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Simone Biles clinches 21st world title in women's all-around final

Simone Biles clinches 21st world title in women's all-around final
© Reuters
The USA's Simone Biles wins a record-extending 21st gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in the women's all-around final.

The USA's Simone Biles stole the show in Antwerp as she won her 21st World Artistic Gymnastics Championships gold medal in the women's all-around exercise.

Ten years on from winning her first-ever world title, the 26-year-old added to her glittering medal haul with a total of 58.399 after four pieces of apparatus to win her sixth world all-around crown.

Despite an uncharacteristic stumble on her otherwise exceptional floor routine, Biles finished over 1.500 marks clear of silver medallist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, the all-around champion from 2022.

Biles's compatriot Shilese Jones scored 56.332 to finish in third place, having also been left to rue a couple of errors on floor, while China's Qiu Qiyuan was the trio's closest challenger, ending up in fourth with 54.799.

On the back of her lengthy hiatus from the sport and well-documented mental health wobbles, Biles had already clinched world title number 20 in the women's team final before taking to the stage for the all-around, which she unsurprisingly qualified for in first place.

The four-time Olympic champion was the only gymnast on the day to score higher than 15.000 on vault, achieving a staggering 9.500 on execution for her yurchenko half on to 1.5 twisting straight somersault, but a 14.333 on bars was only the sixth-highest score of the night.

Alice Kinsella pictured on October 6, 2023© Reuters

Nevertheless, Biles nailed her full-twisting double back dismount on beam for a 14.433, before heading to floor needing just 12.900 to finish atop the leaderboard, and in quintessential fashion, the American wowed the crowd with a series of terrific tumbles.

Competing one of her eponymous skills named the Biles - a double straight back somersault with a half twist - Biles survived a heart-in-mouth moment when she tripped as she geared up for a leap series, but she managed to steady herself and could afford a wry smile as she continued.

A 14.533 on the floor confirmed Biles's status as the world's best, while Great Britain were represented by Alice Kinsella and Ondine Achampong following Jessica Gadirova's late withdrawal.

British Gymnastics announced that Gadirova - who was expected to challenge for a medal after winning bronze in 2022 - was forced to pull out for precautionary reasons, and reserve Kinsella learned that she would be competing in the final just 20 minutes before the competition commenced.

In spite of her lack of preparation, Kinsella went clean and finished in a respectable seventh place with a total of 54.032, while Achampong - who achieved the fourth-highest vault score and fifth-highest beam total - was 13th with 52.966.

Saturday sees the start of the individual apparatus finals, including the men's pommel horse, floor and rings, while medals will also be handed out in the women's uneven bars and vault competitions.

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