Slovenia Leads Ljubljana World Cup with Five Medals

Not a single Slovenian woman went home empty-handed following the Ljubljana World Cup this weekend, tallying two medals apiece on vault and bars with a fifth on beam as they rallied to become the most decorated nation of the meet.

Teja Belak and Tjasa Kysselef led the field coming into the vault final, but as usual, Puerto Rico’s Paula Mejias worked her magic, upping her vault difficulty from a combined 9.9 in prelims to an 11.3 to win the final. She performs her tsuk double full better than she does the much easier tsuk layout, but in a weaker field like this she can take a risk like that in qualifications without much damage.

Mejias finished with a 14.35 average, leaving Belak in second with a 14.225 for her clean Yurchenko 1.5 and handspring tuck full, while Kysselef secured the bronze averaging a 14.025 after looking equally clean on her own handspring tuck full along with a Yurchenko full. Ukraine’s Anastasiia Bieliaieva, who qualified third into the final, finished fourth after some clean work to average a 13.7, tying the Latvian gymnast Valerija Grisane. Dorina Böczögö of Hungary was sixth with a 13.625, Ang Tracie of Malaysia was seventh with a 13.6, and Sigridur Bergthorsdottir was eighth with a 13.275.

On bars, it was Ivana Kamnikar who stood out for Slovenia, earning a 13.15 to finally medal on an event she’s been working on mastering. Bars is the only event the 22-year-old Kamnikar performs, and this was not only her first world cup gold but also her first world cup final, as her scores have typically been too low to get her in the mix. It was especially great to see her win, as she qualified in last place with a 10.9 due to falls in the qualifying round, and coming back very strongly to improve a vast amount to take the title.

Her teammate Belak also nabbed a bars medal with a 12.9 for bronze, while Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia was the silver medalist with a 13.1. Sydney Soloski of Canada also improved on her qualifications performance for fourth place with a 12.65, the Israeli gymnast Tzuf Feldon hit her own routine for a 12.55 for fifth, Dominiqua Belanyi of Iceland was sixth with a 12.4, Böczögö was seventh after a fall with an 11.7, and Iceland’s Tinna Odinsdottir was eighth with a 10.4 after a fall of her own, landing flat on her face on the dismount, though getting up and laughing about it with her coach when all was said and done.

Tan Ing Yueh of Malaysia topped the charts with some excellent work on beam, earning a 13.8 for her skilled set, showing the most difficult and the cleanest-executed routine. Behind her was another Slovenian, Adela Sajn, the 26-year-old who represented Slovenia at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Sajn is back on the world cup circuit after an extended absence, and proved she’s still got it with a 13.3 on beam for her clean and solid set. Soloski won the bronze with a 13.2, looking confident at her senior international debut after missing most of last season due to injury.

Belak only managed to pull out a fourth place spot here with a 13.1, Feldon was fifth with a 12.75 for her solid set, Abdul Hadi was sixth with a 12.65 after mistakes, Luca Diveky of Hungary was seventh with a 12.6, and Bieliaieva was eighth with a 12.0 after a fall.

Tracie surprised as the floor champion, taking advantage of some mistakes from Mejias and hitting a beautiful set of her own to earn a 13.45, securing the gold. Soloski came in second with a 13.3 for her second medal of the weekend, while Böczögö finally managed to put together a medal-winning performance with a 13.25 for bronze after a somewhat rough weekend otherwise. Mejias with her mistakes was fourth with a 13.2.

In addition to the top four, Abdul Hadi had a 12.85 for fifth. Kysselef tied her there with a 12.85 of her own after a clean but relatively easy routine, and the same can be said for Belak in seventh with a 12.8 of her own. Once again, Bieliaieva was last, this time with a 12.5, though I do think she showed promise there and think she should be happy with her meet given that this was her senior debut and first time competing in two years.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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