Patras, 18-Apr-2002

Junior Team Competition: Russia flips, Spain flops

From Patras: Nora Schuler/gymmedia 

In the first subdivision of the day the Greek juniors were very impressive with good technique and execution to go with their difficulty. 

<< Stefani Bismpikou lead the effort with a 35,623 who vaulted a nice Yurchenko with 1 ½ twists.She picked up her highest score on bars with a 9,162. Team mate Sophia Tsegeli suffered a disaster on bars with two falls but managed a 32,768 nonetheless. The team performances were closely watched by Russian head coach Leonid Arkayev, who consults the Greek national team.

The German junior team competed very well on three apparatus with a particularly good showing on floor where Nina Werries, younger sister of 1997 Worlds competitor Anke, snatched the team’s highest score of 8,525 here for a routine that opened with a triple twist. The team was set for a secure second place behind Greece after subdivision three, but came to grief on bars when Heike Gunne fell and Melanie Ferber had to insert two extra swings. Two scores in the sevens dropped them behind Hungary.  

The final subdivision had all the top teams together, seeded according to their placings 1 through 8 at the 2000 Europeans. Russia started confidently on vault with Gulnara Ziganshina, Yelena Anokhina and Anna Pavlova all landing their vaults well. But Romania topped them with a strong effort – nice double twisting Yurchenko from Monica Rosu. Beam was a nightmare for the Spanish girls with Melodi Pulgarin falling three times and Patricia Moreno once. France and the Netherlands competed well on bars while Ukraine struggled on beam with Inna Teslenko sitting down her dismount. Itlay got off to a good start but Marika Pestrin fell twice.  

In the second rotation, Yelena Anoshina showed a great bars routine with a Tkachev and a Pak to stalder. 

Anna Pavlova followed suit, nailing her double layout dismount after a strong set. Last up Polina Miller missed her opening combination and fell on her dismount and was lucky to score a 8,8. Romania lost ground on bars with Floarea Leonida coming off on her Tkachev and generally lower start values than the Russians. The French gymnasts competed their difficult beam sets well to stay in the medal mix while the Dutch girls struggled a little with Berber van den Berg having a few wobbles.

Anna Pavlova (RUS) >>

Ukraine’s Mirabella Akhunu got the crowd going with an entertaining floor routine, but stepped out of bounds on a 2 ½ twist. Spain’s disasters continued with another fall on floor from Pulgarin. Itlay vaulted confidently to keep in the mix.

The third rotation saw strong beam efforts for Russia from Yelena Anoshina (solid standing Arabian) and Anna Pavlova, but Polina Miller struggled to bring her dismount round. Alexandra Eremia showed an original planche mount and a Rulfova to get the Romanians started on beam. Iuliana Chindea ended up under the beam after a combination of front tuck to Korbut but dismounted with a double pike. 

Floarea Leonida picked up the slack with a good routine that included a ff to full-twisting back tuck. Over on floor the French were continuing their climb towards a medal with Soraya Chaouch opening with a whip to tucked full-in. Berber van den Berg went out of bounds on her opening piked full-in and had a very low landing on her dismount. Ukraine’s vaulting was topped by Mirabella Akhunu’s lovely handspring front layout.

 Russia finished off on floor capped by a good performance from Anna Pavlova after Maria Kryuchkova had struggled on some her landings and twists but it would be enough to secure the title Lead by clutch performances from Florea Leonida ( full-in; 2 ½ twists to punch front full; double pike and triple twist) an  Alexandra Eremia (full-in; whip to triple twist; 2 ½ twist punch front and double pike).

<< Floarea Leonida (ROM)

The Netherlands gained some momentum with strong vaulting, anchored by van den Berg’s 1 ½ twisting Yurchenko. France finished a delighted third after low start values on their well executed vaults kept them behind Romania in the end. Ukraine did well on bars with a super routine from Alina Kozich but it wasn’t enough for a medal. Spain crumbled all the way to eleventh.

Pavlova leads the all around standings ahead of Leonida and Kozich. The latter is a small surprise since Ukrainian head coach Viktor Lutayenko had been planning to compete the 14-year-old on bars and beam only less than four hours before the competition started. “Alina injured her knee on floor doing a double front before we left Ukraine,” he explained.

Senior news (Team competition, tomorrow, Friday, April, the 19th)

Olympic vault and floor champion Yelena Zamolodchikova will compete vault only in tomorrow’s  senior team competition. “I’m not feeling very well,” she said after training today, “and will unfortunately do vault only for the team.” Team mate Svetlana Khorkina says she plans to take today to rest and will not think about the competition until tomorrow. “We’re going to have a rest now and tomorrow we’ll see.”

Ukraine will most likely compete only one gymnast on all events – Alyona Kvasha. “Natalia Sirobaba will sit out bars and Irina Yarodskaya can only do bars and beam due to her ankle injury. It’s an old injury but it still hurts,” head coach Lutayenko said.  

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Patras, 17-Apr-2002 First Impressions: Elite Podium Training

From Patras: Nora Schuler/gymmedia 

Sunny skies greeted the competitors in Patras after two days of rain as the continent’s best seniors took the opportunity to test the arena in podium training.

Yevgenia Kuznetsova (BUL)

In the first subdivision, the Dutch team attracted most of the attention with very solid performances on floor and vault. 

They had a few jitters on beam and bars where Renske Endel showed a new piked stalder. Yevgenia Kuznetsova looked strong and motivated for Bulgaria. The two German gymnasts suffered mixed emotions. Yvonne Musik showed four solid routines with no big breaks while her team mate Camilla Ermert struggled.
Spain used only three gymnasts – Elena Gomez, Alba Planas and Marta Cusido – in podium training. Gomez was strong and precise on all pieces and looks to be a contender for individual medals. Planas took a nasty fall on her bars dismount and struggled on floor. Marta Cusido’s right leg is heavily taped from ankle to knee, which resulted in problems on floor and vault.

The sole Romanian Oana Petrovschi got constant tips from the sidelines from Octavian Belu and went through her training well but with no apparent highlight.

Russia demonstrated their ambitions with a strong set of routines and has brought Yekaterina Shuster in addition to the five gymnasts listed on the roster. Khorkina looked confident enough to leave out the last two tumbling runs of her new floor routine. 

Elena Gomez (ESP)

Natalia Ziganschina is in good shape as well whereas as Yelena Zamolodchikova did vault and floor only and had a disaster on the latter. 

Ukraine had problems on vault where only Natalia Gorodni looked good but was solid on beam. All gymnasts seemed uninspired on floor. Irina Yarodskaya sat out vault and floor.

Italy left Adriana Crisci at home but made a favourable impression with two strong additions to the team in Ilaria Colombo and Gargano and a good showing on all four pieces and could surprise after not having a team at last year’s World Championships.

The French had difficulties mastering their ambitious programme on beam but tumbled well and showed interesting choreography on floor.

Many delegations complained about the long and strenuous transfer from Athens and some coaches are not totally happy with the apparatus, especially the bars and the floor, where the pile is too deep.

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