Nile Wilson falls just short of world bronze medal

Britain's Claudia Fragapane fell in her opening tumble in the women's floor exercise final in Nanning, China, finishing eighth. Picture: Getty
Britain's Claudia Fragapane fell in her opening tumble in the women's floor exercise final in Nanning, China, finishing eighth. Picture: Getty
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TEENAGER Nile Wilson narrowly missed out on a medal in the men’s horizontal bar on the final day of the World Gymnastics Championships in China.

The 18-year-old, forced to withdraw from Friday’s all-around finals with a wrist injury, took fourth place yesterday with a score of 14.766, with Croatia’s Marijo Moznik beating him to bronze with a score of 15.000.

The Dutch Olympic champion Epke Zonderland claimed gold with a total score of 16.225.

But Leeds-born Wilson, who took gold in this event among four medals at the Commonwealth Games, was delighted with fourth after the disappointment of Friday.

“I didn’t really go in with any expectations,” he said. “I was just happy to be in the final and to be lined up against an Olympic champion was unreal. Coming fourth is a great achievement, just below the medals. I could not be happier.”

The experience also gave Wilson a better idea of what he needs to do to one day match the likes of Zonderland.

“First, I’m going to increase my difficulty,” he said. “I think he’s gone up to seven plus [difficulty], so that’s my first target.”

Wilson withdrew from Friday’s final, handing his place to Max Whitlock who went on to take silver. “I made the decision the day before [the final],” he said. “My wrist injury was getting to the point where it was a bit silly to carry on and it could cause a major injury. So I made that decision to help Max get through.”

Simone Biles, of the US, capped her dominance at the gymnastics world championships yesterday, winning gold on the balance beam and the floor exercise. Biles earned 15.100 points for a routine on the beam that opened with a well-controlled double squat turn and included three back handsprings.

Bai Yawen, of China, won silver with 15.033 points, while Aliya Mustafina of Russia claimed the bronze with 14.166.

Biles won her fourth gold of the meet with a powerful routine on the floor that received 15.333 points. Larisa Iordache, of Romania, was second with 14.800, followed by Mustafina with 14.733. Biles’ six career gold medals at the world championships are the most by a US woman, surpassing the five by Shannon Miller in her career.

“It blows my mind,” Biles said of the new mark. “It’s an incredible honour and I’m so happy.”

The US finished with a total of ten medals – four gold, two silver and four bronze.

Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev won gold in men’s parallel bars, with 16.125 points, ahead of Danell Leyva, of the US, who took the silver medal with 15.933. Japan’s Ryohei Kato won bronze with 15.666.

Zonderland won the horizontal bar title with 16.225, edging five-time all-around world champion Kohei Uchimura, of Japan. Croatia’s Marijo Moznik was third.