I have a slight obsession with the Czech juniors after watching a group of them from the Bohemians gym in Prague completely steal the show at a domestic competition this weekend.
The juniors far surpassed what we saw at the senior level, where Youth Olympic and 2015 worlds competitor Veronika Cenkova of Sokol MO1 was the only gymnast to score above a 50, getting a 50.163 to win the title over Jana Weisserova of Sokol Brno in second with a 48.66 and Eva Mickova of Prostejov in third with a 47.96.
Cenkova has a low-difficulty vault and made a few mistakes on bars and beam, though she showed strong work on floor and easily managed to top the senior ranks. Weisserova’s best event was bars, but she has low difficulty overall and couldn’t keep up with Cenkova, while Mickova has rough routines on bars and beam.
Anna-Maria Kanyai, who trains at Sokol Brno and competed at worlds in 2014 but then spent much of 2015 out due to injury, made this her comeback meet, though she was only able to compete on bars and beam. She was excellent on both, however, earning the meet-best scores of 13.833 and 13.46. She should definitely make a big impression for the Euros team, and has a few more meets coming up to prepare.
Aside from these, the rankings included Marie Nevrklova in fourth with a 45.873, Romana Majerechova in fifth with a 45.096, Tereza Ochynska in sixth with a 44.76, and Katerina Orsagova in seventh with a 38.39.
While the senior field is definitely a bit lackluster at the moment, the juniors brought a bit of inspiration. A big group comes out of the Bohemians club, and four of these gymnasts took the top spots in Brno, with Aneta Holasova in first with a 52.33, Vendula Merkova in second with a 50.573, Kristyna Brabcova in third with a 50.46, and Adela Merkova in fourth with a 49.596.
All but Brabcova are 2001 babies, meaning they’ll reach the senior level next year. The Czech team hasn’t been one of the strong teams in a long time, but if Cenkova and Kanyai continue competing into the next quad with this core of fierce young kids coming up, they should definitely see a significant rise in their rankings, and should have no problem getting at least an individual gymnast back to the Olympic Games after missing out in 2016, with no one qualifying to this week’s test event.
Holasova is the clear star, working with both the greatest difficulty and perhaps the highest level of confidence. She would’ve had a two point win in the senior field, thanks to a clean vault and excellent work on bars and floor. She did have a fall on beam, so if she can hit all four, her score should keep rising.
Vendula Merkova was beautiful on beam with some very unique dance elements, Brabcova was awesome on floor, and Adela Merkova — Vendula’s twin sister — showed a ton of promise on floor as well, though had some falls in her day.
Behind this group, there’s still a lot of talent, especially from Lucie Jirikova of Sokol Brno in fifth with a 49.39 with a fall on beam and Dominika Ponizlova of Prostejov was sixth with a 47.796 after rough routines on bars and beam, though she looked great on vault and floor.
Rounding out the field were Veronika Sebakova of Bohemians in seventh with a 47.556, Katerina Jelinkova of Sokol Brno in eighth with a 46.09, Magdalena Holcova of Prostejov in ninth with a 44.786, Sabina Halova of Kampa Praha in 10th with a 44.122, Barbora Schneiderova of Sokol MO1 in 11th with a 43.853, Eliska Firtova of Bohemians in 12th with a 40.289, and Barbora Husakova of Bohemians in 13th with a 39.133.
The gymnasts will compete as guests at Polish Championships at the end of this month and then at a friendly meet against Israel and Austria before the European Championships teams are selected.
Full results from the Control meet are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins