Marcela Torres, the 29-year-old three-time Swedish national champion who retired in 2016 but then made a stunning comeback this summer, won all five gold medals in the senior competition at this year’s Mälarcupen in Åkeshov over the weekend.
In the international competition that also featured gymnasts from Scotland, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, Torres posted a 51.350 — her best of the season — to earn a decisive all-around win nearly four points ahead of the rest of the field.
Torres, representing All Star Gymnastics of Stockholm, hit all four events very well, especially with her solid tsuk full on vault and her beautiful, near-perfect floor set. On beam, she showed huge upgrades, with her routine now worth a 5.0, up half a point from when she first came back. She hit her all-around set with some wobbles throughout, performing a split leap to side aerial, side somi, two sideways jumps (a split half and a straddle half), back handspring layout, and a stuck gainer layout, but overall looked very strong and with some more work on her new skills, she could be an incredible help to Sweden at team events in the future.
She performed solid sets on bars and floor in event finals, narrowly winning the bars medal by a tenth and the floor title by two tenths. She had a big tsuk full with a step back and out-of-bounds to start out her vault final performance, but despite crashing her second vault — the handspring front tuck half — she still ended up with the gold, averaging a 12.725, and she also won gold on beam with a fall in a final full of falls and mistakes from every competitor.
I love seeing Torres back in competition, especially with so many of Sweden’s top gymnasts having retired in the past couple of years. With her age and experience, Torres provides a level of leadership that the team will desperately need going forward, especially next fall when they try to qualify a full team to the 2019 world championships.
A young group of Scottish girls finished behind Torres, with Sofia Ramzan winning the silver medal, Megan Morrison winning bronze, and Caitlin Lochhead placing fourth in her first international competition. All three will likely be hoping for spots on next year’s Commonwealth Games team, and this was a solid way to get them prepared for the trials they’ll face coming up.
Ramzan had a mostly good day, with floor a real standout, her 13.05 there helping her to a 47.650 overall. Bars was the only event that really gave her trouble, but she made the final and won the bronze medal anyway, and she repeated her excellent work on floor to earn a 12.95 for the silver in finals.
Morrison and Lochhead, both still technically juniors but allowed to compete in the senior competition here as they become seniors in 2018, kind of complement each other well, with Morrison looking at her strongest on bars and beam while Lochhead was solid on vault and floor. Morrison’s difficulty is quite low across the board, but she is really polished in her work, while Lochhead showed an impressive level of difficulty — especially on beam and floor — but just needs to clean up a tiny bit for it to pay off.
The two were super close in terms of scores, with Morrison earning a 45.650 and Lochhead getting a 45.350, impressive considering their overall lack of experience. Each made a final as well, with Morrison winning the beam bronze with a 10.5 while Lochhead finished fourth on floor with an 11.75.
Rounding out the top eight were Wilma Malin of Tampereen Voimistelijat (Finland) in fifth with a 44.950, Anna Salmi of Espoon Telinetaiturit (Finland) in sixth with a 43.500, Tova Jönsson of Tidaholms (Sweden) in seventh with a 42.400, and Sigrun Sigurdardottir of Armann (Iceland) in eighth with a 42.250.
Of these, both Salmi and Jönsson had great performances on floor on the first day of competition, Sigurdardottir finished fourth in the vault final, and Malin actually had a mostly good day aside from a rather disastrous bars set that held her back from the podium. She came back stronger in event finals to get the silver medals on vault and bars, improving her bars a great deal to earn an 11.5.
Tira Kuitunen of Espoon Telinetaiturit (Finland) only competed bars and beam on day one, making both finals to place fourth on bars before nabbing the silver on beam with a 10.9, Sofia Malmgren of Hammarbygymnasterna (Sweden) won the bronze on floor for her excellent set, which earned a 12.7, and Karoline Bjerk of Oslo Turnforening (Norway) hit two beautiful but low-difficulty vaults, putting up a 12.425 average for the bronze.
Finland’s Lilian Langenskiöld, representing her gym Espoon Telinetaiturit, ended up edging out teammate Enni Kettunen for the gold medal in the junior all-around final. She hit all four events to earn a 47.900 while Kettunen showed tremendous routines on beam and floor, but couldn’t fight back from multiple mistakes on bars, posting a 47.500 for the silver.
Both girls will reach the senior level in 2018, adding to Finland’s depth along with several other strong juniors moving up. In addition to their all-around medals, both saw event final success, with Langenskiöld winning the silver on bars while Kettunen won the bronze on beam and the silver on floor.
Edel Fosse of Norway, representing her gym Nidaros Turn, won the bronze medal in the all-around with a 46.650 after a really rough performance on beam, a bummer as she could’ve easily won this title. But Fosse, who also becomes a senior next year, ended up winning two golds in event finals, posting an 11.9 on bars and a 12.55 on floor, showing great work on both. She also finished fourth on vault, where she had two of the cleanest attempts and finished less than two tenths away from gold, but her lower difficulty couldn’t match that of the strongest vaulters in the group.
Aside from Fosse, the Finnish juniors swept the top ten, with the field rounded out by Helmi Tuohimäki of Tampereen Sisu in fourth with a 46.600, Finnish junior national champion Ada Hautala of Pyrintö in fifth with a 46.150, Viivi Nieminen of Jyväskylän Voimistelijat in sixth with a 45.350, Nitta Nieminen of Tampereen Voimistelijat in seventh with a 45.200, Anna Jäväjä of Oulun Pyrintö in eighth with a 45.100, Nilla Kaleva of Espoon Telinetaiturit in ninth with a 44.800, and Liila Kinnunen of Oulun Pyrintö in tenth with a 44.400.
In event finals, Hautala won the gold on vault with two excellent attempts for a 12.825 average, while Kaleva won the silver with a 12.8 and Sweden’s Cecilia Wrangdahl of Stockholm Top Gymnastics won bronze with a 12.75 in this closely fought battle. After Fosse and Langenskiöld on bars was Sara Loikas of Espoon Telinetaiturit (Finland) with a 10.5 for bronze, while Iceland’s Vigdis Palmadottir of Fimleikafelagid Björk was fourth with a 10.3.
The Swedish gymnast Nadja Olsson of Hammarbygymnasterna won the beam title with a 12.2, followed by Hautala with an 11.65 for silver, Kettunen with the bronze, and Iceland’s Emilia Sigurjonsdottir of Fimleikafelagid Björk in fourth, and after Fosse and Kettunen on floor, Kaleva won the bronze with a 12.45 while Palmadottir was fourth with a 10.8.
Full results from the competition are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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