Welcome back to Junior Introductions! Today we’re bringing you a look at 13-year-old Maily Planckeel, a French gymnast who ended her espoir career with an all-around win at Tournoi International and will be one of the key juniors for France this year.
Maily’s first meet at the elite level came at the age of 11, at the junior competition at the Swiss Cup where she placed dead last in the all-around after getting a zero on vault. A few weeks later, she finished second in the espoir division at Elite Gym Massilia, and it’s all been uphill from there.
She competed in her first French Championships in 2018, placing 14th in the espoir field and winning silver on floor, and then she earned a spot at that year’s Tournoi International, where she had a strong competition to place fourth all-around, where she also won the bronze on beam and the gold on floor.
Maily also got a ton of Top 12 league experience in the winter of 2018 and 2019, and her work helping her club there helped her see a big overseas debut, which came at Gymnix last year. Since the meet doesn’t follow FIG age rules for juniors, she was able to make her debut in the junior field there, and she celebrated a 19th-place all-around finish alongside her 13th birthday, which happened in the same weekend.
At last year’s nationals, Maily was fourth all-around in the espoir division, also finishing second on bars and floor, and without the difficulty bonuses used at this competition, she would’ve nabbed the titles on both in addition to the all-around title. She made the Mediterranean Championships team in the fall, finishing tenth all-around and helping France to the team bronze, she was 12th at the Swiss Cup Juniors meet, she won all-around gold, bars silver, and floor bronze in the junior division at Tournoi International, and she finished her busy international tour at Massilia, where she was 20th all-around and seventh on bars in a final that also included seniors.
On vault, Maily typically does a Yurchenko layout, though she ends up looking like she’s in a bit of an open pike at times, and I’ve seen it get credited as a pike at several meets. Her bars difficulty also isn’t super high…she has a piked Jaeger, but the rest of her skills mostly just run through the basics, and she dismounts with a double pike, though it’s pretty open and definitely upgrade-able.
Maily has brought a bit more difficulty on beam. She has a nice front aerial to split jump, as well as some really strong solo acro skills like a side aerial and side somi, and she’s attempted a back handspring to tuck full series, but it hasn’t been super successful and I think she more often ends up doing just a tuck. Her dismount right now is just a layout full, though I can see her getting a double once she enters the junior scene.
Floor is definitely Maily’s strongest and most consistent event. Her double pike and double tuck are both clean, generally with solid landings, though I think she’s trying to figure things out with her front salto pass…at one point, she was going for a 2½ to punch front tuck as her opening pass, though the landing there was a bit weak, and later in the year she had a front tuck through to layout full, which she moved to the end of her routine after her two double saltos. This is obviously a bit more manageable, though it took her difficulty level down a bit.
She also brings some huge dance skills and series on floor, like an L hop full to hop full pirouette through to a tour jeté full, double L turn to illusion, a lovely Memmel turn, and a triple turn in front attitude, which was a major upgrade for her at the end of last year.
Maily’s still super young, turning 14 this year, so she has two junior seasons ahead of her, which gives her time to figure out where she can add value and what she’ll need to work on to become a threat as a senior. For now, she’ll have the European Championships coming up as key goal, which would be a great jumping off point for her to prove herself for the second junior world championships in 2021.
In her first French national championships at the junior level this year, she’ll have a whole hoard of strong 2005-born gymnasts to contend against, like Clarisse Passeron, Taïs Boura, Lilou Besson, Djenna Laroui, Emma Cozzi, and Silane Mielle, and then of course there’s Kaylia Nemour, who beat her for the espoir title last year thanks to her immense difficulty bonuses. I do think Maily could be in the top five, however, especially if she can just hit. She’s not as flashy as some of the rest on this list, but she’s one of the more consistent, and that could bode well for her.
Why We Love Her
She serves up some major choreo on floor, and she’s good at it, too, despite her young age. I do think there’s room for her to become a stronger performer, but for now she has the moves down, and she really seems to get it, making great shapes with her body and giving us some contemporary-style flexed feet extension, but in a way that actually works within the routine and isn’t just there to be trendy. She moves well throughout her routines instead of looking weird and disjointed as many would with this style of choreography, and that’s because she can actually dance.
Her turns on floor are also beyond her years. Her extension in her Memmel turn is fabulous, and she has generally strong extension in her leaps as well, and then of course, I love that she’s going for super difficult turns, like the triple in front attitude, which most seniors wouldn’t even dream of going for.
What to Watch
Here’s her floor routine from Tournoi International, which has the easier front salto pass, but it’s one of her better-executed routines from last year, and I think it’s one of her better-performed routines as well (though it’s hard to see her facial expressions). I especially love the choreo sequence after her switch leap to ring leap series…pretty much right from the leaps up to the moment the routine finishes, honestly.