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The Chinese men recently had their nationals, where we got a sneak peak at some of the guys who may end up on their world team this year.  Where was Zou Kai?  Perhaps just temporarily out with injury…but China really needs his huge scores on both floor and high bar.  There’s been lots of recent discussion (and concern from the Chinese men’s head coach) about the Chinese dilemma of having too many 1-2 event specialists and not enough all-arounders or 4-5 event guys.  I think it really is an interesting scenario for them fielding their first world team since Beijing, where Yang Wei competed FIVE events in team finals, and Li Xiaopeng, Huang Xu, and Chen Yibing each competed three events (Xiao Qin and Zou Kai each did two).  I have no doubt that they can still put together a very strong 6-man team, but unfortunately for them they will likely have to sacrifice a couple of their individual event stars in favor of guys who can do more events.  Looking at their recent national results, they did have three guys score around an 89, which is actually pretty strong…and that’s not counting Chen Yibing who is supposedly training the all-around again as well.  The individual event domination they showcased at last year’s worlds just might not happen this year because they’ll have to adjust their team members to create a strong team finals lineup.  Recall that China only entered one participant on most of the events at worlds last year, with ZERO guys on vault, ZERO guys in the all-around, and two guys on rings and p-bars.  Incredibly, they managed to win gold on four events and silver on one.  Right now I see TEN guys who appear to be in contention for their team this year (assuming Teng Haibin is still around as he was last year):

  • Feng Zhe
  • Liao Qiuhua
  • Zhang Chenglong
  • Chen Yibing
  • Teng Haibin
  • Huang Yuguo
  • Yan Mingyong
  • Zou Kai
  • Zhang Hongtao
  • Chen Xuezhang

I don’t think they will have ANY problem picking six of those guys and coming up with a top notch team.  Let’s take a look at some of the performances from their nationals:

Huang Yuguo Floor 2010 Chinese Nationals

15.525, 1st place

Zhang Chenglong Floor 2010 Chinese Nationals

15.425, 2nd place

Zhang Hongtao Pommel Horse 2010 Chinese Nationals

6.6, 16.15, 1st place

That’s a 10.0 execution in my book.  I couldn’t find 0.45 if I watched that in slow motion under a microscope.  Amazingly, he looks better than last year and should be a sure bet for the team as a specialist, especially considering they are actually lacking some depth on pommel horse.

Yan Mingyong Rings 2010 Chinese Nationals

15.9, 1st place

If Chen Yibing is really training the all-around, that could open the door for BOTH of these ring monsters to make the team again as they did last year.  That would give them two of the best rings scores in the world during the team final.

Huang Yuguo Vault 2010 Chinese Nationals

16.05, 1st place

Wow!  STUCK 1st vault, and the form on that double front was gorgeous!

Zhang Chenglong Vault 2010 Chinese Nationals

15.837, 2nd place

Another stuck Kasamatsu 1 ½!

Feng Zhe P-bars 2010 Chinese Nationals

15.95, 1st place

Silver medalist on this event at worlds last year behind his teammate, Wang Guanyin.  I love the peach full turn.  Considering he won this event here, won the all-around, AND placed 3rd on high bar, he’s a frontrunner for their team this year.

Feng Zhe High Bar 2010 Chinese Nationals

6.9, 15.25, 3rd place

Zhang Chenglong High Bar 2010 Chinese Nationals

7.3, 15.4, 2nd place

Chen Xuezhang High Bars 2010 Chinese Nationals

7.0, 15.7, 1st place

Wow two Chinese guys doing Kolmanns…very rare!  They actually seem to be improving on this event, and don’t forget Zou Kai is the current world and Olympic champion on high bar!

I don’t think we need to go feeling too sorry for the Chinese men just yet…I think they’ll be battling with the Japanese for gold in Rotterdam…just maybe at the expense of one or two of the individual event golds they won last year.