Watanabe on world gold: “I found a solution and started with confidence”

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Originally a reserve in the Japanese team during the recent world championships in Liverpool, Watanabe Hazuki successfully negotiated moments of insecurity ahead of her gold medal performance on balance beam.

“In warming up and training on the podium, I made mistakes,” Watanabe said after her score of 13.600 in the balance beam final on November 6 earned her the gold medal title. ‘silver. Ellie Black of Canada (13.566) and his bronze medalist Japanese teammate Miyata Shoko (13.533). “But I wasn’t afraid of that. I found a solution and started with confidence.

Watanabe, 18, who also scored 13.600 on beam in qualifying, put her late start status to good use in the championships after replacing an injured teammate.

Watanabe ended up competing on three of the four apparatus in qualifying, where in addition to placing fifth on balance beam, she placed 35th out of 145 gymnasts on uneven bars and 62nd out of 143 gymnasts on floor. Japan then finished seventh in the team final on November 1.

“At first I was the reserve for the team, but when there was an injury they changed it and I had the chance to come to the world championships,” said Watanabe, who finished 48th in all-around and 21st on beam in qualifying for the 2019 World Junior Championships in Gyor. “That was my first surprise. Now I also have a medal. It’s all a bit surprising.”

Watanabe reflected on the competition with longing and satisfaction after his victory.

“As a team it will be sad to part ways at the end of the championships,” she said. “But overall it was a great experience.”

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