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Canada's Clay keeps hopes alive at world gymnastics championships

October 02, 2017 - 7:14 PM

MONTREAL - It wasn't a perfect night for Zachary Clay, but the Chilliwack, B.C. gymnast still has a good shot at earning a second chance at the world artistic gymnastics championships

Clay finished his qualifying session in 16th place in all-around competition on Monday.

The top 24 advance to the final, but one more group of gymnasts will be vying for spots in the final men's session on Tuesday so it won't be official until they've had their turn.

"I made three mistakes, but other than that I think it was awesome," said Clay, the national all-around champion and only Canadian to take part in all six events. "I felt good about it.

"My other goal was to hit my pommel horse routine and see where I rank in the world with that, but unfortunately, that was one of my mistakes. But all-around wise, I'm hoping for that."

The world's top gymnasts were qualifying for the all-around final as well as the individual events, where only the top eight reach the final.

No Canadians made it in individual events, although there are hopes that at least one of the women will get through when they have their qualifying on Tuesday night.

It should help that the crowd tucked snugly into one end of the otherwise cavernous Olympic Stadium is solidly behind the home team.

The biggest cheers went to Scott Morgan of North Vancouver, B.C., who flirted with qualification in the floor exercises but ended up 13th and got a rousing hand with an impressive performance on the rings, although the judges placed him only 21st.

"Rings was my last event on the floor and I was really happy with my set," said Morgan. "I had a good dismount.

"I could hear the crowd cheering all the time and to land and hear that roar was super-exciting. There's nothing like competing on home soil."

Manrique Larduet of Cuba led the all around event.

Kenzo Shirai of Japan was first in the floor exercises and the vault, while Max Whitlock of Britain led the pommel horse, Eleftherios Petrounios of Greece led the rings, Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine was first on the parallel bars and Pablo Braegger of Switzerland led the horizontal bar.

Rene Cournoyer of Repentigny, Que., was top Canadian on the vault in 24th spot while Thierry Pellerin of Levis, Que., in his first world championships, was best on the pommel in 24th.

Canada has never won gold at a gymnastic world championships and has not won a medal of any kind since Kyle Shewfelt and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs each won bronze in 2006.

If the drought breaks this time, it likely will have to come from the women's team.

"We've had very few medals over the last few years but the world championships is tough,"said Morgan. "It's arguably the hardest event in the sport, harder than the Olympics.

"There are more athletes at the competition. This really is our crown jewel. The girls have some talent. On the guys side, we missed our opportunities today, The goal was to hit the podium and I think the girls are capable of that."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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