While we were busy with P&G Championships and the Youth Olympic Games all week, the 2014 German National Championships in Stuttgart, Germany quietly slipped by. Held between August 23 and August 24, a field of 22 German women contended for titles in addition to showing off what they have to offer the 2014 World Championship team.
Kim Bui became the all-around champion at the age of 25, while also picking up a gold medal on floor for her powerful routine. Pauline Schäfer was the gold winner on vault and beam while Lisa Katharina Hill took home uneven bars gold.
The event was without superstar Elisabeth Seitz, unfortunately, after she injured her foot last week. Seitz dealt with an elbow injury earlier in the year, though looked ready to contend for a spot on the World Championships team until becoming sidelined once again, just six weeks before competition is set to begin in China.
Also out due to injury was Nadine Jarosch, who suffered an ACL rupture in her right knee while attempting to land her full-in uneven bars dismount at a national team training camp in Frankfurt last month. This is the second time Jarosch has dealt with an ACL injury, having first ruptured it at podium training before last year’s German Championships.
Bui’s title win came somewhat easily after so many mistakes occurred from others throughout the day. Ahead of the competition by about a point and a half, Bui hit all four of her routines to earn a 56.55. Her handspring layout half on vault earned a solid 14.2 and she hit a solid – and difficult – uneven bars routine for a 14.4 to start.
Her beam had some mistakes and earned only a 13.55 with a 5.7 start value, but her mount was incredible – she does a roundoff onto the springboard followed by a loso onto the beam connected to a second loso immediately following the first! She had a wobble there, but definitely wins the prize for best mount.
Her floor was her best routine of the day, including a big double layout to start, a whip to double back, a 2.5 to punch front pike, and stuck double pike to finish. A fantastic outing, but a shame about that music and choreography. The saxophone reminds me of the song that plays while the “Saved by the Bell” gang competes in a dance-off at the Max…you know, when Screech invents a dance move called “The Sprain” because Lisa has to hop around on crutches after spraining her ankle when she kicks the TV upon finding out her nail polish has been discontinued? Yeah, that one.
The silver medal went to Schäfer, who hit a gorgeous FTY on vault for a 14.35. After earning a 13.2 on the uneven bars, she moved to beam, where she unfortunately fell. However, it was on her awesome side somi with a half twist, so I forgive her! I also love her aerial to side somi combination. She earned a 13.6 even with the fall.
Finally, though her floor was relatively easy, it was very clean, and earned a 13.95. I love her front handspring to tucked double front. She finished her day with a solid 55.1.
Hill earned the bronze medal with a 54.45. Though her overall difficulty is low, she has huge difficulty on the uneven bars – 6.5 if she hits all skills. Unfortunately, in the all-around competition she had a somewhat messy routine and then arched over on a handstand before hopping off to bring in just a 13.35 with a 6.3 start value. But still, it’s an incredibly ambitious routine…the Weiler half to Chow to Bhardwaj is a killer combination!
Rounding out the top six were Cagla Akyol with a 54.25, Janine Berger with a 53.75, and Sophie Scheder with a 53.6. Akyol had a steady – albeit messy – day, hitting a decent FTY on vault but showing issues with form elsewhere. Her beam was done well, but her bars technique is lacking and she landed her whip whip through to double back out of bounds on floor.
Berger impressed with a strong Rudi on vault to earn a 14.85, but showed weak difficulty on beam and floor, earning just a 12.2 on beam after falling on her bhs loso and then bringing in just a 13.2 on floor exercise. Scheder had a lovely FTY on vault and hit a mostly strong bars routine for a 14.65. Unfortunately, she too fell on her bhs loso on beam, and then landed her 2.5 on floor on her hands and knees.
Also, shoutout to whoever in the background is using the Rocky soundtrack on floor!
1. Kim Bui, MTV 1843 Stuttgart, 56.550
2. Pauline Schäfer, TV Pflugscheid-Hixberg, 55.100
3. Lisa Katharina Hill, MTV 1843 Stuttgart, 54.450
4. Cagla Akyol, KTG Heidelberg, 54.250
5. Janine Berger, SSV Ulm 1846, 53.750
6. Sophie Scheder, TuS Chemnitz-Altendorf, 53.600
7. Sarina Maier, TB Neckarhausen, 50.100
8. Nadja Schulze, SV Halle, 50.100
9. Maike Roll, TSV Grötzingen, 49.600
10. Michelle Timm, Sportclub Berlin, 49.450
11. Marlene Bindig, Dressdner SC 1898, 49.350
12. Dorothee Henzler, VfL Kirchheim unter Teck, 48.950
13. Nicole Fritz, Heidenheimer Sportbund, 47.200
14. Toska Markgraf, TV Planegg Krailling, 47.150
15. Christina Kuhn, TSG Ffm.-Oberrad 1872, 45.250
16. Annika Göttler, SSV Ulm 1846, 44.550
17. Marleen Sophie Leveringhaus, TG Söllingen, 44.350
18. Natalie Wolfgang, SSV Ulm 1846, 44.250
19. Finja Säfken, VfL Eintract Hannover 1848, 44.150
20. Annabelle Hölzer, TuG Leipzig, 33.700
21. Jannika Greber, SSV Ulm 1846, 20.850
22. Janine Woeste, KTV Dortmund 1986, 11.550
1. Gaya Giladi, Israel, 46.450
Berger was expected to run away with the vault title here. After hitting a fantastic Rudi for a high 15.133, she went for her Tsuk double full – apparently against the wishes of her coach. She landed poorly and ruptured the ACL in her left knee – the same injury she sustained last year at La Roche-Sur-Yon.
