SPORTS


Turkey, Azerbaijan complete golden blitzes

Baku, May 16, AZERTAC

Azerbaijan and Turkey rounded off their dominance of the Islamic Solidarity Games artistic gymnastics, by sharing Monday evening's closing five individual apparatus titles between them in Baku.

After winning three titles in the afternoon session at the National Gymnastics Arena, Turkey knew that the evening program represented a good chance to take top spot in the overall medals table from the hosts, but Azerbaijan stormed to the last three gold medals.

Turkey started well when Goksu Uctas Sanli claimed the night's first gold in the beam competition, before Ahmet Onder took the men's vault victory.

Azerbaijan hit back in the second rotation though as Yuliya Inshina soared to gold on the floor and Bence Talas won the pommel horse.

Talas, 26, completed his personal treble in the high bar to the delight of hundreds of fans.

The 26-year-old Uctas Sanli, whose only previous major medal was a vault silver at the Mediterranean Games eight years ago, managed to get through a clean beam routine to edge out home hope Marina Nekrasova with 12.750 points.

Algerian Mohamed Abdeldjalil Bourguieg gave himself a chance of winning his country's first gymnastics gold of the Games with 13.950 in the vault, but Onder produced two solid efforts to pip him to gold after his teammate Ferhat Arican had faltered at the second attempt.

The home crowd, although supportive towards Turkey, were desperate to see some Azerbaijani success.

Their team improved after the interval as Talas performed an excellent pommel horse to take the lead on 14.250, shortly after Inshina's exciting tumbling had edged her past Uctas Sanli by just 0.05 points in the floor exercise with a decent score of 13.100.

Iran's Saeedreza Keikha almost overhauled Talas, but like Uctas Sanli, he fell short by less than 0.1 points after a rejected inquiry.

Loud cheers greeted the announcement of Inshina's gold medal, before Onder slipped from the pommel to confirm a second straight home triumph, for the Hungarian-born Talas.

The last final of the Solidarity Games gymnastics event was the high bar, on which Talas performed a tricky routine to perfection and was awarded 14.000.

The Turkish duo of Arican (13.250) and Onder (13.200) could not put a dent in Talas' effort.

Algeria's Hillal Metidji appeared set for a medal, until he stumbled attempting a tough dismount.

That confirmed Talas as Azerbaijan's second double gold-medal winner in the competition, after Ishnina's team and floor wins.

Earlier in the day, teenager Murad Agharzayev had got the home country up and running in style with men's floor victory.

Oksana Chusovitina claimed Uzbekistan's first artistic gold of the Games in the women's vault, while Turkey struck thanks to Arican on the parallel bars.

Demet Mutlu edged out Azerbaijani Ekaterina Tishkova in the uneven bars, as compatriot Ibrahim Colak almost simultaneously claimed rings gold.

Turkey finished the artistic events with six golds in all, one more than their hosts.

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