Gymnastics: Hurd captures surprise all-around World gold

From left: Elisabeth Black of Canada, Morgan Hurd of the US, and Elena Ermina of Russia display their medals during the 47th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Montreal Olympic Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 07 October 2017
0

Gymnastics: Hurd captures surprise all-around World gold

MONTREAL: US teenager Morgan Hurd snatched a surprise women’s all-around gold on Friday at the injury-hit World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
The bespectacled 16-year-old, who was born in China and adopted as a toddler, followed in the footsteps of celebrated compatriot Simone Biles — ably shouldering US hopes after national champion Ragan Smith withdrew minutes before the competition with an ankle injury.
It was a stunning World Championships debut for Hurd, who was sixth at the P&G Championships in August but secured a place on the four-woman US team for the championships at a selection camp in September.
“It’s crazy that I was even competing here,” Hurd said. “To think that I won is just the most surreal feeling in the world.”
Hurd won with a total of 55.232 points, denying home hope Ellie Black of Canada who took silver with 55.132.
Russian Elena Eremina was third with 54.799, with Mai Murukami narrowly missing the podium with a total of 54.699.
Hurd sealed the win with her final routine, the floor exercise, erasing a deficit of two-tenths of a point to surpass Black.
It was a disappointment to fans at the 1976 Olympic venue, but Black became the first Canadian gymnast, man or woman, to win an Olympic or world all-around medal.
Hurd continued a long streak of success for US women in all-around competition.
An American woman has won every Olympic or world all-around title since 2011.
Hurd opened the competition by scoring 14.533 on the vault, which put her in fourth.
She was tied with Black for the lead after the second rotation, earning 14.300 on the parallel bars.
A 12.666 on balance beam left her in second going into the final rotation, and her floor exercise score of 13.733 — despite stepping out of bounds on her third tumbling run — was enough.
The competition lacked the top four finishers form last year’s Rio Games.
Two competitors touted as favorites going into the week were also absent — Smith and Romania’s Laris Iordache.
Smith left on crutches after hurting herself warming up for her opening vault.
USA Gymnastics said she was taken to hospital for X-rays.
Iordache, a two-time world all-around medalist, tore an Achilles tendon warming up for floor exercise before qualifying on Wednesday — three days after Japanese superstar Kohei Uchimura pulled out of the men’s qualifying with torn ligament in his ankle.
In Uchimura’s absence, China’s Xiao Ruoteng won the men’s all-around title on Thursday.
Men and women will be back on Saturday and Sunday for individual apparatus finals.


Morocco proud of its Atlas Lions despite Portugal defeat, World Cup exit

Updated 20 June 2018
0

Morocco proud of its Atlas Lions despite Portugal defeat, World Cup exit

  • While Morocco were on top for long periods, the Atlas Lions could not get the goal they deserved and needed
  • Ronaldo, named man of the match by FIFA after his fourth goal of the World Cup so far, recognized that it was a tough game

MOSCOW: Morocco became the first team to exit the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday after a 1-0 loss to Portugal in Moscow left coach Herve Renard to reflect on what could have been had he been able to call up Cristiano Ronaldo.
Just five days after his hat-trick against Spain in a 3-3 thriller, the Real Madrid star was once again the difference-maker and scored the only goal of the game with a fourth-minute header.
While Morocco were on top for long periods, the Atlas Lions could not get the goal they deserved and needed. It was a similar outcome to the opening 1-0 loss to Iran when the North Africans had chances to win, but ended with nothing.
It leaves Morocco with zero points from two games in Group B and unable to finish in the top two with a final game against Spain on Monday now just a matter of pride.
“This is what happens in football,” Renard said. “In the penalty area at crucial times, the most gifted players are the ones who make all the difference. It is a lot easier to play with a player who can score from a goal opportunity. We have high quality players and should have been more effective as we had lots of chances.”
Ronaldo, named man of the match by FIFA after his fourth goal of the World Cup so far, recognized that it was a tough game for the European champions who now have four points from two games.
“I am very happy to score, but it is more important to win the game and get the points,” Ronaldo said. “We know if we lost we could be out. We knew they would be trying very hard and were very strong. It was a really tough game for us, but I managed to get the goal, and it was beautiful.”
Morocco were unhappy with the goal, with Renard asking reporters to look at the corner from which Portugal scored, hinting that Portuguese defender Pepe had fouled one of his players. “Have a good look at the corner kick and what the number three is doing and write the truth. I can’t say too much or I will be punished.”
As it is, however, Morocco are out regardless of what happens against Spain on June 25. Renard has, however, insisted that the team will leave Russia with their heads held high.
“I am not disappointed with the performance,” the French coach said. “I am very proud of my players, very proud of the country and proud of the staff. The whole Moroccan people are proud, even very proud, of this team. It felt like Casablanca in here and that is something you can never take away from the players.”
The well-travelled 49-year-old reflected on Morocco’s journey since he took the job in February 2016. “Then we were ranked 81 and now we are 41 and came to the World Cup for the first time in 20 years. Here we have shown we can play football, we do play football.”
Portuguese coach Fernando Santos paid tribute to the North Africans.
“They played well and challenged us. It is maybe an unfair result for them, that is football. If you score, you can win. I am not happy with the way we played, but we played against a good team.”