Though she was rushed out of the arena, she still managed to win silver with a 14.166 combined score. Schäfer took gold with a 14.483 after completing an absolutely lovely FTY along with a handspring layout half. Bui earned bronze with a 14.150 and Timm came fourth with a 14.049 after performing the same vaults as seen from Schäfer.
1. Pauline Schäfer, 14.4 (5.0 / 9.4), 14.566 (5.4 / 9.166) = 14.483
2. Janine Berger, 15.133 (6.2 / 8.933), 13.2 (6.0 / 7.5) = 14.166
3. Kim Bui, 14.233 (5.4 / 8.833), 14.066 (5.0 / 9.066) = 14.150
4. Michelle Timm, 14.133 (5.4 / 8.733), 13.966 (5.0 / 8.966) = 14.049
5. Dorothee Henzler, 13.666 (5.2 / 8.566), 13.733 (4.6 / 9.133) = 13.700
6. Nicole Fritz, 12.933 (5.0 / 8.233), 13.133 (4.6 / 8.533) = 13.033
Hill thankfully hit her incredible bar routine with no major problems, earning a 14.666 to edge out Bui by just 0.033 for the title. Both put in incredibly solid performances and could be dark horse hopefuls for a Worlds team final if they hit there in qualifications. Scheder unfortunately had problems, but still managed a bronze with a score of 13.533.
Uneven Bars Results
1. Lisa Katharina Hill, 6.5 / 8.166, 14.666
2. Kim Bui, 6.0 / 8.633, 14.633
3. Sophie Scheder, 6.0 / 7.533, 13.533
4. Sarina Maier, 5.3 / 8.0, 13.300
5. Cagla Akyol, 5.7 / 7.133, 12.833
6. Pauline Schäfer, 4.8 / 7.833, 12.633
Schäfer came back from a weak bars set to win gold on beam, despite not having the best routine. She didn’t fall, but did miss some connections to earn a 13.4 for the title. Maike Roll came in for a surprise silver medal, taking advantage of the mistakes from others for a performance that showed great amplitude on leaps and jumps, but little wobbles on many skills for a 13.333. In third was Akyol with a 13.200.
Balance Beam Results
1. Pauline Schäfer, 5.8 / 7.6, 13.400
2. Maike Roll, 5.5 / 7.833, 13.333
3. Cagla Akyol, 5.9 / 7.3, 13.200
4. Nadja Schulze, 5.3 / 7.8, 13.100
5. Kim Bui, 5.6 / 6.966, 12.566
6. Lisa Katharina Hill, 4.9 / 6.066, 10.966
Bui, who fell on the beam event final, won floor with a massive 14.833. The audience clapped along with the music as she landed a huge double layout right into the corner of the mat, finishing with 9.0 or better execution scores from all but one judge, who awarded an 8.8. Schäefer came second with a clean – if not as electric or difficult – routine that earned a 14.266. In the bronze position was Marlene Bindig, who earned a 12.733 for a relatively simple exercise during which she landed one pass out of bounds.
Floor Exercise Final
1. Kim Bui, 5.8 / 9.033, 14.833
2. Pauline Schäfer, 5.3 / 8.966, 14.266
3. Marlene Bindig, 4.9 / 8.133 / -0.3, 12.733
4. Maike Roll, 4.0 / 8.466, 12.466
5. Cagla Akyol, 5.5 / 7.1 / -0.4, 12.200
6. Nadja Schulze, 4.8 / 6.7, 11.500
The loss of Seitz, Jarosch, and Berger due to injury puts the German team at a major disadvantage, though I think the core group of Bui, Scheder, Hill, Schäfer, and Akyol could still perform well.
Berger was really only expected to be a major contributor in team finals on vault, where she also had a shot at the event finals podium. Though Germany has lost their biggest hope for a medal in her absence, they’re not at a total loss. Timm, who placed fourth in the vault final, doesn’t quite make up for the lack of Berger’s huge start values. However, if she can land her handspring layout half nicely, she could easily put up a solid score to help out in qualifications and possibly even in team finals, as only Bui and Schäfer now have vaults ranked higher than an FTY.
They won’t have the easiest time fighting for a spot in team finals, but if everyone hits consistently, they’ll show up in China with five all-arounders hitting in the mid-54 to mid-56 range plus one vault specialist to step in on an overall low-difficulty event for the German team.
I bet they’re wishing Chuso would come back right about now, huh?
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photo thanks to Deutscher Turner-Bund