The French Gymnastics Federation has named the team set to compete at world championships in Glasgow this October.
Veteran Marine Brevet headlines a young team featuring 2015 European beam bronze medalist Claire Martin alongside Camille Bahl, Loan His, Valentine Pikul, and Louise Vanhille. Anne Kuhm, a member of the European Games team this year, will serve as the alternate.
The French women have looked very strong this year, and it’s the first time in a long stretch where the majority of their top contenders aren’t sidelined due to injury. They will miss Youna Dufournet, who was injured earlier this spring, but they aren’t dependent upon her as they’ve been in the past. Vanhille, out for most of 2014 due to injury, is a very talented bar worker in her own right and should easily step up in Dufournet’s absence.
His and Bahl are the new seniors to watch. His is this year’s French national all-around champion, and qualified to European Championship finals in the all-around and on bars. She doesn’t really have a standout event, but is typically consistent enough across the board to help out anywhere. Bahl, meanwhile, is known for her vaulting prowess. The country’s 2014 Youth Olympic Games competitor, she was a vault finalist at European Championships and while her difficulty might not be enough to get her to the final at Worlds, her reliable and strong DTY will more than help the team.
Martin should help the team most on beam and floor, and with a hit set in qualifications, she could be a potential entry into the beam final with her gorgeous routine. Pikul qualified to the all-around and floor finals at the inaugural European Games this summer, though she can be a bit unreliable in terms of her consistency, while Brevet will bring the leadership and calmness as she guides the team once again.
While they’ve been struggling in the past couple of years, this is the strongest – and healthiest – French team in years, and they actually have quite a strong shot at making it into the team final and thus qualifying a full team to next year’s Olympic Games. They are one of several teams – along with Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, and Australia – right at that borderline for 8th place. Each of these teams could potentially fit into that last finals spot, so it will all come down to who manages to hit in qualifications.
Whether they make it this year or not, the women from France will easily land in the top 16, earning them a bid to the Olympic Test Event to contend yet again for a full team spot.
Article by Lauren Hopkins