The C Score (2.0)

Archive for December 2nd, 2008

It used to be that Russia desperately wanted to be like France. Remember Peter and Catherine the Great? St. Petersburg? All those Russians hanging out in Paris in the 19th century?

Now it’s France’s turn. A whole crop of young Russian gymnasts are in France for the annual “gala” of St. Petersburg gymnasts, held in Dreux on November 29th, and the Tournoi d’Arques, to be held this weekend.

Olga Vilkova

Olga Vilkova

Naturally, one Russian competitor stands out above the rest: Junior European Champion Tatiana Nabieva. Everyone was excited to see her in Dreux, but she has a (relatively minor) heel injury, and only did an exhibition on bars to rest herself a bit for Arques. Meanwhile, Ekaterina Kramarenko was also present and looking happy. Olga Alexeeva, Polina Miller, Diana Sapronova, Irina Sazona and the tiny Olga Vilkova (twelve years old, in her international debut) also participated at Dreux. Vilkova is totally adorable, though I don’t know much about her.

These girls will also move next to Arques, along with Ekaterina Krilova, Alina Ribalova and Ksenia Povilaynen.

They’ll be joined there by gymnasts from a number of other countries, as listed here on the Web site of the FFG.

There are lots of lesser-known (to say the least) gymnastics countries, including for instance Algeria. However, we’ll also see Georgiana Gheorghe and Madalina Neagu of Romania and supposedly gymnasts from Canada and Brazil, although that is unconfirmed. As you can see from the poster, the tournament directors are not playing down Nabieva’s presence.

Gheorghe was third in the Romanian Junior Nationals Category III competition this year, after Andreea Tufa and Larisa Iordache. Neagu was second in Category II, behind Diana Bulimar.

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The FIG has released a list of the qualifiers for the World Cup Final who have confirmed their participation plus the next gymnasts down the list who will be invited. The lists are prettty much as predicted.

The World Cup Final will take place December 12-14 in Madrid

The World Cup Final will take place December 12-14 in Madrid

Vault:

Participants are Cheng Fei, Elena Zamolodchikova, Jana Komrskova, Ariella Kaeslin and Dorina Boczogo.

The next three down the list are Hong Su Jong, Aagje Vanwalleghem and Olga Sherbatykh I’m thinking we can count out Hong (Hong Un Jong has already said she would not participate, and while I realize they are not the same person, it seems like a good predictor). Sherbatykh is also out. Vanwalleghem is likely to compete, which moves Hong Mi Kang (ranked 18th) into the last qualifying position. She recently took first on vault at the 2008 Asian Games.

Uneven bars:

According to the FIG, Dariya Zgoba has confirmed her participation, which makes Zgoba, He Kexin, Jana Sikulova, Yang Yilin and Anastasia Koval the qualifiers.

The next invitees are Jiang Yuyuan, Vanessa Ferrari and Iryna Krasnianska. Jiang will almost definitely participate, Ferrari is definitely out, and I’ve heard that Krasnianska is probably out too. The first replacement would be He Ning (17th) and the second is … Koko Tsurumi (18th)!

Beam:

Fei qualified first onto beam (as well as vault and floor) and is followed by Sandra Izbasa, Li Shanshan, Yulia Lozhecko and Daniele Hypolito. Hypolito has already confirmed her participation, though Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is actually ranked above her.

Although Hopfner-Hibbs curiously declined her invitation on bars, she has expressed a desire to compete on beam if qualified, but rumor has it that she has already decided against participating because of final exams, etc. The next two invitees are Lauren Mitchell and Deng Linlin. I am curious about the Li confirmation, because she had been sent back to train with her provincial team. I presume, though, that the FIG did not get this wrong (though stranger things have happened). Even if Hopfner-Hibbs competes, we probably still have one place left because Deng is rumoerd to be injured. Next on the list is Lenika de Simone (18th), whose participation (if I’m not mistaken) would put Naomi Ruiz out of contention on floor, because Spain is only allowed to nominate a competitor if they have no other qualifiers. Should de Simone decline, next up would be Zgoba (19th), qualified and confirmed on bars, and Alina Kozich (21st), who is qualified and confirmed on floor too.

Floor:

Koko Tsurumi could be in on two WCF events

Koko Tsurumi could be in on two WCF events

Fei is first, followed by Izbasa — just like beam (which is exciting!). They are followed by Jiang, Kozich, Suzanne Harmes and Hypolito.

Zamolodchikova is first on the next list of invitees, and will undoubtedly participate. Patricia Moreno is next and retired, so that’s not happening. That leaves one spot to fill on floor, which could theoretically go to Daria Joura (16th), but the most likely competitor is Tsurumi, who is now likely qualified for two events!

It’s shaping up to be a good final, presuming everyone makes it to Madrid with no further injuries. I’m predicting Cheng on vault and beam and Izbasa on floor, but I don’t put much stock in my own predictions. I’m still calling He on bars. I’m doubting will see any major upsets.

It would be nice to see Zamolodchikova on the podium, but I think it’s a long-shot. Kaeslin has a decent shot at a medal on vault. The bars final could easily go Chinese 1-2-3 with He Kexin, Yang and Jiang. I have no idea about what kind of shape Li is in, but she could definitely compete on beam, as could Mitchell, though I have them competing for bronze with Cheng and Izbasa in the top two spots. On floor, Kozich could squeeze in for a medal, but I would expect Jiang to take third.


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

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