England leads the team competition after the first day of qualifications at the 2014 Commonwealth Games after an exceptionally strong showing on vault.
1. England, 85.390
The lowest score the English women posted on vault was a 14.6 for Kelly Simms’ DTY, which looked clean in the air, receiving only landing deductions (her second vault – a Yurchenko half-on, half-off tucked – was disappointing in comparison, with a low landing and a hop forward). She and Claudia Fragapane, who earned a 14.641 for her own DTY, qualified 4th and 1st into vault finals, respectively, and Ruby Harrold’s own DTY rounded them off with a 14.733. Hannah Whelan also vaulted a Yurchenko 1.5, earning a 14.3 on a clean attempt, though her score did not factor into the team total in this four-up, three-count structure.
The team struggled a bit on uneven bars, beginning with some leg separations and muscled handstands from Fragapane, who took in a 13.333. She was followed by Whelan, who was nailed on her execution due to bent legs and a muscled handstand, earning just a 12.333 with a 5.1 start value. Harrold didn’t fare much better, slipping her hand on her Bhardwaj and going into a bit of a dead hang, though she finished well for a 13.4 and made it into the uneven bars final. The team was saved by Downie’s brilliant effort; the 2008 Olympian qualified first into finals with a 14.683.
At the moment, Harrold sits in second in the all-around qualification, followed by Fragapane in third and Whelan in tenth. Fragapane’s bars score was 8th best of the day, but she will miss the final due to the two-per-country rule.
2. Australia, 83.882
The Australian women sit just 1.5 points behind the English team, though largely due to a lack of vault depth rather than any major problems.
Beginning on bars, the team showed steady work, beginning with Mary-Anne Monckton’s strong opener where she displayed a tkatchev to pak, an awesome Markelov, and finished with a double layout. Her routine, out of a 5.1 SV, earned a 13.333. Olivia Vivian performed a clean routine that included a van Leeuwen, high piked Jaeger, and a double front with a small hop; her routine earned a 13.8 with a 5.6 SV. Larrissa Miller opened with a Ricna to Gienger, both with fantastic amplitude, and continued with a lovely Jaeger, perfect bail, and a big full-twisting double back. It was a gorgeous routine, earning a 14.433 with a 6.1 SV. Finally, Georgia Rose Brown competed a Maloney to Gienger, a Jaeger (caught close), a stunning bail, and a double front with the tiniest of hops, bringing in a 14.083 with a 5.7 SV.
Lauren Mitchell, who is apparently dealing with an injured shoulder, vaulted just a Yurchenko layout for a 13.433. She was followed by Monckton’s FTY, which got some good height and landed dead on the line, earning a 14. Brown also competed a Yurchenko full, picking up a 14.133 for her clean effort (though she did hop back on the landing). The throwaway score came from anchor Vivian, who received a 12.533 on her Yurchenko layout, which was a bit piked and landed off-center.
Brown qualified 6th into vault finals, and though all four women were among the top seven on bars, only Miller and Brown (who qualified 2nd and 3rd, respectively) can compete due to the two-per-country rule; unfortunately Vivian, who qualified in 4th, misses out by just under three tenths. At the moment, Brown is leading the all-around with Monckton in 6th and Vivian in 12th.
3. Wales, 81.398
Yes, Wales is currently in third place, standing 1.666 points in front of Canada, who are favored to place in the top three. Though Canada generally does well on beam and floor and can make up the gap, I can see the Welsh team putting up a huge fight to hold onto this victory.
The team performed consistently on vault, counting a 13.766 from Jessica Hogg, a 13.866 from Raer Theaker, and a 13.9 from Elizabeth Beddoe. They also remained steady on bars, counting a 13.033 from Angel Romaeo in addition to Theaker’s 13.3 and Beddoe’s 13.533.
Both Beddoe and Theaker qualified to uneven bars finals (in 4th and 7th, respectively). Additionally, Beddoe is currently 5th in the all-around standings, followed by Theaker in 8th and Georgina Hockenhull in 13th.
4. Canada, 79.732
Though the Canadians started well on vault, they unfortunately had a meltdown on bars with two falls and a dead hang in addition to form breaks plaguing their routines.
Stephanie Merkle got things started off nicely on vault with a lovely FTY, landed dead center with her chest up and only a small hop, earning a 14.066. Isabela Onyshko followed with an FTY of her own, though hers wasn’t quite as high and she took a step on the landing for a 13.9. Maegan Chant competed two vaults, including a handspring layout half that had almost no block and looked a bit piked, though she did contribute a 14.0 to the team. Ellie Black concluded the rotation with a Tsuk 1.5 as one of her two vaults; her knees were a bit bent and her landing was deep, but she brought in a 14.233, helping them to the second highest team vault score of the day.
