In May of 1973, many of China’s top gymnasts traveled to the United States for a tour and a competition at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Meanwhile, back in China, the country held its national championships. On the men’s side, Yu Liefeng won the all-around, and Xu Guoning and Cheng Chunxia tied for first place on the women’s side.
Below, you can find an article on the competition.
The 1973 National Gymnastics Competition Concluded
Xinhua News Agency, Tianjin, May 22, 1973, by wire – The 1973 National Gymnastics Competition, which lasted for ten days, concluded in Tianjin on the 21st. The Shanghai men’s team and the Liaoning women’s team won first place in the overall score of the men’s and women’s teams, respectively. Yu Liefeng of Shanghai won first place in the men’s individual all-around, and Xu Guoning of Shanghai and Cheng Chunxia of Liaoning tied for first place in the women’s individual all-around.
Most of the participants in this competition are novices who have just emerged in recent years. They are full of vitality, vigorous, aggressive enough, and dare to climb the peak of gymnastics. The Hunan women’s team, whose average age is only fourteen years old, attracted the attention of people due to their excellent achievement of winning first place overall in the junior girls’ team competition when they participated in the national competition in Nanning last year. This year, they participated in the national competition with adults and won second place in the team competition with their calmness, boldness, and courage to complete some difficult moves. Many young players who participated in the national competition for the first time usually trained hard and set strict requirements for themselves. They keep no arrogance in victory, no despair in defeat, and fully exert their own level. Du Xiaojie, a thirteen-year-old young member of the Liaoning team, participated in the national competition for the first time this year. At the beginning, owing to the lack of composure in the team competition, she failed on the uneven bars. She was not discouraged and insisted on doing it. Later, in the individual finals, she was even more brave and tenacious, calm, and decisive, and achieved second place in women’s floor exercise and third place on balance beam.
In the competition, athletes across the country firmly implement the guideline of “friendship first, competition second,” learn from each other, help each other, and work together to improve the technical level of gymnastics in our country. Wang Lijun of the Shanghai team and Sun Fei of the Jilin team struck up a friendship as early as 1971 during a gymnastics competition held in Hangzhou, exchanged experiences, and encouraged each other in correspondence. In this competition, they met again, and often talk and help each other, learn from each other, and both achieved better results. In the competition, many athletes rejoiced in the excellent achievements created by their comrades; and made things more convenient for others in pre-competition training. The Guangxi women’s team and the Jiangxi women’s team compete in one group. Guangxi team members saw that Jiangxi team members were younger and had less competition experience, they would rather practice less themselves than let their comrades practice more in the five minutes of pre-competition practice. The athletes have been praised by the people for this style of play.
The representative teams that won second to sixth place in the overall score of the men’s and women’s teams were:
Men’s team – Hebei team, Yunnan team, Shandong team, Guangdong team, (missing sixth place).
Women’s team – Hunan team, Guangdong team, Shanghai team, Zhejiang team, Hebei team.
The candidates who won second to sixth place in the men’s individual all-around score were: Shi Mao (Hebei), Zhang Jianhua (Shanghai), Zhao Jiawei (Jiangsu), Zhou Guisheng (Jiangsu), Fan Yanneng (Shanghai).
Among the top six candidates who won the overall score of the women’s individual all-around, apart from two ties for first place, Mo Ruirong (Yunnan) and Tang Jiyuan (Hunan) tied for third place, and Sun Dejun (Liaoning) finished in fifth place, Sun Fei (Jilin) and Wang Guinian (Jiangsu) tied for sixth.
The first-place winners of the men’s six individual events were: Floor exercise – Liu Tailai (Hebei), Pommel horse – Tian Weishun (Beijing), and Rings – Xu Yuting (Shanghai), Vault – Li Ziying (Hebei), Parallel bars – Yu Liefeng (Shanghai), Horizontal bar – Liu Tailai (Hebei).
The first-place winners of the women’s four individual events were: Floor exercise – Tan Ke (Hunan), Uneven bars – Mo Ruirong (Yunnan), Balance beam – Tang Ji Yuan (Hunan), Vault – Cai Weihui (Sichuan).Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily), May 23, 1973
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