Russians Win Every Reykjavik Session

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Russia’s Khristina Kalinina, Anna Kalmykova, Diana Kustova, and Varvara Batalova

The attendance at this year’s Reykjavik International Games was a bit weaker than we’ve seen in recent years, attracting fewer of the bigger names from outside of Iceland, but we saw several promising performances throughout the competition in addition to getting a few glimpses at some of Iceland’s top competitors.

The Russian gymnasts attending the meet with their club were the all-around champions in the senior, junior, and espoir divisions, with Varvara Batalova taking the senior title with a 45.900, Khristina Kalinina winning the junior gold with a 48.450, and Anna Kalmykova topping the espoir field with a 47.800, while teammate Diana Kustova finished second with a 47.250.

Batalova posted the top scores on beam and floor to secure her win, fighting past some weaker sets on her first two events to manage to come out on top nearly two points ahead of the rest of the competition, which included Vigdis Palmadottir of Iceland winning the silver with a 44.150 in her senior debut, Rebecca Geddis of Ireland winning the bronze with a 42.900, and her teammate Casey Bell in fourth with a 42.350 in her return to the all-around for the first time since 2016 after dealing with a series of injuries over the years.

Also notable in the senior field was Lisa-Katharina Hill, who competed on the German worlds team in 2014 and 2015. Hill won the gold on bars here as well as winning the bronze on beam, though she had somewhat weak performances on both. We also got a glimpse of two of Iceland’s 2018 world championships team members, Margret Kristinsdottir and Thelma Adalsteinsdottir, with Kristinsdottir taking the silver on beam with a 12.250. Additionally, worlds alternate Andrea Orradottir won the silver on vault with a 12.600, and Tinna Teitsdottir, a member of the EYOF team in 2017, won the gold on vault with a 12.700.

A total of 32 juniors competed here, mostly from Iceland and Ireland, though Kalinina proved to be the strongest by nearly four points, sweeping all four event golds in addition to taking the all-around title here. Behind her on the podium were Ireland’s Abbie Corbett with a 44.950 for silver and her teammate Eve McGibbon with a 44.600 for bronze.

Emily Moorhead and Abbey Marshall of Ireland rounded out the top five with scores of 44.250 and 42.500, respectively, while Hera Gunnarsdottir was the top Icelandic gymnast in the standings with a 40.450 for sixth place.

In the espoir competition, Kalmykova and Kustova split the golds. Kalmykova, just ten years old, put up the top scores of the meet on bars and floor, with her floor routine actually the best in the entire competition, earning a 12.500, while 11-year-old Kustova was fantastic on vault and beam, putting up scores of 13.400 on both (again, higher than any senior or junior score on either event!) to take the titles, though unfortunately she had a series of falls on both bars and floor, holding her back considerably in the all-around. Even with the falls, however, she showed tremendous promise on both events, and with a fully hit day, she could easily reach above a 50 in the all-around, which is incredible for her age.

Iceland’s Sif Kvaran won the bronze with a 34.750 while Ragna Ragnarsdottir was fourth with a 34.050, each also taking two apparatus bronze medals apiece.

2018 world champion Artur Dalaloyan was expected to headline the men’s competition, but he ended up not performing, leaving the pretty depleted field even more wide open. Fellow Russian Ilia Pimanov ended up nearly sweeping to take the title with a 75.497, winning the gold on every event but vault, where the title went to Iran’s Mohammad Ramezanpour. The only other all-arounder here was Fintan Kelly of Ireland, who posted a 65.798.

The junior competition saw a bit more depth, and three Russians swept the podium, with Makhammadumar Mamadaliev in first with a 76.764, Timofei Prostakoy in second with a 75.731, and Vladislav Gudz in third with a 71.966.

Full results from the competition are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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