Challenge Cup Series Continues in Szombathely Tomorrow


Krisztofer Meszaros

Another weekend, another challenge cup! Though the competition won’t be as big or as extravagant as it was in Paris last weekend, we’re still going to see a number of top athletes contending on each apparatus, including a massively strong Hungarian team – though one of its top members will be missing.

European vault champion Zsofia Kovacs unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition here after dealing with a strained abdominal muscle while training last week. The injury – which also caused her to withdraw from the competition in Paris – is reportedly minor, with Kovacs and her coaches preferring to not risk anything here with world championships being the key focus.

Instead, first-year senior Lilla Makai will compete bars in her place, alongside Zoja Szekely, who will also compete on vault. The WAG team will also have Greta Mayer competing vault, beam, and floor, while Mirtill Makovits will compete on beam and floor, with Nikolett Szilagyi – seventh in the beam final at the Paris Challenge Cup – performing exhibition routines on vault and floor.

On the men’s side, we’ll see Krisztofer Meszaros on floor, pommels, and vault, Krisztian Balazs on p-bars and high bar, Benedek Tomcsanyi on pommels and rings, Botond Kardos on floor and p-bars, David Vecsernyes on high bar, and Balazs Kiss on rings, with exhibitions from Szabolcs Batori and Marton Kovacs.

The U.S. has three WAG athletes competing here, including Addison Fatta, Katelyn Jong, and Levi Jung-Ruivivar, all of whom will be outliers for making the worlds team, but should be in medal contention for pretty much every event in this field if they can hit in finals. Others to watch will include Maisa Kuusikko and Ada Hautala of Finland, with Kuusikko especially strong on bars while Hautala will hope to improve her consistency on beam and floor in advance of worlds, while the Canadians, Jessica Dowling and Sydney Turner, will also be standouts across the board.

There’s also Teja Belak of Slovenia on vault, Barbora Mokosova of Slovakia on bars, Natalia Escalera of Mexico on vault and bars, Paulina Campos of Mexico on bars and beam, Aneta Holasova of the Czech Republic who should be at her strongest on vault and floor (but I’m hoping she’ll hit beam here after struggling a bit in recent months), her teammate Lucie Trnkova on beam and floor, and Ada Ogieglo of Poland on floor, where her score won’t be super high but she’ll have one of the more fabulous routines among these athletes here.

For the men, Ukraine will have Illia Kovtun back in business on every apparatus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made every final. I’m also going to be paying attention to Artem Dolgopyat of Israel on floor and vault along with his teammate Alexander Myakinin on high bar, Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan on floor and high bar and his teammate Nariman Kurbanov on pommels, Heath Thorpe of Australia on floor, his teammate Vedant Sawant on pommels, Matvei Petrov of Albania on pommels, Ahmad Abu Al Soud of Jordan on pommels (are we sensing a theme here?), Vinzenz Höck of Austria on rings, and Ivan Dejanovic of Serbia on high bar.

I also generally love watching Alexander Benda of Austria and David Huddleston of Bulgaria on everything, and the Brits here, Pavel Karnejenko and Adam Tobin, should also be strong across the board, and though Japan has sent a “B team” here, we’re going to see a ton of high-scoring routines from all of these guys, especially with Hiramatsu Koga on floor, Yoshida Motomu on high bar, and Haruki Minori on rings and p-bars. Taiwan also has a really strong team here, with execution king Tang Chia-Hung, Shiao Yu-Jan, and Lin Guan-Yi all going to make waves.

When’s It Happening?

Here’s the complete schedule, along with links to start lists. All times are local to Szombathely (CEST), which is six hours ahead of ET.

3:00 pm WAG & MAG Qualifications
3:00 pm WAG VT & UB Finals
MAG FX, PH & SR Finals
3:00 pm WAG BB & FX Finals
MAG VT, PH & HB Finals

How Can We Watch?

Both qualifications and finals will be streamed live on the Hungarian Federation’s website (they usually embed the stream at the top of the homepage). You may need a VPN to watch, but you may not, so…prepare just in case you do? 🙂

Right now, there is no information available about live scores, but we’ll be live blogging every round of the competition and will share scores as they come in on the stream.

The Competitors

Here’s the official roster of all competitors expected to compete.

Matvei Petrov
Jose Caballero
Marcus Casamento
Alan Osman
Vedant Sawant
Kiplin Smith
Heath Thorpe
Alexander Benda
Xheni Dyrmishi
Vinzenz Höck
Ricardo Rudy
Daniel Zander
Yordan Aleksandrov
Dimitar Dimitrov
David Huddleston
Mathieu Csukassy
Charles-Etienne Legare
Leandre Sauve
Jessica Dowling
Sydney Turner
Marko Sambolec
Mateo Zugec
Tijana Korent
Nika Kukuljan Frleta
Sara Sulekic
Tina Zelcic
Ondrej Kalny
Radomir Sliz
Aneta Holasova
Lucie Trnkova
Ada Hautala
Maisa Kuusikko
Pavel Karnejenko
Adam Tobin
Lee Man Hin
Ng Ka Ki
Vanessa Wong
Krisztian Balazs
Botond Kardos
Balazs Kiss
Krisztofer Meszaros
Benedek Tomcsanyi
David Vecsernyes
Szabolcs Batori (exhibition)
Marton Kovacs (exhibition)
Lilla Makai
Mirtill Makovits
Greta Mayer
Zoja Szekely
Nikolett Szilagyi (exhibition)
Artem Dolgopyat
Pavel Gulidov
Ilia Liubimov
Alexander Myakinin
Uri Zeidel
Emata Azusa
Haruki Minori
Hiramatsu Koga
Tanabe Soichiro
Yoshida Motomu
Ahmad Abu Al Soud
Saleem Naghouj
Ilyas Azizov
Milad Karimi
Nariman Kurbanov
Dmitriy Patanin
Isaac Nuñez Paulina Campos
Natalia Escalera
Mathieu Clatin
Daniel Stoddart
Anna Gemza
Emilia Kulczynska
Ada Ogieglo
Ivan Dejanovic
Dusan Djordjevic
Petar Velickovic
Matej Nemcovic Barbora Mokosova
Sara Surmanova
Anze Hribar Teja Belak
Thierno Diallo
Jorge Rubio
Hung Yuan-Hsi
Lin Guan-Yi
Shiao Yu-Jan
Tang Chia-Hung
Tseng Wei-Sheng
Yeh Cheng
Lai Pin-Ju
Pantely Kolodii
Illia Kovtun
Mykyta Melnykov
Addison Fatta
Katelyn Jong
Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Ahmed Saleh Al Kumami
Mahmood Abdullah Al Maolegi
Abdulaziz Al Maswari
Muaadh Abdullah Dehaq

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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