At this weekend’s Barborka Cup in Zabrze, Poland, veteran Marta Pihan-Kulesza proved she’s back in a big way with her all-around win.
Pihan-Kulesza was injured at the Polish International Championships this past spring, and was subsequently left off of the Worlds nominative roster due to her status. But she came back a couple of weeks ago looking almost back to normal, and then solidified her comeback with her performance this week. Earning a 54.015 for the all-around win, she also posted excellent scores of 14.133 on beam and 14.266 on floor to post the top scores there as well.
There was also very strong work from her teammates Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska and Gabriela Janik, who placed behind her in second and third. Jurkowska-Kowalska posted a 53.515 in addition to the second-highest scores on vault, beam, and floor, notching a 14.333 for her handspring tuck full and then putting up a 13.866 on both of the latter events. Janik’s all-around score, meanwhile, was a 51.366, and though she didn’t have the greatest work on beam or floor, she had an excellent vault for a 14.533 and nailed bars for a 13.2, the highest scores on both of those events.
The other Polish gymnasts to compete all events included Claudia Chmielowska, who lives and trains in London, in 7th with a 46.15 and Emilia Kulczynska in 9th with a 43.483. Paula Plichta performed sets on beam (11.9) and floor (11.2) while Klara Kopec hit beam for a 12.566.
In the days following the competition, the Poilsh federation named the World Championships team, which includes Pihan-Kulesza, Jurkowska-Kowalska, Janik, Chmielowska, Kopec, and the American gymnast Alma Kuc, who coincidentally trains at All Olympia AOGC, making her the third gymnast the suburban Los Angeles gym will send to Glasgow this year. The situation is a bit different than what’s happening with Belarus, however; Kuc has a Polish background and has been competing for the team at the senior international level for over a year, and went through the same selection criteria faced by the other gymnasts.
Aside from the Polish team, we also saw competitors from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Latvia. The Czech gymnast Veronika Cenkova had a great meet, earning a 51.315 for 4th place after putting up the third-best scores on bars, beam, and floor. Her teammates Eva Mickova and Romana Majechova placed 5th and 6th with scores of 48.166 and 47.599, respectively.
The Latvians sent Aleksandra Kurchenko, who placed 10th with a 41.765, Sabine Gosa, who was 11th with a 40.549, and Sabine Kornijanova, who competed three events. Vaida Zitineviciute of Lithuania placed 8th with a 45.8 with vault and floor her strongest events.
Article by Lauren Hopkins