The final day of competition at the 2015 Russian Cup saw two “no surprises here” wins from Maria Kharenkova on beam and Ksenia Afanasyeva on floor, though there were still some big struggles from Worlds contenders, as has been the theme of this competition.
Kharenkova was killer on beam, nailing the entire set aside from two small balance checks for a 14.8. This is the Kharenkova the team will need at Glasgow, so it was great to see her finally show her true colors.
In second was Afanasyeva, whose routine is a little simpler than we’re used to seeing from the Olympic finalist, though she hit it well, just wobbling on her side aerial to earn a 14.333.
Beyond these two, the prospects looked pretty bleak, mostly because there are no routines that are a combination of both highly difficult and well-executed. Daria Spiridonova placed third with a 14.133 after several wobbles and a step on her dismount, making her somewhat dependable there, though she’s not one who can bring in a high score. Evgeniya Shelgunova, who hit so well in qualifications, also struggled, earning just a 13.933 for her 6.0 routine after also having wobbles, form issues, and a step on her dismount.
Alla Sosnitskaya was in fifth place with wobbles everywhere earning her a 13.833, Anastasia Dmitrieva touched the beam on her front aerial for sixth place with a 13.733, and then Viktoria Komova was all the way down in seventh place with just an 11.533 after falling three times, on her sheep jump, standing arabian, and dismount. Sigh. The only one to finish below her was Daria Mikhailova, who fell on her double pirouette and then crashed her dismount for a 10.3.
Performing an exhibition routine was Seda Tutkhalyan, who would’ve been third with her 14.233 had she been in the actual final, but she had a fall on her sissone of all things, after otherwise showing an incredible set. She showed that she has the potential to medal on this event, but only if she ever actually hits her full set in competition, which hasn’t happened yet.
On floor, Afanasyeva performed well for a 14.7, though she showed some form issues and small mistakes that will limit her internationally. At home, however, she was still miles ahead of the rest of the competition, with Maria Paseka following in second place with a 14.033. Paseka did a decent job there and has showed consistency on floor all week, but she just doesn’t have the difficulty to be competitive.
In third was Kharenkova with a 13.867 after taking a step out-of-bounds on her opening double arabian, but the rest was excellent, albeit a little low in difficulty. She had a very nice 1.5 through to double full, whip whip to 2.5, and double pike with a step to finish.
Tutkhalyan placed fourth after finally making it through without falling, though she did have her usual form issues and went out-of-bounds on her 2.5 to punch front (which she did as a pike today instead of a layout). She scored a 13.8 with a 6.0 start value so while it was a hit routine, there is definitely room for improvement.
Lilia Akhaimova, who wowed with her routine in qualifications, finished fifth with a 13.633 after stepping out-of-bounds on her double layout, though the rest was solid, including her full-in to finish. In sixth was Spiridonova with a 13.533 for her solid effort, followed by Daria Elizarova in seventh with a 13.033 (she fell on her double pike), and then Anastasia Sidorova in last with a 12.867 for her hit routine.
There was another exhibition from Shelgunova, who would’ve placed third with her score of 13.933, earned after hitting her double layout, 1.5 through to double tuck, and double pike.
Overall, it was probably the strongest day of the competition, with the top contenders mostly looking about how they should aside from a few minor things (and Komova on beam, but we won’t talk about that).
Full results are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins