Mar 112016

The 2016 Junior Cup of the International Gymnix competition has been probably the strongest of the last decade – as it gathered some of the most valuable juniors from the USA, Russia, Romania, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France and Belgium.
This was the second important test for the current top Romanian juniors, after the 2015 EYOF, and proved that their level is still not as high as we hoped for. However, the gymnasts training today in Deva show great talent and a level of difficulty and accuracy in execution that outranks the previous generations. While there is still an obvious difference of technical value – if compared especially with the American or Russian gymnasts, the Romanian team also seems to struggle in finding the necessary emotional strength during competitions, which causes low E-scores due to hesitations, and sometimes even for sloppy artistic elements.
At the end of the day we hope this will prove to be a useful experience in building a stronger team, capable to minimize the weaknesses and cleverly use all potential. The Romanian gymnastics is going through a difficult moment at this time, and this situation should be managed with competence and vision. Let Gymnix trigger a “remix”! Improvement is definitely possible, with confidence and courage!

Here is the 2016 Gymnix story as seen by Daniela, friend of Puzzlegym and supporter of the Romanian team in the Montreal arena:

Four gymnasts of the Cetate Deva club, and members of the national junior team, competed March 3rd-6th in an international cup that took place in Montreal, Canada.
Ioana Crisan, Olivia Campian, Alisia Botnaru and Denisa Golgota, and their reputed coaches Nicolae Forminte and Liliana Cosma represented Romania with honors, earning two bronze medals and a well deserved 4th place in the event finals of a competition that had at start the most important juniors from the USA, Russia, Romania, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France and Belgium.
In the teams final Romania got the 5th place.
As expected in an event of this level, with gymnasts coming from teams that have clearly proved their great value for several years, the competition was extremely strong. The routines presented in the international contest included the Amanar valut, the Arabian on balance beam, the Shaposhnikova on uneven bars – elements of high value for the world-elite gymnasts.

Team Romania

Olivia Cimpian’s floor routine impressed the audience with its elegance. After having qualified in on first position (score: 14.125), she was third in the event final (score: 13.600), after the impressive Emma Malabuyo from the USA (14.350) and Ana Padurariu (13.950) from Canada.
Alisia Botnaru had a sharp beam execution that also brought her the bronze medal (13.775), and competed in the floor final as well. The gold medal in the beam final went to the same Emma Malabuyo from the USA, for a routine of a difficulty worthy of a medal position in any major senior competition: 6.5.
Denisa Golgota threw a very well executed DTY in the vault final (E-score: 8.8), and got the 4th place, less than 0.2 points behind the podium.
Ioana Crisan also had valuable routines, especially on beam (D-score 5.9). Although she was hesitant in qualifications and did not make it to the finals, Ioana showed a good effort, with a very high Tkachev on uneven bars, and a remarkable easiness in her FTY.

© Daniela Zaria

© Daniela Sburlea

In the teams-final Romania lost the podium on uneven bars. Even so it was refreshing to notice a clear improvement in the difficulty level of the Romanian bars routines. Two out of four gymnasts fell on this apparatus, however, three of them included the Pak-salto, two of them used the full-in dismount, and Olivia Campian added a Maloney.

What is not to be ignored?

We certainly cannot ignore the continuously higher level of competition coming from a variety of countries.
Not only have the teams traditionally medaling in gymnastics kept their position on the podium (the uneven bars final winner came, as expected, from Russia: Anastasia Iliankova (14.300) but the teams from Canada, Japan, or Belgium, also performed remarkably. Kiko Kuwajima (JAP) earned a 9.1 E-score for her DTY, while her beam routine is worth a 6.0 D-score – which is also the case for Ana Padurariu and Jade Chrobok of Canada. Soyoka Hanawa (JAP) also has a 5.9 D-score on beam and Laurette Charpy (FRA) has a 5.8 D-score on bars.
International Gymnix included this year a senior competition in which Sae Miyakawa (JAP) showed her 6.4 D-value floor routine and a Cheng vault. We should keep in mind that the Japanese gymnast was the second highest qualifier on floor at the 2015 Worlds, and is a major player for the Olympic final at this apparatus. Isabella Onyshko from Canada won the all-around final at Gymnix, with scores above 14.200 in all events. The splendid Eythora Thorsdottir (NED), very much admired for her great artistic presentation was also at Gymnix, and won a bronze on beam. We should not forget that the Netherlands team did qualify for Rio, while Romania, historically speaking, needs to go to the test event this year. The Belgium team – representing Romania’s rival in the attempt to qualify for Rio in just few weeks, performed remarkably. In the uneven bars final, Nina Derwael won the gold (14.375 and 6.3 D-score), Senna Derkis took the silver (14.175) and Laura Waem got 4th (14.000). Belgium also took the gold on floor with Axelle Klinkaert (14.275), and the silver on beam with Nina Derwael (13.975). This are the competitors of Diana Bulmar and Laura Jurca in the extremely important test-event.
It is therefore important to take into consideration this “globalization’’ tendency in gymnastics – as seen in the World Championships medals that proudly went lately to Vietnam or the Netherlands, while Mexico or the Dominican Republic are almost constantly present in the event finals. Larisa Iordache has to compete today in a context very different from the one of Gina Gogean’s time.
Moreover, we have to be aware that gymnastics enjoy a very high level of visibility in the media in countries like USA or Italy (movies, reality-shows, very active blogs that cover in real-time competitions form all over the world, huge sponsors etc. ) while in Romania many gymnastics clubs have to shut down their activity or cannot even cover the basic amenities.
With regret, we realize that many gymnastics fans from several countries are familiar with and follow the Romanian juniors more assiduously than many Romanian fans, keeping up-to-date with their achievements or evolution

Ioana Crisan, Olivia Campian,  Alisia Botnaru, and Denisa Golgota have already proved their value in international competitions and they have a potential that needs to be highlighted and appreciated. Not only their efforts and talent contribute to maintaining a tradition, but they also represent all those children who, given the opportunity, in a good context and guided by dedicated trainers, believe in themselves, explore their own resources, and reach high levels of performance.

Results of the Junior Cup event finals at the 2016 International Gymnix

1. Jordan Chiles (USA)
2. Deanne Soza (USA)
3. Kiko Kuwajima (JPN)

1. Anastasiia Iliankova (RUS)
2. Gabby Perea (USA)
3. Deanne Soza (USA)

1. Emma Malabuyo (USA)
2. Varvara Zubova (RUS)
3. Alisia Botnaru (ROM)

1. Emma Malabuyo (USA)
2. Ana Padurariu (CAN)
3. Olivia Cimpian (ROM)

Daniela Sburlea for Puzzlegym

-article written before the sudden news of Larisa Iordache’s injury, news which dramatically changes Romania’s chances for Rio qualification-

 Posted by on March 11, 2016