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Who will be on the medal rostrum? 
The tension in the Topsporthal Vlanderen mount early Wednesday afternoon as the first set of medals is about to be decided.
Belarus  with top star Ivan Ivankov qualified in first place with a fantastic show, less than a point ahead of the USA who are followed by Korea and Romania. Ukraine is struggling with injuries and surely has only an outside chance of a medal. France and Russia round out the field.
There are six gymnasts per team, three per apparatus and all scores count.  

Rotation 1: Romania leads

Romania is on vault, Ukraine on floor. Rares Orzata (ROM) starts with a slightly imperfect Tsukahara with 2 ½ twists. Ioan Suciu follows him with the second vault but performs it a little better. Marian Dragulescu finishes with a great handspring-double front 1/2  for a 28,650 for Romania..

Ukrainian Ruslam Mezentsev has a nervous beginning. He sits down his double front. Andrei Lipski seems a lot more solid, Alexander Beresh puts in a fantastic routine with a double front and a double-double.
Ukraine scores 26,762.

 Tae-Young starts very strongly on rings.

You Won-Kil demonstartes even more perfection in his strength elements. Kim Dong Hwa twists his arm on an iron cross and is unable to finish his routine. This is already the end for Korea. 

Alexej Nemov (RUS) >> 

Francois Ruffier (FRA)

The French team opens with a solid routine from Yohan Mounard on pommels. Sebastien Tayac has a small break on his dismount in an otherwise clean routine. Francois Ruffier is very clean and solid and brings his team to a total of 28,211.

Raj Bhavsar is next for the USA on pommels .Brett McClure gets through his routine well as well. Paul Hamm has bad technique in his routine. The USA totals 26,924.

 On rings, the Chinese demonstrate their strength. Small breaks keep the team at 26,75. 

Belarus enters the competition on floor. Alexander Kruzhylov gets them off to a good start. Dzenis Savenkov and Dmitri Kasperovich also compete well.
Result: 27,562.

 Yevgeni Krylov is the first gymnast for Russia on vault. He nails his double twisting Yurchenko. Alexei Nemov has some problems landing the vault named after him.

Alexei Bondarenko sticks his Yurchenko double pike cold.
Result: 28,275.

Alexej Bondarenko (RUS)

Rotation 2

Sean Townsend (USA)

Potra Dan (ROM) starts off confidently on bars. Marian Dragulescu has small problems. Marius Urzica surprisingly shows some weakness on bars and falls on his dismount. Only 25,162 points.
Mikhailichenko also starts off the second rotation well for Ukraine on pommels. Ruslan Mezenstev falls. Beresh saves it for Ukraine with a great routine. 27,712 points for Ukraine.
Korea cannot win ground on vault despite good vaults.

Florent Maree has a few wobbles on rings and puts his hands down on his dismount. Francois Ruffier seems confident. Sebastien Tayac keeps his team in the medal hunt with a good routine. 

The Chinese don’t faulter on vault going for security in their double twisting Tsukaharas. (28,212)
Raj Bhavsar has trouble keeping the rings still. Hamm follows with two Guzoghys and an overall better routine. Towsend is perfect and pulls hsi team to a total of 28,062.

The Belarussians stay calm on pommels. Ivankov & Co earn an incredible total of 28,075.  
Nikolai Kryukov  falls on bars – bad luck. Bondarenko, however, is in good form whereas Nemov has a few wobbles here and there.....  

Rotation 3

First Romanian gymnast up on high bar, Razwan Selariu crashes for a 7,325 which will cost the team dearly . Urzica shows a super Winkler and Orzata a Kovacs to bring the team to a total of 26,262. Mezentsev also has a poor start for Ukraine on rings with only 8,15. Sergei Vyaltsev and Roman Zozulia cannotn compensate despite good routines (27,049).

Cedric Guille gives France some security with a nailed double twisting Yurchenko. Still, Yann Chucherat lands his handspring-double front very low. Florent Maree is no better. Still, 27,637 points for France.

Korea shows weaknesses on bars. No wonder, considering they have to do without injured Kim Dong-Hwa.
The Chinese on their strongest apparatus, bars. Deng Weiwei starts nervously. Feng Jing is flawless and Zhang Shangwu in a leagus of his own. Incredible 28,125 points.

McClure (USA) vaults a full-twisting Cuervo. McCain’s Kasamatsu with twist is better and Paul Hamm’s double twisting Tsukahara is a joy to watch: 28,175.

Alexej Bondarenko (RUS) >>

  Georgi Grebenkov (RUS) starts spectacularly on high bar with a full-twisting Kovacs. But then he gets stuck. Bondarenko shows a few releases, then gets stuck and finally falls off on a turn into ellgrip. A black day for the Russians.Nemov is totally spectacular until his dismount which he can hardly stand up. 26,286 point mean Russia is out of the medal race.

The Belarussians on rings begin well with Kasperovich, then get better with Valynchuk and the great Ivankov. 28,625 points.

Report by Reinhard Linder / Nora Schuler
Web editors: Eckhard Herholz / Sonja Schmeisser
Photos by Don Johnson