The women’s artistic gymnastics competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games began in Nanjing, China today with the first qualification subdivision.
The day wasn’t without its problems, both for the competitors and on the technical side, as there seemed to be an issue with the computer system on the balance beam, causing a delay of several minutes between the end of one routine and the beginning of another.
Ellie Downie of Great Britain, one of the favorites for a podium finish in the all-around and several event finals, began her day with a rough patch on bars. She seemed unable to get into her swing, eventually muscling a handstand on her giant full before hopping off to rechalk. The rest of her routine had some form breaks, but she finished with a strong double layout, earning an 11.6, which will unfortunately keep her out of the final.
Downie picked things up on beam with a wobbly yet hit routine featuring a great 2.5 dismount for a 13.5, the highest score on that apparatus in the early session. On floor she opened with a fantastic piked double arabian, and then took a slight step out of bounds on her 1.5 through to 2.5. She finished with a clean tucked double arabian and double back, bringing in another 13.5. She finished her day on vault, where she did both an absolutely fantastic DTY to earn a huge 14.9. Her second vault was a clean Yurchenko half-on, front pike half-off out of a 5.6, earning a 14.15 for an average of 14.525.
Japan’s Sae Miyakawa began with a clean but easy bar routine, competing some lovely stalder skills, a high piked Jaeger, and a near-stuck double layout for a 12.85. She unfortunately had a long wait before beam, and though her routine was mostly steady, she fell on her difficult roundoff layout series before hitting a solid double pike dismount for a 12.0. Floor, where she was expected to compete well in the final, started with two falls, on her front layout to tucked double front and then on her 1.5 to front double full. She hit a strong double layout for her last pass, but only managed an 11.3. On vault, she began with a DTY that looked good in the air (though her chest was down in the landing) to earn a 14.75; her second vault was a fantastic handspring front layout half, earning a 13.95 to average 14.35.
A surprise of the day was Kazakhstan’s Arailym Khanseiitova, who showcased tremendous artistry throughout her beam and floor performances. On beam, she had an incredible mount featuring fantastic flexibility, and then competed a full turn in scorpion position and an Onodi in addition to some gorgeous leaps and jumps. She was equally lovely to watch on floor, where her tumbling was easy but again, her leaps and expression were one of the highlights of the session. Can we vote for a Longines elegance award here?!
Also a nice surprise was Singapore’s Nadine Joy Nathan, who had an unfortunate form break on bars but competed a nice Gienger and an absolutely gorgeous half-in double tuck dismount for an 11.15. Her beam was steady for a 12.3, and she competed a clean double full to stag and 1.5 to front tuck on floor along with a nice, expressive performance for a 12.375. Her Yurchenko full on vault had a hopped landing, but it was nice in the air and was good for someone not a vaulter, bringing her a 13.5.
Several athletes competed two vaults in an attempt to qualify to finals, counting the first toward their all-around scores. Paola Moreira Irizarry of Puerto Rico really impressed me here; she had a deep landing on her Tsuk full but looked nice on her low difficulty Yurchenko layout, averaging a 13.3. She also looked fantastic on floor, with powerful tumbling and a fun routine. Boglarka Devai of Hungary also had a pair of strong vaults, averaging a 13.775.
One of the vault final hopefuls, Iraq’s Fatimah Saadi al-Tameemi, performed a layout Tsuk (credited as a pike) to start, but on her second vault, went for her roundoff a bit too soon, doing her handspring back into the table. Thankfully, she was able to stop herself before she could be injured, but she looked quite upset, especially when she received her score of a 0.
1. Ellie Downie, Great Britain, 53.500
2. Sae Miyakawa, Japan, 50.900
3. Nadine Joy Nathan, Singapore, 49.325
4. Boglarka Devai, Hungary, 48.900
5. Paola Moreira Irizarry, Puerto Rico, 47.800
6. Arailym Khanseiitova, Kazakhstan, 47.450
7. Sara Raposeiro, Portugal, 46.275
8. Mammule Rankoe, South Africa, 44.600
9. Hana Park, South Korea, 43.725
10. Ana Karina Mendez Reyes, Peru, 43.625
11. Maria Monica Sileoni, Finland, 43.600
12. Morgan Lloyd, Cayman Island, 41.250
13. Fatimah Saadi Al-Tameemi, Iraq, 39.950
14. Ahlem Mokhtari, Algeria, 33.125
The qualifications will continue with two more subdivisions before qualifiers will place into the all-around and apparatus finals. As it looks now, Ellie Downie leads the vault final with an average of 14.525, Miyakawa leads bars with a 12.85, and Downie leads beam and floor with a 13.5 on both.
Article by Lauren Hopkins