Ponor Eyes Doha For Comeback

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Two-time Olympian Catalina Ponor is a standout in a super-starry field of contestants set for the upcoming FIG World Challenge Cup in Doha, Qatar later this month.

The Romanian will join her 2012 Olympic teammates Larisa Iordache and Diana Bulimar as they continue their preparation for the Rio Test Event, where they’ll hope to lead their country in qualifying to this year’s Games. Ponor will compete only on beam, slowly easing her way back into her three events after an injury took her out last fall, while Iordache will do all but vault and Bulimar will compete on bars and floor.

The Romanians aren’t the only ones getting in as much practice as possible leading up to April’s qualifier. While Brazil has already named five members of their test event squad, there is still one spot up for grabs, which first-year senior Carolyne Pedro and 2015 worlds team member Thauany Araujo are both hoping to take, so a strong outcome here will be crucial in whether or not they’re considered. We should also see Rebeca Andrade compete here; Andrade, already named as one of the five, has nothing to prove in that respect, though she does need to show that she’s healthy enough to handle the pressure of major international competition. She’s expected to compete at Jesolo the week before this, and should be on bars and beam at both.

Getting ready for the test event is a theme at this meet. In addition to Romania and Brazil, we’ll also see some of Switzerland’s top contenders in Giulia Steingruber, Ilaria Käslin, and Stefanie Siegenthaler, while Germany is sending two young gymnasts with potential to fill some of the available spots.

Countries with individual test event spots are also represented, both by those who are already set to compete and are looking for more competitive experience – like Marcia Vidiaux of Cuba, Vasiliki Millousi of Greece, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia, and Ana Filipa Martins of Portugal – as well as those who are still fighting for the opportunity to compete in Rio.

With Hungary almost certainly giving one spot to Dorina Boczogo, their second spot will most likely go to world all-around finalist Noemi Makra or the hot young first-year talent Zsofia Kovacs. Sweden also has two spots, with Jonna Adlerteg and Emma Larsson considered the top hopefuls, though Marcela Torres – last year’s national champion at 26 – is a threat and this competition should help narrow it down for these three. Fierce vaulters Tjasa Kysselef and Teja Belak of Slovenia will continue to go head to head for their country’s one spot, and this meet could also be a big decider for the women from Turkey, Argentina, and Azerbaijan as well.

China is also getting in on the fun, sending three of their young gymnasts including 2014 world beam silver medalist Bai Yawen, who missed out on the worlds team last year due to a lack of consistency throughout the majority of her season. We’ll also see Xu Chujun as well as first-year senior Luo Huan. None of these are necessarily top contenders for the Olympic team this summer, but considering the little international experience most Chinese gymnasts get, this could be valuable as they attempt to make their dreams come true this summer.

The World Challenge Cup in Doha will be held from March 24 through March 26. A full list of MAG and WAG contenders is below.

ARGENTINA
Nicolas Cordoba
Federico Molinari
Maria Stoffel
Ailen Valente
ARMENIA
Artur Davtyan
Vahagn Davtyan
Harutyun Merdinyan
Artur Tovmasyan
AUSTRALIA
Christopher Remkes
AUSTRIA
Alexander Benda
Fabian Leimlehner
AZERBAIJAN
Petro Pakhnyuk
Oleg Stepko
Yuliya Inshina
Marina Nekrasova
Mariia Smirnova
BRAZIL
Fellipe Arakawa
Angelo Assumpcao
Henrique Flores
Diego Hypolito
Rebeca Andrade
Thauany Araujo
Carolyne Pedro
CHINA
He Youxiao
Huang Mingqi
Ji Lianshen
Liao Junlin
Zou Kai
Bai Yawen
Luo Huan
Xu Chujun
COSTA RICA
Tarik Soto Byfield
CROATIA
Tomislav Markovic
Marijo Moznik
Renato Prpic
Robert Seligman
Ana Derek
CUBA
Manrique Larduet
Randy Leru
Marcia Vidiaux
FINLAND
Heikki Saarenketo
Tomi Tuuha
Markku Vahtila
Sakari Vekki
GERMANY
Nadja Schulze
Sarah Voss
GREAT BRITAIN
Frank Baines
Daniel Keatings
Sam Oldham
GREECE
Vlasios Maras
Eleftherios Petrounias
Argyro Afrati
Vasiliki Millousi
HUNGARY
Zsofia Kovacs
Noemi Makra
INDONESIA
Samsul Arifin
Agus Adi Prayoko
Muhammad Try Saputra
Ferrous Willyodac
Tazsa Devira
Amalia Fauziah Nubuwah
IRAN
Abdollah Jamei
IRAQ
Yasir Al-Dulaimi
JAPAN
Fuya Maeno
Hikaru Sato
Daiki Yorogo
KAZAKHSTAN
Danil Baturin
Nurtas Kozhakov
Azizbek Kudratullayev
Anna Geidt
LATVIA
Vitalijs Kardasovs
Dmitrijs Trefilovs
MALAYSIA
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi
Tan Ing Yueh
Ang Tracie
NEW ZEALAND
Mikhail Koudinov
NORWAY
Sofie Braaten
Sofie Skattun
PORTUGAL
Mariana Carvalho
Ana Filipa Martins
QATAR
Ahmed Al-Dyani
Mahmood Al-Sadi
Farah Mahmoud
ROMANIA
Diana Bulimar
Larisa Iordache
Catalina Ponor
SLOVENIA
Alen Dimic
Luka Kisek
Rok Klavora
Jure Pavlica
Ziga Silc
Teja Belak
Tjasa Kysselef
SWEDEN
Jonna Adlerteg
Emma Larsson
Marcela Torres
SWITZERLAND
Ilaria Käslin
Stefanie Siegenthaler
Giulia Steingruber
SYRIA
Ali Abbas
Firas Bahlawan
TURKEY
Ferhat Arican
Ibrahim Colak
Ahmet Onder
Umit Samiloglu
Ekin Morova
Demet Mutlu
Tutya Yilmaz
VIETNAM
Dang Nam
Hoang Cuong
Pham Phuoc Hung

Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photo thanks to Catalina Ponor, care of jeni_alexandria

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  1. Pingback: Zou Kai is back | Excellent Liquid Chalk for Weight Lifting

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