As the fourth leg of this year’s world challenge cup series, the Ljubljana World Cup is at a disadvantage because most of the usual competitors we see at these events are making their way to Brazil to get acclimated before competing at the Olympic Test Event next weekend.
But while the field in Ljubljana is small – only 21 women are expected to compete – you can still expect some big gymnastics from the few who will use this as their final preparation for the test event as well as from those who don’t have the Olympics in their near future, but are continuing to work on their routines with other goals in mind.
The Slovenian gymnasts are excited to compete in their hometown, with test event contender and Doha vault silver medalist Teja Belak leading a crew that also includes Tjasa Kysselef, Ivana Kamnikar, and Adela Sajn. The weaker field is a huge benefit to these four, especially Belak and Kysselef on vault, as they could definitely put up a fight for the top two podium spots.
Other nearby gymnasts include the Croatians Ema Kajic, Karmen Koljanin, Dora Kranzelic, and Ana Poscic as well as the Hungarians Dorina Böczögö and Luca Diveky. Böczögö unfortunately didn’t earn one of Hungary’s test event spots, but the two-time Olympian seems keen on continuing her career at this point and has potential for a couple of podium finishes in Ljubljana.
Farah Boufadene of Algeria and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia are using this meet as their final stop before Rio. Boufadene recently suffered a minor back injury on vault at the African Championships, where she was forced to withdraw and wasn’t able to contend for medals she very easily could have earned, so this will serve as an important test on her journey to earn a spot for herself, her country, and for the continent of Africa, which usually relies on the universality “two per continent” rule to get its gymnasts to the Games.
Abdul Hadi competed at Doha with somewhat disappointing results in March, including multiple falls on beam and one on floor, so she’ll hope to improve on that this weekend. Her teammates Ang Tracie and Tan Ing Yueh will also compete, with both hoping to make vault finals and Tracie also able to sneak in on floor if her qualifications go well.
Israel sends standout Tzuf Feldon alongside Ofir Kremer and newcomer Shailee Weiss to the Ljubljana stage, Latvia sends Valerija Grisane, Puerto Rico has vault and floor standout Paula Mejias on the roster, Canada will see Sydney Soloski in her senior international debut after spending most of 2015 dealing with injury, and Ukraine will have Anastasiia Bieliaieva in attendance for her first meet since competing at the 2014 European Championships as a junior.
Qualifications will be held on Friday April 8th with the first set of event finals on Saturday and the second set on Sunday.
Article by Lauren Hopkins