Zhu looks to Rio after bouncing back to win trampoline gold
Home favourite Zhu Xueying (CHN) recovered from a shaky start to finish first in the women's trampoline at Nanjing 2014. And the Chinese youngster quickly set her sights on repeating the feat at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Crowned Asian junior champion in June 2014, Zhu looked to be out of the reckoning after posting a poor execution score in the first routine. But she made a strong comeback in the second routine to qualify in first place for the final, where she registered an impressive winning score of 55.425, ahead of silver medallist Rana Nakano (JPN) and third-placed Maria Zakharchuk (RUS).
“I feel very motivated after my win here in Nanjing,” the 16-year-old said. “Now I am aiming for the gold in the Olympic Games in 2016.”
When the judges announced her winning score – 3.06 ahead of Nakano – the crowd erupted as the jubilant Zhu blew kisses to acknowledge their support.
“My people have been so encouraging,” she said. “They have been clapping for me, calling my name. I feel so good that I could live up to their expectations.
“Those final minutes before the total score was displayed on the screen were so nerve-racking. I cannot describe the feeling when the judges finally announced me as the winner,” she added.
“It means a lot to me to win the Youth Olympic gold in my own country.”
Nakano (left), Zhu and Zakharchuk salute the crowd
Nakano’s silver was all the more remarkable considering she lay in seventh place after the first qualification routine.
“It’s such a relief that I was able to recover in the second round,” she said. “I had practised my routine well and I am happy that everything came together for me.”
Zakharchuk, who finished fourth at the 2014 European Junior Championships, was happy with her bronze medal.
“I gave my best and performed with a lot of dedication. It feels nice that I was able to win a medal for my country at the Youth Olympic Games,” she said.