Gymnastics: Shang beats fever to help China qualify

Sun Aug 7, 2016 5:13pm EDT
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By Joshua Schneyer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Chinese gymnast Shang Chunsong was relieved she was able to play a part in women's qualifying on Sunday after illness almost caused her to miss the competition.

Shang has been recovering from a nasty bout of fever and wasn't able to train for nearly five days ahead of China's debut, a wobbly performance for a team that has hoped to regain the podium in Rio after relinquishing the gold medal to the U.S. women's team at the 2012 London Games.

Though far from perfect, China are well placed to reach Tuesday's team final, where a U.S. team led by world all-around champion Simone Biles are the favorites.

During her illness, Shang had thought that she might have to relinquish her spot on China's team in Rio.

''I was worried because the coach said that I might get replaced on the team since I had a fever,'' Shang, who is also expected to make the cut for the all around final, said on Sunday.

She said the qualifying performance -- where her vault was shaky and drew a low score of 12.766 -- wasn't up to her standards and had been affected by nerves.

''I feel regret because I didn't perform well. If I performed more bravely, then I would have done better,'' Shang said.

Team China provisionally topped qualifying with a total of 175.279 points, but are likely to slide down the rankings once world champions United States perform later on Sunday.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Preliminary - Women's Qualification - Subdivisions - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Shang Chunsong (CHN) of China (PRC) competes on the uneven bars during the women's qualifications.   REUTERS/Mike Blake