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China secure men's gymnastics victory

  • Story Highlights
  • China beat holders Japan and the United States to win the men's gymnastics
  • The hosts finished on 286.125 points, 7.25 points ahead of arch-rivals Japan
  • An injury-weakened U.S. team put in a gutsy effort to take bronze on 275.85
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CNN -- China won the men's gymnastics team gold on Tuesday, snuffing out challenges from defending champions Japan and the United States to spark wild celebrations among the cheering home crowd.

The Chinese team celebrate beating arch-rivals Japan to take gold in the men's team gymnastics.

A Chinese team featuring three world champions won the men's team title for the second time following victory in Sydney in 2000, making amends for a disappointing fifth place in Athens four years ago.

China finished on 286.125 points, 7.25 points ahead of arch-rivals Japan on 278.875, while an injury-weakened U.S. team put in a gutsy effort to take bronze on 275.85.

With eight teams contesting the finals, China were paired with Japan as they went through the six men's apparatus.

Led by world individual champion Yang Wei, the Chinese came out to a deafening roar in the 18,000 capacity National Indoor Stadium, where the flag-waving crowd was expecting nothing less than gold.

But China's opening gymnast on the floor exercise Chen Yibing stumbled on the final run of his routine and scored a modest 14.575, leaving China trailing Japan by half a point at the end of the first round.

There were then boos from the stands after Huang Xu received a disappointing 14.75 on pommel horse before Xaio Qin, the world champion on the apparatus, put the hosts 0.4 points ahead of Japan at the end of round two.

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China's depth of talent allowed them to call on rings world champion Chen Yibing to extend the lead in the next round, the gymnast whipping the crowd into a frenzy after a 16.575-point display.

However, the injury-weakend U.S. team showed it would not be a walkover for the Chinese when they took the overall lead at the end of the third of six rounds.

Missing Athens individual champion Paul Hamm and his brother Morgan, the American exceeded expectations to lead China by 0.825 points at the halfway mark.

The Amercian men then built on their momentum when they took the high bar, where a spectacular one-handed swinging rotation by Justin Spring had American fans chanting.

But the Chinese had the answers, Li Xiopeng pulling off a 16.775 vault to put the hosts 1.575 points ahead at the end of the fourth round. They extended their lead after U.S. gymnast Joey Hagerty stumbled, then landed heavily, on the floor exercise.

Heading into the final round, the Chinese looked unbeatable, leading the United States by 5.2 points and Japan by 6.9, huge margins under the new gymnastics scoring system, where routines are no longer marked out of 10.

The United States were in silver medal position but poor pommel horse routines from Kei Wen Tan and Raj Bhavsar allowed Japan to finish second after a strong team performance on the high bar.

China's dominance was such that the last gymnast to perform on high bar, Zou Kai, needed only 8.725 to clinch the gold. He scored 15.975 to set off a round of foot-stamping and cheering in the stands.

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