Patras, 20-Apr-2002

Junior AA : Pavlova Wins 

From Patras: Nora Schuler (GER); Photos by Massimo Cogliati (ITA)

Europe’s 24 best juniors competed for the title of the European Junior Champion. The revised start list offered a surprise – France’s Emilie Lepennec, who had qualified in fourth position, had been withdrawn and Jessica Wagner of Sweden had taken her place. According to Emilie, she is not injured and will compete in the finals tomorrow.

Anna Pvalova, the big favourite on paper, lived up to her reputation on vault with two strong double twisting Yurchenkos  The juniors competed two vaults each and the scores were averaged. They are allowed to compete the same vault twice. Floarea Leonida vaulted a pair of handspring front pikes, the first one a bit short. Yelena Anoshina moved ahead of her with a full twisting ff on, back pike off. Ukraine’s Alina Kozich started her competition well with a nice 1 ˝ twisting Yurchenko but had to stagger back after a low landing. Berber van den Berg swung a dynamic bars set to stake her claim. Mirabella Akhunu (UKR) fell on bars twice, and Spains’s string of disappointments continued with both their gymnasts coming off bars: Lenika De Simone couldn’t catch her Jaeger and Patricia Moreno came to a sit after her Pak salto. Marika Pestrin of Italy showed good form and a stuck full-in dismount.

<< (Photo):Pavlova remained in the lead after a superb bars set without the hint of a mistake (Jaeger, Tkachev, double layout dismount). Anoshina showed a huge piked Jaeger and nailed her full-in dismount to stay on track for a medal. Leonida stayed on their heels with a set that included a 1/12 pirouette to Tkachev and ended with a full-in. She may have lacked polish but fought all the way. Van den Berg survived beam well despite a wobble on her ff-layout sequence.  Kozich easily showed the best bars routine of the competition with exceptional flow and a 10 start value. Stefani Bismpikou matched Kozich on start value but not in execution to keep hot on the heels of the top gymnasts.  

The nerves started showing on beam as first Alina Kozich nearly fell on a side somi. Then Anoshina fell on her standing Arabian after what had been promising to be a great set.  Home girl Bismpikou came to grief on her RO layout mount. Pavlova stayed on the beam but had a few crisis points of her own with a wobble on her front aerial to side somi and a broken combination on the full-twisting ff to Onodi. Leonida was secure in her ff to full-twisting back tuck but had to take a side step on her dismount. Meanwhile, over on floor van den Berg tumbled with confidence with a rock solid piked full-in opening and danced well.

Pavlova regained her composure with a good showing on floor (nailed tucked full-inmount), enough to take the title. Anoshina lost some ground in her classic ballet routine with a start value of only 9,4 and suffered a low landing on her tucked full-in mount. Leonida took advantage of this and slipped into the silver medal position with a strong showing – tucked full-in; 2 ˝ twist to punch front full; double piked and triple twist. Van den Berg’s soaring 1 ˝ twisting Yurchenkos were landed very well and helped her to fifth place. Bismpikou was very solid and loudly cheered by the crowd to lift her all the well to sixth place. In the final routine of the competition, Alina Kozich still had the chance of a bronze. Still nursing an injured knee, she tumbled a handspring double front in her second pass but could only manage a double twist to finish, leaving her in fourth.

Germany’s Heike Gunne started with a fall on beam on her front tuck but recovered quickly to compete solidly on the other three pieces, scoring particularly well on vault where she landed her handspring front pike very well.

former reports
(junior team final)