Gymnastics: Yao, Liu strike gold for China

China's Yao Jinnan (left) and Liu Yang celebrate after winning the women's uneven bars final and men's rings final respectively at the gymnastics world championships in Nanning on Oct 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
China's Yao Jinnan (left) and Liu Yang celebrate after winning the women's uneven bars final and men's rings final respectively at the gymnastics world championships in Nanning on Oct 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NANNING (AFP) - Yao Jinnan and Liu Yang upset the established order, as they claimed gold for hosts China with their maiden individual titles at the world gymnastics championships on Saturday.

Yao, 19, pipped defending champion and compatriot Huang Huidan in the women's uneven bars for her first world crown, which follows her four-gold rampage at the Asian Games last month.

And Liu, 18, stunned Olympic and world champion Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti of Brazil on the men's rings in a show of strength that lifted him from last year's fourth place.

Yao, sixth on the uneven bars last year, outdid Huang in qualifying and she carried her momentum into the eight-way final at the Guangxi Gymnasium in Nanning.

As the last performer, Yao dazzled with high-level pirouetting and aerial skills and finished with a lofty double layout somersault.

She earned 15.633 points, beating 18-year-old Huang by a razor-slim 0.067 points. Russian Daria Spiridonova came in third at 15.283.

Yao won balance beam silver and team bronze at the 2011 worlds when she was also third in the all-around. But, dogged by a thigh injury, she failed to win a medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Liu, who contributed to China's men's team victory over Japan with a top rings score, outpointed the 24-year-old Zanetti in both difficulty and execution.

Liu collected 15.933 points against the Brazilian's 15.733. Another Chinese, You Hao, tied for third spot with Russia's Denis Abliazin.

In the other apparatus events, North Korea's Olympic champion Hong Un Jong won the women's vault, beating all-around champion Simone Biles of the United States into second spot.

Hungary's Olympic champion Krisztian Berki won his third world pommel horse title, following his triumphs in 2010 and 2011.

European champion Abliazin won the men's floor gold at 15.750, with defending champion Kenzo Shirai of Japan second on 15.733, after he was hit with a 0.1-point deduction for stepping out of bounds after one of his tumbling passes.

The championships close on Sunday with the remaining event-by-event finals: women's balance beam and floor exercise, and men's vault, parallel bars and high bar.