This weekend in Ploiesti, the Olympians Larisa Iordache and Catalina Ponor will headline a 28-woman field at the Romanian national championships, which will help determine the final spots for this year’s worlds team.
Both Iordache, who will compete a week following her gold medal success at the Summer Universiade in Taipei, and Ponor, this year’s European beam champion, have already been selected to compete at world championships in Montreal, with first-year senior Ioana Crisan a likely bet for the third spot. Frankly, assuming Iordache and Crisan will compete in the all-around with Ponor on beam and floor, they only really have room for a vaulter, which they don’t have, or a bars gymnast, and I don’t think I need to explain that whole situation.
If she’s up to it, Maria Holbura is the most likely candidate. She hasn’t looked great on bars yet this year, but in the recent past she’s been one of the country’s best, scoring in the low 13s at European Championships in 2016, and posting the second-highest score for the team at the Olympic test event in Rio. If she does well enough at nationals, she’s my bet to get that final spot, especially since it no longer looks like Laura Jurca — who actually competed a couple of solid bars sets at meets in France and Germany this spring — is in the running.
But I could also see the federation wanting to test out one of those in the swarm of new seniors, even if none of them really looks like the future of Romanian bars. Carmen Ghiciuc is probably the strongest of this group, which also includes Carmen Glavan, Andra Anghelescu, Alexandra Mihai, and Alisia Botnaru, though I wouldn’t expect to see more than a low 12 at best from any of these girls on bars at the international level, even if they miraculously get mid-13s or higher at the always heavily-overscored Romanian Championships.
There’s also Andreea Ciurusniuc on the list, and while it’s been over a year since we’ve seen her, she’s another one to keep in consideration. She as a junior impressed me with nice lines on bars, and she always had a pretty solid beam as well, but it’s hard to say how she’ll look now, with so much time since her last meet. Can we cross our fingers and hope for a Kharenkovian comeback?
Olivia Cimpian probably would’ve been a lock for a worlds spot, but as we reported in July, Cimpian has cut ties with the Romanian program to train in Hungary with the hope of eventually changing her nationality and representing them at the world and Olympic level. For now, she’s in a kind of limbo between the two countries, so it’s a shame we won’t get to see her at worlds for either country, especially when she actually could’ve made this team no problem.
Looking to the future, there is a solid level of junior talent here, with the powerful Denisa Golgota — this summer’s European Youth Olympic Festival vault silver medalist — leading the pack. We’ll also see her EYOF teammates Iulia Berar and Nica Ivanus, both incredible standouts on beam, though the field will be missing Laura Iacob, who will miss out this year as she is still dealing with an injury that kept her from being on that EYOF team.
The women will compete in the all-around on Saturday evening and will then contend for apparatus titles on Sunday. A full list of competitors is below.
|Andra Anghelescu, Dinamo Bucuresti||Larisa Iordache, Dinamo Bucuresti|
|Iulia Berar, Arad||Nica Ivanus, Cetate Deva|
|Valentina Borca, Cetate Deva||Diana Mandrea, Steaua Bucuresti|
|Alisia Botnaru, Cetate Deva||Lisa Marchidanu, Steaua Bucuresti|
|Andreea Ciurusniuc, Steaua Bucuresti||Alexandra Mihai, Bucuresti|
|Teodora Constantin, Focsani||Maria Pana, Dinamo Bucuresti|
|Andrada Craciun, Bucuresti||Iohana Pasere, Focsani|
|Ioana Crisan, Cetate Deva||Teodora Patrascu, Focsani|
|Bianca Dorobantu, Steaua Bucuresti||Catalina Ponor, Farul Constanta|
|Antonia Duta, Dinamo Bucuresti||Ana Maria Puiu, Focsani|
|Carmen Ghiciuc, Cetate Deva||Silvia Sfiringu, Farul Constanta|
|Carmen Glavan, Farul Constanta||Ioana Stanciulescu, Farul Constanta|
|Denisa Golgota, Cetate Deva||Gabriela Toader, Constanta|
|Maria Holbura, Farul Constanta||Daniela Trica, Barlad|
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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