September is always a crazy busy gymnastics month, and this weekend was no exception. Several big international and domestic meets took place, and if you’re worried you’ve missed anything, have no fear. We’ve got you covered!
The Romania-France Friendly
Romania hosted this team competition on Saturday, marking the returns of Diana Bulimar after her knee surgery in June, Larisa Iordache after nearly a year out due to minor overuse injuries, and Catalina Ponor, who performed her first routines since London 2012. Iordache and Ponor looked great, and with a bit of fine-tuning in the coming weeks will completely turn this team around as they contend for a podium spot at Worlds after narrowly missing out to Russia in 2014. The French women also showed great strength with three fabulous all-arounders in addition to big scores from vault specialist Camille Bahl and beam/floor specialist Claire Martin. [ Results | Recap ]
The Golden League
Italy’s Golden League acted as a team competition for the top four finishers of the Serie A, held in the spring, as well as the country’s first step in the Worlds selection process. Vanessa Ferrari was missing, but all other top Worlds contenders looked fabulous, especially Carlotta Ferlito, who posted two big scores on beam in addition to winning the all-around, and Martina Rizzelli, who took all-around silver while finally showing what she’s capable of on bars.
Erika Fasana had a strong floor performance on Saturday, but didn’t compete the event in finals (national team director Enrico Casella chose the finalists and perhaps thought Fasana didn’t need another ‘test’ after proving her strength all year). Enus Mariani showed consistency on both days, Lara Mori returned from injury with a steady all-around performance and then a fantastic bar routine in finals, and junior Sofia Busato – a 2000 baby – showed why she could be a big threat in 2016, especially with her super strong DTY. [ Results | Recap Coming Soon! ]
The British Team Championships
This meet features competition between Great Britain’s top club gyms, and while some of the big names were missing – like Claudia Fragapane – most of the Worlds contenders showed at least a few of their routines, and both Ruby Harrold and Rebecca Tunney returned to competition after extended absences (though neither competed bars, the best event for both).
National champ Amy Tinkler won the all-around, followed by Kelly Simm in second and Charlie Fellows in third. In team competition, Liverpool defeated Welsh club Park Wrekin by a nearly five point margin with The Academy coming third. Danusia Francis, who will compete for Jamaica at Worlds this year, attended as a guest for her first elite competition in over three years, earning a 52.9 in the all-around. [ Results | Recap Coming Soon! ]
The Belgium-Sweden-Austria Friendly
Belgium won the meet they hosted on Sunday with a team score of 211.549 to Sweden’s 202.466 and Austria’s 191.581. Unfortunately, Julie Croket injured her ankle in vault warm-ups, which could bring a challenge in the team’s quest to place in the top 16 at Worlds so they can contend for a team spot at the Olympics in next year’s test event (especially as Laura Waem still isn’t back fully from an injury of her own, and Jelle Beullens isn’t operating on all four events).
The team achieved their win with six falls, so it was a bit of a rough day, though Gaelle Mys emerged victorious with four solid sets to capture the all-around title with a 54.4, placing ahead of teammate Rune Hermans with a 52.783 for silver and Sweden’s Emma Larsson with a 52.033 for bronze. Mys had the highest score of the day on any event with her 14.2 on beam. [ Results | Recap Coming Soon! ]
The Bosphorus Tournament
This annual meet held in Istanbul attracts mostly gymnasts from the Middle East and Central Asia, and in addition to host team Turkey, the women saw competitors from Jordan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Sweden. Demet Mutlu of Turkey won the senior all-around with a 53.366 followed by teammate Ekin Morova with a 50.0 for silver and Ralitsa Mileva of Bulgaria with a 48.5 for bronze. Julia Rumbutis, who changed her allegiance from Sweden to Georgia this year, made her competitive debut for her new country, competing just on beam for an 11.633, the fourth-highest score on the event. Turdikhon Islomova of Uzbekistan won the junior all-around with a 50.599. [ Results | Recap Coming Soon! ]
The Israel Open
This MAG-only competition saw a big win from Azerbaijan’s Oleg Stepko with an 88.9. Croatia’s Filip Ude won silver with an 85.95 while Israel’s Alexander Shatilov won bronze with an 85.25. Marian Dragulescu of Romania also returned to competition in a big way, sticking his eponymous vault – check it out below!
What’s next? The Chinese Individual Championships began yesterday in Liupanshui, the Russian Cup begins Wednesday in Penza with all major Worlds contenders aside from Aliya Mustafina expected to compete, the Osijek World Challenge Cup begins with qualifications on Thursday (look forward to seeing Jade Barbosa, Rebecca Tunney, and Ruby Harrold there!), and then German National Championships will be held in Giessen over the weekend.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photo thanks to the Belgian Gymnastics Federation