Monday, 30 September 2013

Worlds post #1

This is a big posting gap at such an important time of year but it's been a very busy week and I don't even know how I'm going to squash watching quals (archived) in. Anyway, the start list is out! Here.  

Subdivisions 1 and 2 will compete tomorrow, the other three on Wednesday. Here's a little breakdown of the ones to watch from each:

Subdivision 1- Kyla Ross, Zeng Siqi, Huang Huidan, Sophie Scheder, Stefania Alina Stanila, Sanne Wevers, Kaitlyn Hofland, Maegan Chant, Hong Un Jong.
Subdivision 2- Yao Jinnan, Rebecca Tunney, Elizabeth Seitz, Anna Rodionova, Mai Murakami, Jessica Lopez, Yu Minobe.
Subdivision 3- Simone Biles, Shang Chunsong, Tatiana Nabieva, Noel Van Klaveren, Phan Thi Ha Thanh, Oksana Chusovitina, Ilaria Kaeslin, Carlotta Ferlito.
Subdivision 4- McKayla Maroney, Aliya Mustafina, Roxana Popa, Noemi Makra, Ruby Harrold, Larisa Iordache, Vanessa Ferrari, Natsumi Sasada, Elsabeth Black.
Subdivision 5- Sandra Izbasa, Victoria Moors, Hannah Whelan, Giulia Steingruber, Asuka Teramoto, Chantysha Netteb, Kirsten Beckett, Vasiliki Millousi, Marta Pihan-Kulesza.

I am really disgusted Brenna Dowell is not competing, even just on bars. Once the team was named, that should have been it. Yes it was known Marta had the other three doing the AA in mind but this is leaving it cruelly late, after she had been training in Antwerp for several days. Her interview where she is clearly upset attests to the unfairness of this decision. Ideally I would like all four to do the all-around, sigh. Anyway, McKayla Maroney is so unlikely to qualify into the all-around anyway, whereas Brenna stood a chance of qualifying to bars final, and picking up valuable experience along the way.

Russia have had more of a shakeup, Anna Rodionova will now compete AA - and so will Tatiana Nabieva, who was in question after hitting her head on floor. Aliya Mustafina will do two vaults, the second of which is her old one which looked in podium training to be too tucked to be credited as laidout. It will be really interesting to see how qualifications goes for her, since she seemed 50/50 in podium training, with issues on bars of all things.

There are three super-scary vaults, Fadwa Mahmoud's and Yamilet Pena's Produnovas, and Hong Un Jong's triple twisting Yurchenko. I can hardly wait to watch through my hands if any or all qualify to vault finals. It will be kind of hilarious if Hong Un Jong successfully completes the TTY and steals some American thunder. Other interesting submitted elements are Shang Chunsong's piked Hindorff, Simone Biles' double layout half out (and mystery Weiler 1/1 on bars which she has not been seen doing) and Aliya Mustafina's triple Y turn.

Victoria Moors' is back in the all-around! She hasn't appeared in the list to do it ever since they started coming out and then it was confirmed she wouldn't be doing it as she hadn't gotten her DTY back. Either it's solid now or they're going to use the FTY.

The all-around looks like a serious battle! Simone Biles is on fire, even controlling her energy on floor as we have seen. Aliya Mustafina has some upgrades though- but seems tired and/or not in the best of health and although I would agree that she always trains worse than she competes and that she shows full mettle when she needs to- she has also really sucked on beam in competition. It doesn't look like Shang Chunsong has brought a DTY to the table (see what I did there) but as I have said, she is still a big contender. Kyla Ross has added a connection on beam which brings her to 6.1 there, infinitely better than 5.7/8 but still so low. Hopefully she can hit both in competition. Yao Jinnan does not look like she has the goods to really fight in the all-around, though absolutely on bars. The jury is out on Larisa Iordache, who has her Silivas back in action and is attempting the quad turn on floor, but has been very inconsistent on beam in training.

Difficulty looks like this at the moment:

Aliya Mustafina- 25.1. 25.3 if she does the quad turn and triple Y spin on floor, 25.4 if she connects the triple Y to a single Y. I'd be surprised if she hit them all.
Simone Biles- 25
Larisa Iordache- 25..though I think floor is more likely to get 6.2, so 24.8.
Shang Chunsong- 24.7, full beam and bars would be nice.
Yao Jinnan- 24.6
Kyla Ross- 24

The amount of injuries and mishaps is frightening. Russia in particular are cursed- Shelgunova, Komova, Sidorova, Grishina, Paseka, etc. etc. Nabieva's fall on her head and Mustafina having been recently ill and seen grabbing her knee today. A further two MAG have withdrawn from competition too.

