Russian gymnasts have taken their maiden world title, edging out China in a nail-biting team final at the pre-Olympic world championship in Stuttgart, Germany.
The Russian male squad, which qualified for the team final with the best results, put on a stunning performance on Tuesday, outscoring their principle rivals from China and Japan.
The five-man team, led by reigning world all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan, posted the highest scores on floor, vault, still rings, and high bar, receiving a total of 261.726 points.
Defending world champions China, which was practically flawless on five out of six apparatuses, were leading till the final event by 1.4 points over the closest pursuers – Russian and Japan.
However, a drastic fall on the final apparatus, the high bar, denied them a chance to repeat last year’s success when they beat Russia by a 10th of a point.
China finished second this time, losing by more than a point to the newly-crowned title holders – Russia. Japan came in third with 258.159 points.
“Never give up,” Russia’s Nikita Nagorny, who cemented Russia’s victory with his stellar performance on the high bar, shouted.
This is the first team gold for the Russian men since 1991, when the coveted title was taken by the Soviet Union.
By winning the world crown, the Russians have established themselves as favorites to claim gold at next summer’s Olympics in Japan.