help her.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

 
Maria Paseka of Russia competes in the women's gymnastics vault final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 5, 2012.      REUTERS/Mike Blake