That said, I could not be more excited that I'm going to Antwerp Friday morning! Our hotel has been bumped from a 3 star to a 4 star. Luckily they're practically on top of each other, but I blame pesky gymnasts! I will not be liveblogging, no laptop, and I want to see everything. There will be plenty of people doing quick hits etc. I might tweet a little bit though, I also intend to take videos of vault timers etc. and to maybe try get photos/autographs with gymnasts..

BBC (you need a British IP to watch online), USAG (US IP or @tunnelbear to watch, this one will be archived), Rai (Italy) and TVR1 (Romania I think) are going to broadcast the all-around and event finals. I believe French and Belgian channels are going to broadcast too, but that's all I know. Nobody is touching quals except USAG, who will livestream subdivisions 1, 3 and 4. These are likely to focus on the rotations the US girls are in. This footage will be archived, though may still need an IP blocker- there's one called tunnelbear which is supposed to be great. I can't watch live, pesky college. EDIT: I found a full list of broadcasters, here.

This is the best resource for links to videos I find, since their site is a mess to navigate. Other than the usual other sources, just in case you haven't heard about this one-  Agnes Suto's tumblr here. She is an Icelandic gymnast competing at worlds with some nice insight and background information. Sounds like a lovely humble person too.

Who are you rooting for in each final? Does Maroney stand a chance of getting a spot in AA finals? What skill are you most looking forward to seeing? Does the 'Moors' deserve an I? Who will be injured next? Can Russia actually preserve ANYONE?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Japan Jr and US training

No livestream emerged from Japan Junior, not that it would have been much good to me in the end when I discovered the AA started at 5am my time. Unfortunately, nobody was allowed to make videos either, and only two have emerged so far. First, results!

Unsurprisingly, Bailie Key won with a huge 58.4. Bailie fell on beam and still scored a 14 there. She scored a 15 on floor with a 6.1 routine, and nailed her DTY also, 15.05. It's so surprising to hear that Bailie fell..she counted no falls this year at Jesolo, Chemnitz, Classics or Nationals and the European competitions had event finals too. Despite the fall here, she still finished 1.5 points ahead of her nearest rival, continuing her streak of domination.

Sadly, Laurie Hernandez fell, paving the way to silver for the one who wasn't mentioned at all in the live tweets...Wang Yan! She has been dealing with an injury but appears to be fully recovered, scoring huge on vault and very respectable elsewhere..though I don't think she could have been at her best on floor and beam given her scores there, a bit lower than expected. Wang Yan has a DTT and Rudi under her belt belt (Rudi not consistent...yet) whereas most of her competitors will be doing a DTY and FTY, or even less. A great result for her after a disappointing National Games, and she's in a good position to take vault gold and place on beam.

I was very curious about how Laurie Hernandez' floor would score under international judging for the first time..not to worry, she got 14.7 for 5.9 difficulty. She came to grief as mentioned on bars but seems to have done well otherwise. Aleeza Yu of Canada snatched fourth place which was thrilling but unexpected, I hope a video or two of her appear despite the ban on them..after all, we do have two already.

Fifth-seventh place consist of Andreea Munteanu, Maria Bondareva and Maria Kharenkova. Andreea had hand surgery a while ago so as expected she wasn't at the top of her game, and her teammate Andreea Iridon had a bit of a nightmare with at least one fall and counting a piked yurchenko but she's also having issues with growth pain in her wrist. We don't know of any excuse for the fairly poor performances of the two Russians though. Kharenkova is slightly concerning given that she's turning senior in a few months. It's hard to see her excel as an all-arounder, but certainly she continues to show a lot of promise on beam and floor in particular. Bondareva is younger, and lovely, but her scores indicate that she hasn't really progressed- she seems to be in a rut. Hopefully both girls can advance with their gymnastics and not be struck down by the horror show that is Russian gymnastics politics (and health!) and a certain person/dragon.

Catherine Lyons was eighth, a respectable result given that she has lower difficulty than the girls of the top 4. She seems to have grown a lot but I'm very hopeful for her future, I see her as the elegant antithesis to powerhouses Tyesha Mattis, Amy Tinkler and Ellie Downie. Compatriot Georgia Mae Fenton has been dealing with injury unfortunately and as such only competed two events.

Here are some more snippets from Japan's gymnastics federation:

1) Key maybe did piked circle 1/1 stuck the tsk dismount 
2) Laurie fell on Ricna and didn't do Pak salto 
3) Janas almost fell off beam. 
4) Munteanu under rotated her triple twist on floor. 
5) Maybe Kharenkova did Arabian to jump 
6) Sae Miyagawa changed her first pass from "1 1/2 to dbl front" to "front layout to tuck dbl front" and maybe dlo 
7) Wakana Yasui upgraded her first pass to 2 1/2 to front layout, second pass to tuck full

I'm so happy Wang Yan had a great competition! I'll update with event finals results tomorrow.

This channel has videos of Munteanu and Kharenkova on floor, and hopefully more to be uploaded...You can see the breakdown of scores here and the list of event final orders here. Event finals will start in about 6 hours or so.

