The Italian Almanac

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Vanessa Ferrari

Italian News - October 20

European champion Vanessa Ferrari spoiled Chinese hopes of a title sweep at the world gymnastics championships when she snatched Italy's first ever women's world title by winning the all-around gold. The 15-year-old from Brescia fought back after a fall on her third rotation of four - the beam - to win a close-run battle with China's Pang Panpan.

The 18-year-old Pang carried a fractional 0.125 lead on Ferrari going into the final rotation but threw it away as she fell forward on her vault only to see gold disappear as she dropped to sixth position. Ferrari's last rotation, the floor, was by contrast one of her strongest.

"I felt a little sad after the fall but when I saw the scores I knew that it would be possible because I was finishing on the floor which is one of my strongest," said Ferrari. "As they say I saw a gap and overtook."

She grabbed the Italian flag and ran around the stadium waving it in delight after scoring 61.025 to finish just 0.275 ahead of American Jana Bieger (60.750) with Sandra Raluca Izbasa (60.250) giving Romania their first medal of the championship with her bronze.