|Russia’s Viktoria Komova finished top of the individual all-round qualifying standings [GALLO/GETTY]|
Jordyn Wieber led a solid US effort to help her team pip defending champions Russia in women’s qualifying at the world gymnastics championships on Saturday, as fellow 16-year-olds battled for supremacy.
Russia’s Youth Olympic champion Viktoria Komova was set back by mistakes on the floor exercise but ended 0.125 points ahead of Wieber, the US national champion, in the individual all-around qualifying standings.
Yao Jinnan, another 16-year-old, helped Olympic gold medallists China come close behind the United States and Russia, and finished third behind Kamova and Wieber in the individual standings.
Romania, the top team in the first qualifying group which performed on Friday, placed fourth.
The top eight countries – also including Japan, Australia, Germany and Britain – qualified for the team finals on Tuesday and also booked berths at next year’s London Olympics.
The United States, bidding to regain the title it lost at the 2010 championships in Rotterdam, finished with 234.253 points against 231.062 for Russia, 230.370 for China and 227.228 for Romania.
“We knew if we hit as a team like we knew we could, the outcome would be good,” said Wieber after scoring 60.032 points in the all-around.
“Each and every person on the team came out confident and aggressive. I’m so proud of everybody.”
Heart-break for Sacramone
Alexandra Raisman, the only holdover from the 2010 US world team, finished fourth in the individual standings with teammate Gabrielle Douglas fifth.
The US team included four first-year seniors as they were missing world multiple-medallist Rebecca Bross and 2009 all-around champion Bridget Sloan through injury.
Beijing Olympic captain Alicia Sacramone, the 2010 world vault champion, went home for surgery on an Achilles tendon she tore in training on Thursday.
“We told her ‘We’re going to compete for you.’ I think she’s here in spirit”
US gymnast Jordyn Wieber
“That was heart-breaking and we feel for her,” Wieber said.
“We told her ‘We’re going to compete for you.’ I think she’s here in spirit.”
After scoring more than 15 points to top the uneven bars and balance beam events, Komova tumbled out of bounds to score 14.491 on the floor exercise.
She still played the leading role for Russia in the absence of defending all-around champion Aliya Mustafina, who is recovering from knee surgery.
The individual all-around final will be contested on Thursday.
The men’s two-day qualifying round is due to start on Sunday.