Aliya Mustafina earns fifth medal
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- All-around champion Aliya Mustafina of Russia won her fifth medal at the world gymnastics championships, taking silver on the floor exercises Sunday.
Lauren Mitchell of Australia swept past co-leaders Mustafina and Romania's Diana Chelaru on the last performance, leaving the Russian with two gold and three silver medals in six events. Mustafina's only blemish came when she fell off the beam on Sunday, leaving the title to Romania's Ana Porgras ahead of American Rebecca Bross and defending champion Deng Linlin, who shared silver.
"On the beam, I didn't have enough strength. I just lost balance," Mustafina said.
The 16-year-old Mustafina downplayed her feat of matching the medal haul of Russian great Svetlana Khorkina at the 2001 world championships.
"I don't have any heroes. I just try to be myself," she said through a translator.
U.S. allrounder Nastia Liukin also won five medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and might come back for the 2012 London Games.
Mustafina and men's all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, 21, made it clear who will be the favorites.
Uchimura won his fourth medal Sunday, finishing behind China's Feng Zhe and Teng Haibin on the parallel bars. Uchimura also won gold in the all-around, and silver medals in the team event and the floor.
China again proved its depth by topping the medal table with four gold and nine medals overall, with Zhang Chenglong winning the concluding high bar event ahead of local favorite Epke Zonderland. Russia was second with Mustafina winning five of its six medals. The United States came in third, also with six medals, but only had Alicia Sacramone's gold against Mustafina's double.
Mustafina was clearly better than her rivals for most of the week, though the 5-foot-2 and 106-pound Russian felt worn down by the nine days of competition.
"It was very hard," Mustafina said. "I was no longer 100 percent on the beam. I just wanted to try."
Fatigue also showed in the concluding floor event, where she took an uncharacteristic sidestep. Yet, her jumps and leaps with unmatched elegance were enough for one last medal before going home to study.
"I was well prepared, but I was tired," she said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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