Morova Reigns in Turkey

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2016 Olympian Tutya Yilmaz isn’t back yet, but several gymnasts showed great promise at this year’s national championships in Mersin, where 17-year-old Ekin Morova won a close battle against 21-year-old Demet Mutlu to take the all-around gold.

Morova, a member of Turkey’s last three European Championships teams, reached a 48.950 in the all-around, and also won the beam title with a 12.15 in what was a very strong meet for her. She also posted the second-highest scores on vault and bars, though things got close as she finished up her day with mistakes on floor, nearly giving Mutlu the upper hand.

Mutlu had her own struggles, however, with weak performances on beam and floor holding her back from her high scoring potential. A veteran of multiple world and European Championships teams, Mutlu came in as the favorite at this meet, but ended up finishing just about two tenths behind her young teammate, earning a 48.700 to win the silver instead. She did show great work on vault and bars, though, winning the titles with a 13.3 and 12.2, respectively.

Both Morova and Mutlu will be among those leading the team this year, with 2012 Olympian Göksu Üctas Sanli — now back in the sport at 26 after taking time off to get married and have a child — also likely to make major teams. Üctas Sanli struggled with falls here, missing the podium on both of her events, beam and floor, but she’s generally pretty strong there and will hope to contribute to the Turkish team there going forward this quad.

First-year senior Doga Özgöcmez, 16, finished with the bronze medal, earning a 46.500 with her best performances coming on beam, where she nabbed the silver medal with an 11.6, and floor, winning the title with a 12.35. I can definitely see her getting a spot on the Euros team with the above three, a great accomplishment given her young age and lack of experience.

Other competitors here included Ekin Ülvan in fourth with a 45.300, Cagla Altundemir in fifth with a 44.650, Iclal Özbay in sixth with a 44.400, Seher Atalay in seventh with a 44.300, Ceyda Akgül in eighth with a 43.700, Beyza Canatan in ninth with a 42.300, and Doga Ketenci in tenth with a 41.600, the latter kind of a surprisingly low finish as she’s generally much stronger, but disastrous routines on bars and beam held her back from getting closer to the top group.

In the junior division, the lovely Sinem Nur Toyran won the gold with a 47.700 all-around, also winning the title on vault and posting the second-best scores on bars and beam with her floor also looking strong. The 2003-born Toyran has tons of potential, and will hopefully be able to someday join the senior group as one of the top gymnasts.

Ipek Bakar and Nazli Savranbasi, also born in 2003, placed second and third with a tied score of 46.500, though Bakar got the higher ranking due to the tie-breaker. Bakar had a great day on beam, winning the title with a 12.5, while Savranbasi won the bars title with an 11.1 and also showed excellent work on floor, posting the third-best score of 12.35, though she unfortunately struggled on beam, which held her back from challenging for the title.

Rounding out the top eight were Dilara Yurtdas in fourth with a 46.100, Yaren Turan in fifth with a 45.900, Ilayda Sahin in sixth with a 44.850, Yasemin Zehra Börekci in seventh with a 44.100, and Sinem Damla Agladioglu in eighth with a 43.450.

Turan, who just turned 14, actually had a great day, winning the floor title and posting the third-best scores on vault and beam, though falls on bars limited her overall potential. She could’ve been one of the gymnasts reaching for all-around gold, and will likely be a frontrunner for this summer’s European Youth Olympic Festival team despite her rough bars performance this weekend.

Full results from the Turkish Championships are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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