Black Looking to Return at Koper Challenge Cup

With the world cup all-around and apparatus competitions done for the season, we now look forward to the start of the world challenge cups, which are similar to the world apparatus cups but will not act as qualifiers to the Olympic Games.

This season’s challenge cup series kicks off in Koper, Slovenia, and the field is actually stronger than several of the earlier world cup fields we’ve seen this year, probably because gymnasts are now coming back from breaks and hiatuses as they look toward preparing for bigger international meets like world championships in the fall.

One of the biggest names we’ll see in Koper is two-time Olympian Ellie Black, who made history last summer with Canada’s best Olympic all-around finish of all-time after finishing fifth in finals. Black was hoping to come back earlier this year to compete in a couple of the world cup all-around meets, but a foot injury has held her back a bit, so this will be the first time we see Black since she competed in Rio.

Black, along with 2016 teammate Rose-Kaying Woo, is expected to compete all four events, which should be good all-around preparation as they go into Canadian Championships two weeks later. Woo, who competed every event but vault in qualifications at the Olympic Games, returned earlier this season at Elite Canada and Gymnix, and will hope to show a higher competitive level in Koper now that she’s had a few more months to train.

Larisa Iordache, who just won the bronze medal on beam at European Championships, will compete bars and beam, and the young Brazilian Olympians Rebeca Andrade and Flavia Saraiva, both of whom won medals at Jesolo earlier this month, will compete a few events apiece, with Andrade expected to be a medal threat on vault and bars while Saraiva will be fighting Iordache for gold on beam. These two will be joined by new senior Thais Fidelis, who has a huge start value on beam, and could also be in the mix for a medal there.

Other names to keep an eye on include European vault bronze medalist Boglarka Devai of Hungary, her teammate Noemi Makra (she’s still coming back from injury but will give bars and beam a try), Caitlin Rooskrantz of South Africa making her senior debut (she’s fabulous and could be a big deal for her country this quad), and the Slovenian vault queens Teja Belak and Tjasa Kysselef, both of whom competed very well in Cluj last week.

These will be just two of the 16 gymnasts host country Slovenia will send. In addition to Belak and Kysselef, the women’s field will see bars standout Ivana Kamnikar and 2008 Olympic beam standout Adela Sajn, and on the men’s side, Saso Bertoncelj, Alen Dimic, Rok Klavora, and Ziga Silc will be the big names.

Also in the men’s competition, the U.S. is actually sending a few guys, including Eddie Penev, Donothan Bailey, and Donnell Whittenburg, and Hungary’s Krisztian Berki will hope to come back strong on pommel horse after his disappointment winning silver due to a technicality at Euros. A couple of the Brazilian men should be in the medal mix, Alexander Shatilov of Israel will fight for a medal on floor, Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands will hope to impress on high bar after a rough fall in Cluj, and Jossimar Calvo of will compete on all six events, where he’s sure to be a standout.

The competition begins May 12. A full list of competitors is below.

Michael Fussenegger
Vinzenz Höck
Dirk Kathan
Lorenz Rüf
Bianca Frysak
Jasmin Mader
Marlies Männersdorfer
Francisco Barretto, Jr.
Lucas Bitencourt
Arthur Zanetti
Rebeca Andrade
Thais Fidelis
Flavia Saraiva
Jeremy Bartholomeusz
Rene Cournoyer
Evan Cruz
Thierry Pellerin
Ellie Black
Rose-Kaying Woo
Jossimar Calvo
Matija Baron
Tin Srbic
Jakov Vlahek
Ema Kajic
Ana Poscic
Tijana Tkalcec
Irodotos Georgallas
Marios Georgiou
Lucie Jirikova
Nils Dunkel
Florian Lindner
Ivan Rittschik
Amélie Föllinger
Carina Kröll
Michelle Timm
Charalampos Kalidis
Vasileios Kollias
Christoforos Konstantinidis
Antonios Tantalidis
Man Hin Jim
Kiu Chung Ng
Ka Man Leung
Adam Babos
Krisztian Berki
Bence Bilics
Krisztian Boncser
Zoltan Kallai
David Vecsernyes
Dalia Al-Salty
Boglarka Devai
Noemi Makra
Boglarka Tombol
Artem Dolgopyat
Eyal Glazer
Andrey Medvedev
Alexander Shatilov
Moran Yanuka
Tzuf Feldon
Gaya Giladi
Ofir Kremer
Ofir Netzer
Matteo Levantesi
Marco Lodadio
Andrea Russo
Davide Sborchia
Ahmad Abu Al Soud
Majdi Al-Hmood
Adham Alsqour
Anastasija Dubova
Marija Ribalcenko
Tomas Kuzmickas
Robert Tvorogal
Bart Deurloo
Boudewijn de Vries
Rick Jacobs
Casimir Schmidt
Bram Verhofstad
Pietro Giachino
Odin Kalvø
Nikolai Rønbeck
Vetle Talsnes
Sofie Bråten
Sofie Skåttun
Larisa Iordache
Bojan Dejanovic
Dusan Dordevic
Nikola Jurkovic
Petar Velickovic
Dejana Kuzmanovic
Aleksandra Rajcic
Jelena Stamenkovic
Slavomir Michnak Barbora Mokosova
Saso Bertoncelj
Luka Bojanc
Alen Dimic
Luka Kisek
Rok Klavora
Jure Pavlica
Ziga Silc
Luka Terbovsek
Teja Belak
Lucija Hribar
Pia Hribar
Ivana Kamnikar
Sara King
Tjasa Kysselef
Naja Miclic
Adela Sajn
Naveen Daries
Courtney Noel
Mammule Rankoe
Caitlin Rooskrantz
Andres Martin
Joel Plata
Kevin Traid
Adria Vera
Jessica Diacci
Stefanie Siegenthaler
Vladyslav Kotsiuban
Eduard Yermakov
Yevgen Yudenkov
Anastasiia Bieliaieva
Yana Fedorova
Valeriia Osipova
Donothan Bailey
Eddie Penev
Donnell Whittenburg
Jostyn Fuenmayor
Jose Luis Fuentes

7 thoughts on “Black Looking to Return at Koper Challenge Cup

  1. Pingback: Osijek Challenge Cup Field Set | The Gymternet

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  3. What do you mean when you say Berki got silver due to a technicality? I couldn’t watch most event finals and never went back to watch pommels because, well, it’s pommels and I understand zero of it. But now I’m curious about what happened


    • He didn’t start within 30 seconds of the salute, so he got a penalty, 0.5 IIRC. So he would’ve won had he started like, a few seconds earlier hahaha.


        • Yeah, I think a lot of people were wondering what it was for. I didn’t notice he started late and was like wtf why does he have a penalty??? I tweeted and someone explained it so yeah. So weird!!! You’d think he of all people would have known.


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