After making a very strong impression on fans and the Romanian program alike at a friendly meet this summer, Catalina Ponor has decided to not go forward with competition at this year’s world Championships.
The same knee ligament pain that kept her out of Romanian Championships at the end of September is responsible for her withdrawal from her country’s worlds team, the 28-year-old said on Instagram.
“I did everything I could and I fought until the last moments to be there for Romania, but the rupture sustained at nationals relapsed,” Ponor wrote. “I am very sorry, because I would have liked with all my soul to help the team and to listen again to the national anthem on the podium. I’ll be with my girls and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for them. Girls, I put all my hopes in your work!”
Even though she had just returned, Ponor looked very fit and ready to contribute a great deal to help her team get back on the podium, showing especially strong work on vault and beam with floor a work in progress back at the friendly meet against France. Without Ponor, the team is still a stronger group than they were a year ago, and they shouldn’t struggle to reach the top eight. With the relative strength seen in both Russia and China this year, however, it will take a lot for them to medal as a team without Ponor, so that may have to wait until next year when she is fully healthy once again.
With Ponor missing out, the team has called upon Andreea Iridon to compete and will have Andreea Munteanu step in as alternate, though Munteanu reportedly hasn’t trained consistently in months and likely won’t be used unless the team gets desperate…which could happen. Reports from the Romanian camp suggest that they’ll field only five competitors this year, as another of the gymnasts is dealing with injury and may not be at full strength by the time the team leaves for Glasgow.
Article by Lauren Hopkins