China's Zhang blighted by pursuit of perfection at World Championships

Zhang Boheng is looking to defend his world all-around crown
Zhang Boheng is looking to defend his world all-around crown

By Paul Martin

Zhang Boheng has the highest of standards but believes China’s ‘pursuit of perfection’ could have cost them during a mixed performance in qualifying.

The reigning men’s all-around champion will have the chance to defend his crown following a score of 83.766 but he finished below Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto, his rival’s compatriot Wataru Tanigawa and Great Britain’s Joe Fraser.

Zhang complained of fitness issues following podium training and feels he was not operating at 100 per cent on his first competitive outing of the week in Liverpool.

“I am not so satisfied today,” he said. “My fitness was not good enough to catch up in the later rotations. That's why I made some mistakes.

“We have faced some physical fitness issues, and for some reason I found it difficult to find the right rhythm.

“My teammate, Sun Wei, did not have good form today. Maybe because it is the first competition.

“We are so desperate to do our best. Somehow mistakes come when you are aiming for perfection.”

Zhang faces a wait to see which individual finals he is to be part of but will hope his scores in floor (14.500) and horizontal bar (14.733) will prove enough to see him compete on multiple fronts.

A 14.900 on the parallel bars could also leave him just above the dotted line but he was some way off teammate Zou Jingyuan.

The two-time parallel bars world champion recorded a 15.700 having led his country off on the apparatus following Sun Wei’s withdrawal and revealed he still has plenty more to give as he looks to complete a hat-trick in the event.

“It is not the best routine I can do,” he said. “I had some problems to find the right rhythm in the middle of the routine, a little rush, especially as I was set to be the second gymnast to go.

“But as a whole, it is still a fairly good routine. I also feel extremely happy because I made a mistake at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart and did not make the final. This time I even added some more difficulty. I want to challenge myself.”

China’s overall team score of 249.929 left them adrift of USA, Great Britain and Japan after the third of six subdivisions but Zhang believes the men’s team line-up will be able to deliver when Wednesday evening’s final arrives.

“We have to figure out how to preserve our powerful so we can perform in all apparatus,” he said.

“I have to improve and review some of my techniques and my ability to use my power in the right way.”

The World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022 will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city. Over 500 gymnasts from more than 70 countries will compete at the M&S Bank Arena from 29 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets are available at www.2022worldgymnastics.com/tickets