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Tang Chia-hung wins gold in Germany, one step closer to Paris

02/26/2024 07:25 PM
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Horizontal bar standout Tang Chia-hung (second right) poses with his team after the athlete's gold-medal win on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Weng Shih-hang Feb. 26, 2024
Horizontal bar standout Tang Chia-hung (second right) poses with his team after the athlete's gold-medal win on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Weng Shih-hang Feb. 26, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) Horizontal bar standout Tang Chia-hung (唐嘉鴻) is very likely to secure a slot at the 2024 Olympics in Paris this summer following his latest triumph in Germany on Sunday.

The "King of Cat" snagged gold in the men's event in the second leg of the 2024 Apparatus World Cup series in Cottbus with a score of 14.600, earning 30 more ranking points in the race to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.

The victory continued the success he achieved in Cairo and led to Tang's coach Weng Shih-hang (翁士航) saying, "The Paris Olympic berth is almost in hand."

According to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the two highest-ranked gymnasts per apparatus at the end of the four-leg series will earn a spot at the Paris Olympics. The highest three scores out of the four performances will be used to calculate a gymnast's score.

Tang ranked No. 1 in the qualification round and tied for first place in the final with China's Tian Hao (田昊). Tang was crowned the winner due to his 8.5 difficulty score, 0.1 more than Tian's score in the same category.

Speaking to CNA, Weng said the team thoroughly researched the judges' criteria beforehand, and Tang's identical scores in the final and qualification rounds proved that their strategy had been effective.

"We're bent on seizing the Olympic berth. After all, we have worked so hard for so long; it is supposed to be our turn this time anyway," Weng said, adding that Tang's back-to-back wins proved they are heading in the right direction.

Weng also expressed gratitude to conditioning coach Chen Yi-hsiang (陳宜翔) and athletic trainer Fan Chieh-ting (范絜婷) for taking care of Tang's body. "After all, Chia-hung suffered a major injury [last year], so closely monitoring his body is necessary."

Tang tore his Achilles tendon in February 2023 during a simulated competition at the National Sports Training Center, which prevented him from competing for about seven months.

Tang will train for a week in Paris before traveling to Baku, Azerbaijan in March, Weng said.

Meanwhile, Tseng Wei-sheng (曾為聖) and Hung Yuan-hsi (洪源禧) boosted their ranking points with their respective seventh-place finishes in the finals of the men's pommel horse and parallel bars events.

However, silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics Lee Chih-kai (李智凱) failed to advance to the final after falling from the pommel horse during his performance in the qualification round, leaving him ranked 27th, one place behind his compatriot Shiao Yu-jan (蕭佑然).

Both have failed to make it to the finals in either of the first two legs this year.

(By Li Chien-chung and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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