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‘Took gold from her’: Gymnastics judging row erupts as Russian star Melnikova loses title after Japanese rival’s score upgraded

‘Took gold from her’: Gymnastics judging row erupts as Russian star Melnikova loses title after Japanese rival’s score upgraded
Russian gymnastics queen Angelina Melnikova was “hugely disappointed” after being deprived of gold in the floor exercise at the World Championships in Japan, where the score for her rival Mai Murakami was revised upwards.

Melnikova clinched an historic gold medal in the women’s all-around event earlier in the week at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, ending the decade-long dominance of American athletes.

READ MORE: Gymnastics sensation Angelina Melnikova seizes on Simone Biles & Suni Lee absences to claim world crown (VIDEO)

The 21-year-old star – representing the Russian Gymnastics Federation – seemed set to add another title to her impressive collection when she sat top of the leaderboard in the floor exercise event on Sunday with a score of 14.000.

Japanese rival Murakami appeared to have fallen short when she posted 13.966, just shy of Melnikova’s tally, with America’s Leanne Wong in bronze on 13.833 for her routine.

But the Japanese team filed an appeal, feeling that the 25-year-old Murakami had been treated harshly with the scoring.

Murakami’s score was subsequently bumped up by 0.100, moving her to 14.066 and putting her ahead of Melnikova.

Meanwhile, Russian appeals regarding the judging for Melnikova were reportedly rejected.

“I’m hugely disappointed,” Melnikova told TASS.

“I’ve never in my life had problems with the turn which wasn’t counted for me. We filed a protest, but it wasn’t accepted.”

Melnikova also took to Instagram, where she suggested her first turn had not been credited.

“What they replied in response to the appeal, I won’t even say, because it was awful,” said the star.  

Speaking to Russian outlet Match TV, Melnikova added: “It bothered them [the judges] that my leg was supposed to be at a 90-degree angle, but I supposedly had my leg too low. But I’ve never had that problem before...

“Most likely, it was a moment to find fault, because for Mai Murakami it was her final event, she’s ending her career," said Melnikova of the Japanese star, who also clinched World Championship gold in the same event in Montreal in 2017. 

“This medal is important for her, it’s great that she’s ended her career as a world champion.

“I’m happy for her, but I’ll say it’s strange that they found fault with me, it’s the first time I’ve ever faced this.”


The senior coach of the Russian Artistic Gymnastics Team, Valentina Rodionenko, was likewise angered.

“The judges didn’t count this element, and our coaches promptly filed a protest, which was rejected,” Rodionenko said.

“It’s useless to prove anything now. They took gold from her, what can I say, because that unaccounted element was worth 0.100 points, which gave Melnikova the opportunity to finish first.

“I have no words after all this.”

The judging row is not the first for Russian gymnastics in recent months.

Russian rhythmic gymnastics star Dina Averina lost on out gold in the all-round final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer when she was pipped by rival Linoy Ashram despite the Israeli dropping her apparatus during her ribbon routine.

READ MORE: ‘Like doping or bribery’: Judges must’ve picked Israeli gymnast as winner BEFORE final, legendary Russian coach tells RT

The disappointment will sting for Melnikova, but she at least has the consolation of enjoying remarkably successful season.

The star clinched an Olympic gold medal in the team event in Tokyo as well as two individual bronzes, followed by her all-round World Championship gold in Kitakyushu and another bronze in the vault event, in addition to Sunday’s silver medal.

She also scooped four medals, including gold in the uneven bars, at the European Championships in Basel back in April.