Considering Martina Rizzelli’s withdrawal from World Championships due to a foot injury, Erika Fasana’s tibia stress microfracture, and Vanessa Ferrari’s tendinitis, it was interesting to watch how Italy would perform at the Novara Cup. With these multiple injuries cutting down the team depth, the Italian gymnasts still proved that they can fight for a spot in the top eight in Glasgow.
Carlotta Ferlito was the best all-arounder among the Italian girls, earning the silver medal with a 56.3 right behind Larisa Iordache of Romania. She hit all four routines without major mistakes, beginning with a 13.45 on bars (5.5 d-score). This routine included a Maloney to bail to Ray, stalder half, Jaeger, stalder full, and a double arabian dismount (hopped on the landing).
On beam, she had a major wobble on her layout, but managed to stay on the apparatus and hit a 14.6 for a routine that otherwise included a front aerial to sheep jump (with a significant pause between the two, however, so the connection likely wasn’t credited), switch to back tuck, full turn to split jump, side aerial, a good switch ring leap, and a double pike dismount with a hop.
She also showed great work on floor, where she hit a full-in with a hop, a slightly under-rotated triple full, a clean Memmel turn, and a double pike for a 14.0. Finally, she performed a Yurchenko 1.5 on vault, landed with a big step forward to earn a 14.25.
Then there’s Elisa Meneghini, who also had a good day, earning the bronze all-around medal with a score of 56.1. It looks like she has improved her consistency a great deal across all four events, especially on bars and beam, where she used to have some troubles in previous meets.
On vault, she delivered her strong Yurchenko 1.5, managing a 14.45, and then on bars she performed a giant half to Jaeger, Tkachev, bail (with leg separation), toe shoot, giant full, and a double arabian dismount, taking some steps on the landing for a 13.05.
On beam, Meneghini performed her best routine so far, hitting a switch to back tuck, bhs bhs loso, sheep jump, straddle 1/4, side somi, front aerial, split jump to wolf jump, side aerial, and a stuck double pike, earning a 14.2. Then she really shined on floor, where she stuck the double layout before performing a full-in, whip whip to double tuck (hopped a bit on the landing), and a double pike to finish for a huge 14.4.
After the two mistakes in a row on her toe full, the coaches opted to take this skill out of Enus Mariani‘s routine, preferring a lower d-score (5.8 instead of 6.0) over a more difficult routine with mistakes. Mariani indeed hit the routine without any major problems, opening with a Maloney to bail to stalder full to Ray, stalder half to Jaeger, Ricna, and a double layout with a step on the landing, earning a 14.1.
On beam, she showed a split jump to wolf jump, leap to front aerial, bhs loso, switch half, sissone to side aerial (with a pause and likely not credited), Y turn, side somi, switch leap, and a double pike with a step forward, for a score of 13.85. She upgraded her tumbling on floor, opening the routine with a full-in, though she took a step back and out-of-bounds. She went on with a double tuck (again with a step back), a Memmel, and a double pike to finish. She bent her legs a good deal on the landing, but avoided a fall and still managed a 13.45. Finishing on vault, she earned a 13.95 for her FTY.
Vanessa Ferrari made her comeback in Novara after the tendinitis that has affected her all year. Actually, she is far from her best shape, and she watered down her routines in order to not exacerbate the pain. On vault, she went for a safe FTY, earning a 14.0, and then on bars, she had a messy routine, delivering a giant full, Ono, Jaeger, bail to Ray, and a stuck full-in dismount for a 13.3.
Moving to beam, Ferrari fell on her layout stepout, which replaced the layout she used to perform. Otherwise, she hit her front aerial to sissone, switch to ring leap, full turn, switch ring, sheep jump, and a double pike dismount landed with a step back, posting a 12.7. Even with lower-difficulty tumbling on floor, she still managed to earn a solid 14.2, performing a double layout (with bent legs on the landing), a full-in with a low chest and a step forward, a Ferrari leap, and a double pike. She actually warmed up a back tuck connected to her full-in, but the landing wasn’t clean enough there to bother with the connection in the meet.
Even though she is still struggling with her injury and pain, Ferrari’s decade of senior international experience could really help the team in the qualification round in Glasgow, so the 24-year-old leader will push through with this objective in mind.
After her surprising national all-around victory, Tea Ugrin had an unfortunately rough meet, with some significant ups and downs. On vault, she hit her FTY for a 13.75, and then on bars, she made it through the entirety of her routine before stumbling back and falling on her full-in dismount, earning just a 12.7. The rest of her routine was nice, however, including a Maloney to bail to toe shoot, inbar full to Gienger, stalder half, and inbar half.
On beam, there weren’t major problems, and she showed her beautiful and graceful lines while performing a front aerial to split jump to wolf jump, full turn, bhs loso, switch ring, switch half, side aerial to sissone, straddle 1/4, side somi, and a double tuck dismount, for a score of 14.0. But then on floor, she put her hands down on her very first tumbling pass – the full-in – which is the same mistake she made in event finals at nationals. She went on to perform a nice Ferrari leap, but she landed her triple full out-of-bounds with her chest low, and finished with a double tuck for a 12.55.
Lara Mori broke her amazing series of hit performances with a fall on her bhs bhs loso combination on beam, earning a 12.65 for a routine that otherwise included a switch to back tuck, Y turn, side aerial to split jump to wolf jump, switch half, switch ring, and 2.5 dismount that she almost stuck.
Overall, though, she was clean on her other events. On vault, she earned a 13.55 for her FTY, while on bars she delivered a stalder full to Ricna, Ray, bail to Ray, stalder half to Endo, and a slightly piked double layout dismount for a 13.35. Finally, on floor she earned a 14.25 for a super clean routine that included a stuck full-in, triple full, Memmel, stuck double tuck, and a stuck double pike.
Due to her tibia stress microfracture, Erika Fasana scratched beam, which is the event that causes the most pain for her right now. She also downgraded her vault to a simple FTY (earning a 14.0) in order to preserve herself. For the very same reason, her coaches decided to save her double double on floor for Glasgow, opting for a double layout in Novara (that she hopped back on the landing). She also performed a full-in, Memmel, Ferrari, and a double pike with another hop, earning a huge 14.55 despite the lower difficulty.
On bars, Fasana delivered a consistent routine, performing a toe full, Maloney to giant full, Church, Ray, bail to toe shoot, and a double layout dismount, for a 13.8. She typically connects the opening three skills, so it’s likely she was just taking it easy across the board this weekend in general.
Given the current situation of the Italian team, Ferlito is the only real lock for the all-around competition. The second all-arounder should be Ferrari, but it will depend on how she feels and if she is able to compete all four events. The alternate hasn’t yet been named, though Enrico Casella stated that he will choose between Mori and Ugrin. With hit routines, this team has a great chance at qualifying directly to the Olympic Games even despite their injuries, though consistency will be crucial for the team, and this will absolutely come into play when Casella makes his final team choice after podium training.
Article by Valeria Violi
Photo by Valentina Ricci