Wei Xiaoyuan retains bars title as McClenaghan wins Ireland's first world gymnastics gold

China's Wei Xiaoyuan retained the uneven bars title at the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool on Saturday against a high-class field including Olympic champion Nina Derwael.

Many leading competitors had been absent when Wei, now 18, triumphed in Kitakyushu last year.

But Wei proved that success was no fluke as she inflicted Belgium star Derwael's first defeat at a World Championships since 2017.

Wei gave China their first women's gold medal in Liverpool with a winning score of 14.966.

Shilese Jones of the United States, the all-around silver medallist, was second on 14.766 and Derwael third on 14.700.

"I am super happy, especially that I managed to stick my dismount today," said Wei.

The teenager added: "Defending the title will boost my confidence for the whole of the Paris Olympic cycle. I have high hopes of winning gold again in Paris 2024."

In the men's competition, 23-year-old Rhys McClenaghan won Ireland's first world gymnastics gold by taking the pommel horse title three years after his bronze in Stuttgart.

"This has been a long time coming," he said. "It has been a difficult year but I'm glad I could finish it off with my greatest achievement ever."

Ahmad Abu Al Soud's silver in a landmark final was Jordan's first of any colour at a World Artistic Gymnastics Championships while 38-year-old Harutyun Merdinyan became the oldest medallist in the competition's history by taking bronze.

Britain's Giarnni Regini-Moran put years of injury misery behind him by winning the men's floor gold medal.

As a 17-year-old, Regini-Moran had major surgery after damaging knee ligaments in a training accident.

But on Saturday he became only the fourth British artistic gymnast after Beth Tweddle, Max Whitlock and Joe Fraser to win a world title.

Regini-Moran, 24, excelled while executing the joint-most difficult routine attempted by any gymnast in the final, with his score of 14.533 enough to edge out Japan's Daiki Hashimoto, who won all-around gold on Friday, by 0.33 points.

"I'm lost for words," said Regini-Moran, the son of an Irish father and Italian mother.

"There were so many times when I almost gave up and threw in the towel. I lost that self-belief -- you can let this stuff get you down and be negative about it, but you have to believe in yourself."

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