Iordache, Ponor Lead Romanian Nationals Field


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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18 thoughts on “Iordache, Ponor Lead Romanian Nationals Field

  1. Pingback: Iordache, Ponor Lead Romanian Nationals Field — The Gymternet – pogaciblog

        • Um… how so? Link? War is a pretty strong word. Saw them at Euros and they hugged after beam. So please explain…


        • Doesn’t this stem from the conflicts around who was selected for Rio last year? – in particular a social media war between the 2 where family members became involved and for a while, I read, they were scheduled to train at separate times. Really I think that the Federation was at fault for not having clear rules about selection when both leading athletes had injuries – eventually selecting Ponor who only competed 2 events.

          Certainly there seemed to be a bit of tension at Euros when Ponors beam score came through Iordache didn’t react and didn’t immediately congratulate her. It looked rather uncomfortable with Ponor celebrating and Iordache standing with her back turned putting her tracksuit on. There were brief hugs on the podium but Iordache looked like she had been crying took her medal off as soon as she stepped off the podium and didn’t wear it for the lap off honour.


      • i think there was even a post by lauren about this a while back. they were sniping at each other and a lot of it might have been due to the fact that ponor was selected for rio and larisa was not.

        well, maybe the war is over? it’s good for the romania team if there’s no bad blood between their top 2 gymnasts.


      • Last year there was some drama when Catalina was selected over Larisa for Rio… the two used to be very close but they unfollowed and unfriended each other on social media, posted some photos and captions that many fans of both gymnasts took to be jabs at the other…apparently the other gymnasts and coaches also took sides, and Catalina even publicly called them out for not being supportive of her and talking behind her back. In addition, fans of both gymnasts were being very nasty about them during the whole process, even writing these comments on their social medias… Larisa’s fans were saying even that Catalina would not make any finals or medal and that her comeback was selfish and she doesn’t care at all about the team, while Catalina’s fans kept saying Larisa would just fall on beam and embarrass Romania like she (according to them) did in Glasgow… I think for both girls the whole process was very stressful, also with the division on the team caused by the Romania Federation and how the selection was unprofessionally handled, on top of that they were receiving many negative comments from people around them.

        Now, it seems as they have forgiven each other for any wrongs. At Euros Larisa and Catalina re-followed each other, and took photographs together. There was also videos of them laughing with each other at Easter time, and they seemed very supportive of the other during qualifications and beam final. They hugged quite a few times, and on a video the federation posted on facebook when Catalina was hugging her coach after beam Larisa grabbed her hand and held it before they too hugged – very cute. There still may be lingering tension between these girls but they seem more united.


  2. jura and ocolisan recover after injury, maybe they are recovered, i would say holbura has more international experience than others but i wouldn’t be surprised if some of the new girls goes, depending on how they look
    ciurusniuc..she looks good on beam and bars..u never know


    • She just came back to training. She tore her Achilles last year and then was temporarily removed from the national training center so she could recover.


      • Wow I am surprised that Bulimar is back in training with all the injury problems she has – I hope her body can cope with training.


  3. Will we see Ponor and Iordache leading Romania stil 2036? LOL. Kinda sad how this two are still the leading gymnasts of Romania and no other junior gymnasts are arising to their level.


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