Russia won the first edition of the Four Nation Trophy in Turin, Italy over the weekend with a team score of 224.850, defeating Italy in second place with a 218.000, Romania in third with a 215.650, and Colombia in fourth with a 207.650.
The all-around podium was a Russian sweep. Seda Tutkhalyan was the best all-arounder of the meet with a score of 57.400, ahead of Angelina Melnikova in second with a 55.800 and Anastasia Dmitrieva, who won bronze with a 54.950.
The 2014 Youth Olympic all-around champion Tutkhalyan hit four events out of four, which is a big deal for her. She posted her best score on vault, where her DTY – despite being a bit tucked in the air and hopping on the landing – was worth a 14.85. On bars, she earned a 14.2, while on beam, she delivered a huge 6.5 d-score routine, which featured a roundoff to layout, a split jump (which she likely wants to connect to the layout but missed this time around), a switch ring (balance check), roundoff to layout full (another wobble there), a front aerial with a wobble that caused her to miss the connection to the sheep jump, a sissone to wolf jump (wobble again), a switch to switch half, full turn, and a double pike dismount, taking a step back on the landing. Even though this wasn’t a necessarily clean routine, her huge difficulty brought her to a 14.5.
Finally, on floor she opened her routine with a Memmel turn, though she stumbled out of it, before performing a huge first tumbling pass, featuring a whip whip through to piked full-in, landed with just a tiny hop. She went on to compete a 1.5 to front handspring (a bit bizarre!), a 1.5 to layout full to stag jump, and then finally a double pike with a step back for a score of 13.85.
These scores, especially if compared to those of her competition for the final European Games spot (Evgeniya Shelgunova and Maria Kharenkova) show why Tutkhalyan was chosen. Kharenkova can outscore her on beam (though Tutkhalyan can come close with a hit set) and potentially on bars, but they earn similar scores on floor, and on top of that Tutkhalyan has a relatively consistent DTY compared to Kharenkova’s FTY.
She fits in very well in a team also composed of Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova, the latter of whom has been away from major international competition for almost three years and may still be getting her feet wet in Baku. But if Tutkhalyan competes as consistently as she did in Turin, she could really help Russia toward the most precious medal at the European Games.
After her performance in Turin showed some ups and downs, Shelgunova is now the alternate for Baku. She performed an FTY on vault for a 13.7, but then suffered many form issues on bars, especially on her transitions. She performed a toe full, a van Leeuwen (with leg separation) and then she hit the low bar with her foot before the straddled Jaeger. She went on with a Tkatchev to pak (again, with big leg separation), a Maloney, and finished with a full-in dismount for a score of 13.65.
Beam was Shelgunova’s best event, where she obtained a 14.35 for a routine that included a roundoff to layout (wobble), a sissone to wolf jump, switch leap to switch half, side aerial to loso, front aerial to sheep jump, punch front, full turn, switch ring, and a double pike dismount with a step back. On floor, she had several mistakes, including going out-of-bounds on her piked full-in, sitting her 1.5 to double tuck (also OOB), and hopping on her triple full before finishing with a double pike.
The 2014 European junior all-around champion Angelina Melnikova (still a junior) had the best score of the day on bars, earning a huge 14.85 with a d-score of 6.3. The routine included an inbar full, inbar shaposh half to a pak, van Leeuwen, inbar half to piked Jaeger, and a full-in landed with a tiny hop.
On vault, she performed a DTY with messy legs and went OOB with a foot, earning a 14.45. She missed some connections on beam, lowering her d-score to a 5.6 for skills that included a switch ring, bhs bhs layout (she looked piked there, however, and wobbled the landing), aplit jump, punch front (check), split jump to wolf jump, side somi, sheep jump, and a double pike with a step back.
Finally, on floor she performed a piked full-in with a big hop, a double L turn, whip whip to double tuck (also with a hop), and then the fan favorite triple wolf turn connected to a double turn. She almost fell out of it, but managed to save it and went on to hit a double full and a double pike, stumbling out of the latter due to her low chest.
Anastasia Dmitrieva, who made her senior international debut in Turin, scored a 14.2 on vault for her Lopez, and then earned a 13.75 (5.4 d-score) on bars for her Maloney to pak, toe shoot, toe half to piked Jaeger, toe full, and full-in with a step forward.
On beam, Dmitrieva was mostly clean in her 6.0 d-score routine, delivering a switch leap to switch half to back tuck combo, a roundoff to layout (which she wanted to connect to the following sissone but she was too slow to be credited), a front aerial to sheep jump (again with a very slow connection), a switch ring (with a big balance check), full turn, punch front, and then right at the end, she fell on her double pike dismount, rolling onto her back and picking up just a 13.35.
She did go on to show a lovely floor routine, however, featuring a stuck double layout, a stuck full-in, a double L turn to full pirouette, a whip whip to double tuck with a step forward, and a double pike with a step back for a 13.65.
This was also the senior international debut for Maria Bondareva, who performed only on vault and bars. She hit her FTY, albeit with some form issues (mainly bent legs) to earn a 13.8, and then on bars she posted a 13.65 for a routine that included a toe half to piked Jaeger, toe full, Tkatchev to pak, toe shoot to high bar, and a stuck full-in.
The junior Ekaterina Sokova contributed to the team score on beam, where she scored a huge 14.8 with her 6.3 d-score routine. She performed her switch ring, bhs bhs layout, front walkover to front tuck, wolf jump to split jump, Y turn (where she wobbled), a front aerial to sheep jump (with a missed connection), switch half, side aerial, and a cowboyed double tuck landed with a step back.
If you missed the livestream and you’d love to see the competition, the video is archived on the Italian Gymnastics Federation’s Youtube. Stay tuned for reports about the Italians, Romanians, and Colombians coming soon!
Article by Valeria Violi
Photo by Filippo Tomasi/FGI