November 27, 2005

Liukin edges Memmel for second world gold medal

By Wendy Pugh

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - America's Nastia Liukin won her
latest duel with compatriot Chellsie Memmel at the world
gymnastics championships on Sunday, taking gold in the beam one
day after capturing the uneven bars title.

The 16-year-old scored 9.612 to edge out Memmel (9.512),
who also won silver in the uneven bars.

Last year's Athens Olympics gold medallist, Catalina Ponor
of Romania, took the bronze with a mark of 9.500.

The American pair have battled for gold in three events at
these championships, with Liukin edging Memmel in the last two
disciplines after losing out to her rival by 0.001 of a point
in the all around competition on Friday.

"I feel great. I know I did a good routine and knew I could
pull it off," Liukin said.

"After that it was just up to the judges."

Liukin has an opportunity to add a third gold to her medal
haul when she contests the floor final later on Sunday.

In the men's parallel bars, Slovenia's Mitja Petkovsek took
gold ahead of the defending champion Li Xiao-Peng of China.

Silver medallist in the event in 2002, Petkovsek went one
better this time after scoring 9.700, just ahead of Li (9.675)
and France's Yann Cucherat (9.662).

Romania's Marian Dragulescu won the men's vault, securing
victory with two technically difficult vaults that put behind
him disappointment of a seventh-place finish in the floor
exercise on Saturday.

Dragulescu, vault world champion four years ago, scored
9.693 to finish ahead of Poland's Leszek Blanik who scored

Romania also captured the bronze medal with Alin Sandu
Jivan scoring 9.575.

"I feel fantastic," Dragulescu said.

"I don't know what happened yesterday, it wasn't my day. I
was just going to make sure it didn't happen again. Today was a
little difficult with yesterday playing on my mind."

The championships will conclude later on Sunday with the
men's horizontal bar and the women's floor the last two titles
to be decided.