Janik Dominates at Polish Senior Cup

Gabriela Janik celebrated her 24th birthday in style this weekend, winning the all-around title and posting the high scores on vault and bars at the Polish Senior Cup in Zabrze.

One of Poland’s two gymnasts vying for an Olympic spot last year, Janik is now the country’s leading veteran with Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska not yet back and with Marta Pihan-Kulesza retired (and getting ready to have a baby!). Always a strong vaulter, Janik is now hoping to bring the rest of her events up to speed this quad, with this meet getting her off to a good start.

With a 49.2 in prelims and a 49.55 in finals, Janik showed that she was mostly consistent, though she still had some mistakes between the two. In prelims, she had a costly fall on bars, but looked to be at her best on every other event, while in finals she hit bars to post the top score of 12.1, but made a greater number of mistakes on beam and floor, posting only the second-best scores on each of those.

But either way, Janik was miles ahead of her competition, coming in at about three points higher than the second-place gymnasts both days, which should secure a Euros spot as well as places on any major international team coming up. And as always, vault is looking fabulous, and I think she could be on the short list for potential vault finalists in Cluj next month, depending on who else is there.

After qualifying fourth, Wiktoria Lopuszanska ended up placing second with a 46.45, improving on her prelims score by more than five points, which is kind of insane. She had a bars meltdown in prelims, earning just a 6.15 in addition to also counting mistakes and falls on beam and floor, but for finals, she had cleaned up every event, and ended up posting the highest score of 11.45 on floor in addition to the second-highest 13.45 on vault.

2014 worlds team member Paula Plichta finished second in qualifications with a 45.975, but a fall on floor in finals brought her down to a 45.1 to finish with the bronze all-around medal. Plichta matched Lopuszanska’s 13.45 on vault to tie for the second-best score there, and despite her issues on floor, she still managed a 10.8 for the third-best floor score in what was a weak field overall on that event.

Emilia Kulczynska ended up fourth with a 42.1 and the top score of 12.6 on beam, Walentyka Smolka, third in prelims, placed fifth with a 40.55 after a fall on beam, though she posted the third-best bars score of 10.35, and Martyna Macholak placed seventh with a 29.85, competing low difficulty everywhere and almost no difficulty on bars.

These six were the only all-arounders at this meet, though 2015 worlds team member Klara Kopec with a hit floor could’ve finished in the top three; she competed every event but floor, with her three-event total outscoring Macholak’s four-event total by about five points, though she also had some struggles on beam and bars especially.

Wiktoria Gradys, Patrycja Dronia, and Malgorzata Bulanda also each competed a couple of events apiece, with first-year senior Dronia posting the third-best score on beam with a 12.25 after falling on bars, while Bulanda posted the second-best bars score of 10.4.

Without Jurkowska-Kowalska and Pihan-Kulesza, the senior field is going through a bit of a drought right now, with Janik really the only gymnast ready for any kind of international competition. I believe several of the gymnasts will attend the Stella Zakharova meet later this month as another Euros test, but I’d be surprised if anyone but Janik ended up traveling to Cluj.

Full results from the senior cup are available here, and the juniors will get their own competition at the Polish Junior Cup in Krakow a month from now.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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