Unfortunately things took off on a bad note on bars, with last-minute replacement Victoria Woo earning just a 10.8 after falling on her bail. She did perform a lovely toe-on full pirouette right on top of the bar and her Jaeger looked nice, but struggled overall – she lost her legs on her Maloney, got caught in a bit of a dead hang on the shoot up, and let go a tad early on her DLO, causing her to take a large step forward. Onyshko came second, earning an 11.4 after face planting on her Hindorff; her pak salto also looked practically tucked, she had a small form break in her van Leeuwen, and she took a sizable hop on her double front half-out.
Black pulled things back together, earning the team’s best bars score of 13.333. She competed a beautiful Shang, a Jaeger to pak salto with only a small form break, and a stunning Moors dismount to cap off a relatively solid routine. Chant then finished things off, earning a 12.7 on what was mostly a strong routine, though her shoot up did go a bit dead. Still, she had a stunning handstand to a lovely high Tkatchev, a nice bail to a perfect toe-on full pirouette, and a huge full-twisting double back.
The Canadians placed Black in 2nd and Chant in 5th in vault finals, while Black qualified 6th into the bars final. Black is also currently 4th in the all-around standings, followed by Chant in 9th and Onyshko in 20th.
5. South Africa, 78.765
The South African team qualifying less than a point behind Canada is an incredible feat, especially as the team has only three athletes, making it so all of their scores must count.
Kirsten Beckett had an especially incredible day, qualifying 3rd into the vault final with a 14.0 and currently sitting in 7th in the all-around standings. She also made the uneven bars final by the skin of her teeth, qualifying 8th with a 12.966 as a beneficiary of the two-per-country rule (she is 12th without the rule).
Additionally, Claudia Cummins is currently 14th while Bianca Mann is 18th in the all-around standings.
6. Scotland, 77.497
The Scottish team qualified Emma White into the 8th place spot in vault finals. Her attempt included a strong FTY, which earned a 14.033 for its height and precise landing. Amy Regan just missed out on the vault final by about a half tenth, finishing 9th after competing a nice FTY and a handspring front pike.
The host team currently has three all-around contenders, including White (11th), Regan (16th), and 16-year-old first-year senior Erin McLachlan (21st).
7. New Zealand, 76.597
The young kiwi team is without star vaulter Courtney McGregor due to injury and they only had Anna Tempero competing on bars due to a knee infection requiring surgery last week, but I’d say they competed admirably and I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish in the future.
Even without McGregor and with just three vaulters, the team’s vault rotation was about on par with most of the other top teams there, including Australia and Wales. Charlotte Sullivan earned a 13.8 for her clean Yurchenko half while Brittany Robertson brought in a 13.966 for her FTY (which was nice in the air but slightly piked on the landing).
As if the kiwis haven’t dealt with enough this past week, Mackenzie Slee (who has been dealing with an injured toe this week) may have injured herself slightly more in warmups today, vaulted through her literal tears. She hit her FTY with bent knees and a slightly off-center landing for a 13.466, and despite the pain, she still attempted a second vault. She placed 13th in vault qualifications, missing finals by roughly half a point.
Bars is not a high-difficulty event for this team, though they compete beautifully. Robertson earned the high score of 11.866 (she had a few form breaks and a dead hang on her toe shoot but her toe-on half was nice), Sullivan was close behind with an 11.766 (such a clean routine aside from the bent knees on her Tkatchev; her pak and double pike dismount were both lovely), and Tempero finished with an 11.733 (where she showed off stunning work, lovely lines, and a strong double pike dismount).
Currently, Robertson is 15th and Sullivan is 18th in the all-around standings.
India’s Dipa Karmakar qualified 7th into vault finals, earning a 13.2 and 14.4 for an overall total of 13.8 – quite an improvement from her efforts in New Delhi four years earlier!
Malaysia’s Farah Ann Abdul Hadi displayed two clean vaults, including an FTY for a 13.933, placing 12th on vault. Her bars difficulty is quite low, but she is gorgeous on the event, and showed off a lovely pak salto and nice high Tkatchev for an 11.7 finish. She is a gorgeous athlete and the commentators couldn’t stop comparing her lines to Nastia Liukin’s! At the moment, she is 17th in the all-around standings. She seemed to have hurt her hip after landing her FTY, so we hope she is okay and can continue her strong performance tomorrow!
Finally, Singapore currently has three athletes with all-around final potential, including the country’s first Olympian Heem Wei Lim (22nd) and the adorable 15-year-olds Ashly Lau (23rd) and Janessa Dai (24th).
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Article by Lauren Hopkins
Special Thanks to Fran Elsner and Warrior-Skyscraper
Screen Grabs Thanks to Wats-Good-Gabby