13/10 Tokyo: Britain’s Hannah Whelan had the competition of her life to finish 9th in the women's all-around World Championship final. Hannah’s consistently high level of performance over all 4 pieces, and crucially no mistakes, leading her to a score of 56.124 points. The title was won in dramatic style by American sensation Jordyn Wieber.
Hannah’s results continues a great week for the British girls in which Hannah ‘s all-around performances in particular have led them to Olympic qualification and a record breaking 5th place in the team final,
Hannah Whelan: “I feel amazing, I’m really, really happy. I wasn't expecting that as I came in 16th last year and was just looking to improve on that. I really enjoyed the competition, didn’t feel the pressure and although it is strange not having all my teammates around me out there I could still hear them in the stands which helps a lot. I went clean on all my routines so am very proud. The consistency has been there all week which is a good sign going into next year, having spent a long time working hard in the gym it’s always good to see that pay off in competition. The week as a whole has been amazing, huge highs in getting to the Olympics and placing 5th in the team and now this, all the team have bonded so it’s looking really positive going into 2012.”
In the first rotation the drama unfolded instantly, Japanese gymnast Koko Tsurumi falling twice on bars, whilst the top qualifiers all produced, Wieber taking the early lead with a 15.716 vault and Porgras proving why she was last year’s World beam champion with a 15.100 routine on that piece
After a long wait to perform, Britain’s Hannah Whelan, loudly cheered by her teammates sitting nearby the beam, started beautifully with a clean routine and tiny step on dismount to score 14.333 and make a great start to her competition and place her 8th after the first rotation
Wieber was the first of the big guns to suffer a wobble in the second rotation on bars, losing her rhythm and fighting to stay swinging she left the door open for others to take advantage. Komova following up with a clean 15.100 to give the Russian the lead and Huang a 13.600 for second, before Raisman then blew her chance, losing the swing totally on bars with groans echoing around the arena – a 12.900.
Over on floor Hannah Whelan was growing in confidence, having made small mistakes on this piece earlier in the week she rectified this with style to nail a clean routine and score 14.133, a fantastic competition at the half way mark by Hannah and 7th, her consistent performance under pressure proving hugely beneficial.
Hannah was then first up on vault and no mistakes for a 14.400, with gymnasts around her making errors Hannah was excelling.
Anna Porgras also on vault with Hannah posted a 14.100 to stay in the podium hunt. The leaders meanwhile were over on beam, Komova stayed clean, Huang of China fell but teammate Yao did not, a score of 13.933 to add to her faultless display suddenly putting her into the medal fight along with Jordyn Wieber who put her bars faults behind her with the best beam routine of the night scoring her 15.266
And so onto the final piece - Huang on floor went clean first up to post the benchmark – 57.432 soon to be overtaken by Raisman who scored 57.558 while over on bars Porgras didn't have the difficulty to reach the highest marks and totaled 57.299.
It was Yao of China who took the initiative a floor routine of 14.766 giving her an all-around of 58.598 well above those around her at that point. Wieber next needing over 14 to take the lead, and she nailed it – 14.800 to take the Gold spot, her supporters going crazy in the stands.
That left Komova to compete, anything over 14.666 and she would win the title. The whole arena knew the scenario and were transfixed on the Russian. She competed cleanly and the wait was on, her score finally flashing up as 14.333 for an all-around of 59.349 just 0.033 adrift of Gold.
Hannah finished up on the bars not her strongest scoring event. Having been first on vault and last on this piece it could have got to her nerves but that didn’t show at all, a clean, tidy routine to complete a clean competition and a total score of 56.124 and 9th place
Hannah Whelan (56.124) – Beam 14.333, Floor 14.133, Vault 14.400, Bars 13.258
Wieber (USA) 59.382
Komova (RUS) 59.349
Yao (CHN) 58.598
Raisman (USA) 57.558
Huang (CHN) 57.432
Porgras (ROU) 57.299
Afanaseva (RUS) 56.732
Mitchell (AUS) 56.699
Whelan (GBR) 56.124
Jorosch (GER) 56.033