Afrati Repeats as Greek Champion

Argyro Afrati has once again been named the national champion of Greece, finishing nearly seven points ahead of the rest of this field to earn the all-around gold while also coming close to sweeping event finals, winning more gold medals on everything but floor.

At 18, Afrati is one of the youngest gymnasts competing as an international elite for Greece, and she’s pretty much the only top gymnast who regularly competes in the all-around, with the others instead choosing to focus on their best events. Afrati doesn’t have a ‘best event’ in that sense, but is rather a consistent all-arounder whose work on all four events is enough to help the country in team competitions especially.

Even with a fall on beam, Afrati earned a 50.25 all-around, with bars her best event of the day, though she showed a strong performance on vault as well. In addition to the beam fall, Afrati also made some mistakes on floor, but ultimately she could’ve counted about seven or eight falls to win this thing, so it was still a successful day for her.

Event finals were a little more challenging, because while Greece doesn’t have all-arounders, they do have several specialists. Afrati beat nearly all of them, however, including Evangelia Plyta on bars (and with a fall!) and Vasiliki Millousi and Ioanna Xoulogi on beam, with a clean routine there.

Her floor was good — much better than her all-around floor performance, actually — but one bad landing took her out-of-bounds and came with a three-tenth penalty, putting her in second place with a 12.5.

Plyta has the best bars set in the country, packed with huge release after huge release, though she struggles to hit it consistently. In prelims, she earned an 11.1 and in finals, she took silver with an 11.0, counting multiple falls in each routine. Millousi had a strong bars performance in prelims, earning a 12.6 for her simple but clean set, but she too fell on bars in the final, earning the bronze with a 10.6.

Millouis’s struggles continued on beam, where another fall put her at a 12.7 total, just a few tenths behind Afrati’s clean set. She hit this one in prelims for a 13.9, though, which could absolutely put her in the running for the final at Euros again this year. Xoulogi matches Millousi in difficulty, and considers this her standout event, but she also had a rough meet, falling in prelims and finals, coming out with a 12.05 for bronze.

In addition to beam, Xoulogi also competed floor, where she had clean performances in both prelims and finals, narrowly edging out Afrati for the gold there with a 12.65.

Aside from this top group, no other seniors are really competitive at the moment. Behind Afrati in the all-around, first-year seniors Sevasti Gietou and Paraskevi Arvanitaki — both of whom competed as juniors at Euros last year — placed second and third, with Gietou earning a 43.7 and Arvanitaki earning a 42.2.

Gietou is somewhat balanced across her events, but her difficulty is so low, she can’t really make up for that just yet, though she did get the silver on vault with an 11.625 average. Arvanitaki, meanwhile, is rough on bars and beam but promising on vault and floor, winning the floor bronze medal in addition to her all-around bronze.

Beyond the podium, the all-around finishes included Maria Patmanidou in fourth with a 38.45, Evangelia Santi in fifth with a 37.6, Alexandra Emeinidou in sixth with a 36.9 (she also won vault bronze with an 11.5), Christina Tarnari in seventh with a 33.4, and Soultana Manta in eighth with a 31.35.

The junior competition saw lots of potential in its three all-around medalists, with Elvira Katsali winning gold with a 47.55, Georgia Ananiadou winning silver with a 45.55, and Evelina Maja winning bronze with a 45.45. These three also dominated the event finals, with Ananiadou winning gold on every event but vault, Katsari winning bronze on bars and beam, and Maja winning vault and beam gold in addition to the silver on bars.

Other junior medalists included Marina Markopoulou with bronze on vault and silver on floor, and Chrysi Tsopanoglou with bronze on floor.

Full results from Greek Championships are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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