Raluca Haidu, also known as Pitic, (which seems to mean dwarf) has left the senior National Team and returned to Deva. The article translates as 'out of calculations for maintaining the best team in the country', which must mean out of contention for being part of the squad for Rio 2016. It does not mention whose decision this was. Or indeed, if it truly is a permanent fixture. After all, Romania are short on elites and it's not out of the question that an improved Raluca could transfer back to Izvorani. This news comes on top of the retirement of Catalina Ponor, Gabriella Dragoi, Diana Chelaru, Amelia Racea and Ana Porgras, all within the last year. They are left with Larisa Iordache, Diana Bulimar, Sandra Izbasa (no news to the contrary), Daniela Andrei and the three new seniors- Stefania Alina Stanila, Ana Maria Ocalisan and Maria Rauta. Raluca, the adorable star of the documentary The Secrets Of Deva has struggled somewhat as a senior, with her most useful event, bars, not being one she could score overly high on. She also seems to have struggled with her mental game. Nevertheless, she had a lot of potential and is one of those gymnasts that sparkled and drew people in to her personality- she will be missed if she never returns.
In the same batch of news, several juniors (and brand new seniors) have been training at Izvorani at the invitation of Bellu and Bitang, in the hopes of being selected to train there permanently in preparation for Rio. The camp is still ongoing, but so far Madalina Blendea, Andreea Iridon (she can SWING BARS and is training a Memmel on beam) Andreea Munteanu, Asiana Peng, Stefania Stanila and Ana Maria Ocalisan have been selected. I would also expect Laura Jurca and Silvia Zarzu to be selected- and Maria Rauta, if she is not there already. The squad for Rio, the article and common sense claims, will be built around Iordache and Bulimar. Sadly, the best juniors will not be senior just yet- none of the new seniors are particularly impressive, or at least, have not shown themselves to be yet. Zarzu and Munteanu are 2014, Iridon and Blendea are 2015, and Peng is 2016. Let's hope Romania can continue to shine with the impressive talent they still have in their ranks.
In totally different news, Jesolo will have event finals this year! This relatively small meet which is not important, always attracts a great lineup. It also gets a full USA team, one of the very few competitions outside of the US that they participate in. Last year saw Sarah Finnegan, Elizabeth Price, Mckayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Rebecca Bross, Brenna Dowell, McKayla Skinner and Kyla Ross for the USA, along with Anastasia Grishina, Anna Rodionova, Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito. Jesolo is also a great opportunity for a good look at Junior talent.