Team China (C), Team Russia (L) and Team Japan pose on the podium after the Men's Team Final at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, capital of Qatar, Oct. 29, 2018. Team China won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Nikku)
DOHA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- By a margin of 0.049 points, China won the men's team title at the 2018 World Gymnastics Championships held in Doha, Qatar on Monday.
Russia finished second while Japan came in third in the hotly-contested final.
The Chinese men overcame early falls from Xiao Ruoteng on floor exercise and Sun Wei on pommel horse, and steadily fought their way back to win the title on 256.634 points. In the fifth rotation, China capitalized on a mistake from Russia to grab the lead for the first time, thanks to a massive 16.200 from Zou Jingyuan on parallel bars, the only score above 16 so far in Doha.
Leading by nearly a full point with one rotation left, the Chinese swallowed mistakes on horizontal bar from Lin Chaopan, who went the wrong way after two big releases Cassina and Kolman, and team anchor Xiao, who fell on his Liukin release move.
Russia tried hard but was not able to overtake China's final score.
"We are very happy to get the gold medal and we are impressed by how the Russian team has improved," China coach Ye Zhennan said.
The Russian gymnasts, who won silver with 256.585 points, felt disappointed with the result but were happy to secure the ticket to Tokyo 2020.
"We have a lot of motivation," said Russian star gymnast Nikita Nagornyy, who qualified first to Wednesday's all-around final. "We were very close to winning and I am sure we are going to get over it."
"On the one hand we are really happy we won qualification for the Olympic Games," another Russian gymnast David Belyavskiy added. "It was what we wanted, but of course we are very disappointed. We were so close. But we didn't manage to maintain our momentum."
Japan, the defending world and Olympic team champion, was leading the competition after a solid start on pommel horse and still rings, but they made some big mistakes in the rest of the competition and had to settle for the bronze medal.
"The Japanese team is very happy that we won the bronze," said head coach Hisashi Mizutori, a member of Japan's gold medal-winning team at the 2004 Olympics. "I believe each one did their best today and unfortunately we ended up in third place, which is regrettable, but we are happy because we secured a berth to Tokyo."
The three medal-winning teams in the team finals for both men and women will earn team berths directly to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo while other teams will have further chances to qualify in 2019 and 2020.