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Tweddle wins gold after favorite He falls off bars

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) - Chinese Olympic champion He Kexin flew off the uneven bars on Saturday to allow Britain’s Beth Tweddle to reclaim the gymnastics world title she won four years ago.

Elizabeth Tweddle of Britain shows her gold medal after the women's uneven bars finals at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Rotterdam October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

With a complex routine, He had been widely expected to retain her title but she shocked the crowd when she plummeted from the apparatus and landed face first on the floor.

Inconsolable, she scored a lowly 13.966 points to finish seventh, while 2006 champion Tweddle seized her chance and earned the apparatus gold with a score of 15.733.

On a day of mixed fortunes for Chinese gymnasts, Olympic champion Chen Yibing regained the rings world title after losing out last year to compatriot Yan Mingyong.

Chen kissed the metal structure of his favorite apparatus after scoring 15.900 to beat second-placed Yan’s 15.700.

In the women’s vault, American Alicia Sacramone proved a gymnastics career does not have to be short-lived.

Having retired after an error-strewn Beijing Olympics in 2008, the 22-year-old made a storming comeback to world competition, winning gold to add to her collection of silver and bronze vault medals from previous years.

“To walk away from gymnastics the way I did with so many injuries and being disheartened after the Olympics it’s nice to set my mind to something,” Sacramone, a former world champion in the floor and team events, told reporters.

“To come back and get a big reward for all the work that I have done it makes it worthwhile.”

Russia’s all-around world champion Aliya Mustafina was green with envy in her emerald-colored leotard when Sacramone outscored her 15.066 points to take the vault title with 15.200.

In other finals, Hungary’s Krisztian Berki took the pommel horse title with an exquisite routine worth 15.833, while Eleftherios Kosmidis won the men’s floor gold medal for Greece with a series of complex tumbles.

The remaining five apparatus titles will be decided on Sunday.

Editing by Sonia Oxley