The always-busy Hungarian team competed this weekend at the Swietelsky Cup in Budapest, where the seniors fought for consideration for this month’s European Championships, to be held in neighboring Romania.
The event-only competition saw 2016 Olympian Zsofia Kovacs medal on all three of her events, including earning the golds on bars and beam, while Boglarka Devai showed big potential with her gold on vault and two-time Olympic veteran Dorina Böczögö got the gold on floor.
Kovacs wasn’t at top difficulty, holding back especially on vault where she had just a Yurchenko layout in addition to her tsuk full, but she looked clean everywhere, and she’s definitely shaping up to be a strong all-around contender in Cluj. I was especially impressed with her improved fluidity and grace on beam, and her bars are shaping up to be incredibly strong.
She got a 13.6 on that event and a 13.5 on beam this weekend, while her vaults averaged a 13.675 with both looking super clean. Once she brings her full difficulty back, she’ll be a big threat for multiple finals at Euros, and is looking ready to have a great post-Olympic season.
With a Yurchenko double and a Lopez on vault, Devai — a member of the worlds team in 2015 — could be a threat in the Euros vault final if she cleans up a little bit. Her difficulty is definitely enough to get her to the top eight in Cluj, but while her vaults this weekend were good, packing a ton of power, she needs to tighten up a bit in the air if she wants to challenge.
Devai also got the bronze medals on beam and floor while placing fourth on bars. She’s not particularly strong enough on any of these events in either her difficulty or execution to make any other individual finals at Euros, but she showed that when she hits, she can score well enough to be a solid all-arounder. She wasn’t at her absolute best today on any of these, with bars especially rough, but she did have some moments on each event where she showed that potential for strong routines.
I love seeing Böczögö sticking around for another quad. Now 25, Böczögö competed on bars and floor in Budapest, winning floor with a solid routine that earned a 12.9 while placing sixth on bars after falling in her low-difficulty set to earn a 9.65.
It’s hard to say whether they’ll bring her to Cluj, because she doesn’t really look ready, especially in a year without a team competition. But she seems set on wanting to hang out to help the team in the future, and it’s smart of her to continue at all of the smaller meets until she’s ready to do something bigger.
15-year-old Noemi Jakab made her senior debut this weekend with a pair of silver medals on bars and beam. Her bars set was promising, earning a 12.25, and while she was a bit nervous and tentative on beam, she still easily posted the second-highest score with a 12.35. With the senior field so weak at the moment, I could see her getting a Euros spot for the experience even if she won’t be at the highest level, because I do think in the future with a bit of work she could be a big help to the team.
Dalia Al-Salty also proved herself as an option for Euros and other future teams after winning the silver on floor with a 12.45, the bronze on bars with an 11.75, and fourth-place spots on vault with an 11.7 average and on beam with a 10.8 after a fall. She’s not the strongest here, and once the current crop of juniors comes up she’ll be pretty irrelevant, but I was glad to see her do well here and think she has a lovely floor routine.
Other competitors in the senior field included Inez Sagi, who got the bronze on vault with two low-difficulty but lovely attempts, averaging a 12.9; Boglarka Tömböl, a first-year senior who missed out on medals on all four events due to both low difficulty and mistakes, though she showed potential on floor; and Barbara Katona, who was fifth on beam with a couple of falls.
The junior field was actually stronger in many ways, which is promising for Hungary as they hope to increase their ranking in continental and major international team competitions this quad.
The obvious standout is Nora Feher, who won the bars and floor titles while also getting the silver on beam and the bronze on vault, competing four strong routines with very few mistakes.
Bars is her best event, and in this competition she had only a few form errors to get the gold with a 12.95, nearly three points ahead of the silver medalist. She was fabulous and clean on floor, and showed only some minor mistakes on her other two events, lacking difficulty on both due to a nagging injury that’s holding her back a bit.
The up-and-comer Sara Peter also medaled on all four events, struggling on bars to still earn the bronze with a 10.0, while also getting the bronze on beam with an 11.65 as well as the silver medals on vault with a 13.35 average for her two clean attempts and on floor with a 12.5 for a solid set. She’s hoping to contend for an EYOF spot at home in Hungary this summer, and while Feher is still the clear top option in the junior field, Peter adds even more depth.
The vault title went to Csenge Molnar, who had two clean vaults to average a 13.375 while also picking up the silver on bars and placing fifth on beam, with falls on the latter, while the beam title went to Lilla Csasztvan, who earned a 12.25 to place first, the highlight of her day during which she also placed fourth on vault and bars as well as fifth on floor.
In addition to these four, Dora Halasz was the only other junior to medal, getting a 12.05 for the bronze on floor for her hit routine. Halasz competed everywhere but bars, and her difficulty is a bit low, but she still managed some strong finishes this weekend, including fourth on beam with a fall and fifth on vault after hitting both attempts.
Dorina Miklos also competed, placing fourth on floor as well as sixth on vault and beam, and then there were a couple of competitors who competed as guests, including Dorka Szujo, who had a few falls throughout but posted a great 12.7 on floor that would’ve taken the silver medal there, and Monika Szabo, who competed only on bars, where she had a fall.
Full results from the competition are available here. Next up for the Hungarians will be the Elek Matolay Memorial this coming weekend in Kiskunfelegyhaza, which will be the final competition before the Euros team is confirmed.
Article by Lauren Hopkins