The US worlds team are currently training in the Netherlands. Here are some observations from Judith, who was present..this training session was open to the public, but like at US sessions, it didn't include floor tumbling or vault.

"Ok quick summary. Biles does a 2.5 wolf on beam now, I believe she nailed it every time. The bhs bhs layout is gone I think because she did bhs - loso. Full-in dismount. She did a double wolf on floor and added a front aerial. The girls didn't do any tumbling or vaulting so I can't say anything about that.
Kyla didn't change anything I believe. Looked solid on bars as usual and her beam too. No sign of the aerial cartwheel to loso or bhs-arabian. The switch ring - back tuck seems to be gone too, the back tuck is after the switch leap.
Brenna looked cleaner on UB and she hit the Tweddle - straddle back every time I think. After the straddle back she does a toe-on half but she had some trouble with that one. She also added the Maloney half back into her routine. Her beam was blah as usual. I believe she only did a double tuck dismount(2 bhs's) today instead of the double pike at Nats. I've seen her splits while sitting on the floor, and I don't think she can do a proper split....
McKayla didn't look so good on UB actually. I believe she starts with a weiler half on the low bar but she couldn't quite get it. maloney - pak, maloney half, gienger, piked jaeger, full turn, full-in dismount(not all of those were good) Her beam was ok, just not as clean and consistent as the others due to lack of training I think. front pike(puck..), bhs loso, front tuck, switch leap switch half, side aerial, eeh just the usual. I saw one double pike dismount from her, wasn't too hot. Apparently she cried a bit too but I didn't see it.
As a whole, the girls looked fit, strong and healthy and they looked focused. We were behind glass during beam and bars, but not for floor(dance-throughs and dance skills etc) and it was dead quiet."

Friday, 20 September 2013


Adjusting to a college timetable out of the blue is tough. Happily, the wait for Antwerp is flying by!

A new nominative registration list for Antwerp is out. You can find it here. Bear in mind it can change up to a day before competition starts, but I'd be very confident that this is basically it. The most notable change is the addition of Stefanie Alina Stanila of Romania. I'm delighted she's getting this great chance for experience, though of course it took the untimely injury of Diana Bulimar for this to happen. I know that Romania do not have fantastic funding and that is a big reason why we haven't seen their new seniors, but I still thought it was unfair. Anyway, her difficulty is too low to make an impact but she has potential I think. Other changes are the inclusion of Daria Matveyeva of Ukraine over the previously named Olesya Sazonova. I'm not sure why, but injury would be a good guess. We know that the swift replacement of Paula Vargas of Spain and Adriana Crisci of Italy is due to injury, and so is Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden's absence, while Elsa Garcia's has been confirmed as politics- sigh. I know people are baffled that Elisa Meneghini mised another chance to be named to the team but it seems they are preserving her and building her difficulty for next year, when she and Enus Mariani would be expected to become the new backbone of the team. Jade Barbosa has not been replaced, but she's out. Victoria Moors is still not down for vault, which is odd. There's a mistake with Italy's beam lineup by the way, Leolini is not doing beam.

Aliya Mustafina has new floor music! I love it, it's dramatic and the vocals are haunting. Suits her. She is or has been dealing with a virus which has impacted her training somewhat. Upgrades on bars, floor and beam were in training and a second vault (Lopez maybe?) but it's not clear now how much she will do of those.

Japan Junior is coming up fast, it starts on the 22nd! As mentioned, the lineup is amazing- Laurie Hernandez, Bailie Key, Andreea Iridon, Andreea Munteanu, Maria Bondareva, Maria Kharenkova, Catherine Lyons, Georgia Mae Fenton, Wang Yan etc. etc. Catherine Lyons has a nice boost going into this, she won 6 of a possible 6 medals at the School Games recently but I think her difficulty is too low to impact. The beauty of her beam and floor will be great though. I haven't heard anything about a stream yet, here's hoping. Edit- I just discovered the competitions will basically start at 5AM for me, so I won't be looking for a stream! If I see one mentioned I'll post it but I think this will be reliant on youtube videos from people who attend..

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Farewell to He Kexin and..the injury list

Copyright- A'Min, Guo Chen- Xinhua news agency
After a long (for a female gymnast) and fruitful career, He Kexin bid farewell to gymnastics today. The winner of multiple titles on bars- including Olympic, world and National Games- had a mishap on her final routine, where she lost it on a turn on the low bar and came off. Unbelievably, she managed to smile at her own misfortune and gracefully saluted the crowd afterwards. She will be much missed.

Here is her final routine. The jumbotron at the end shows roughly (not my translation of course, but a very accurate source!) "From the National Sports Arena (Beijing gym venue) to the O2, we've watched your brilliant performances. Today, we hope to see your radiant smile as you perform the final routine of your career. He Kexin, UB queen forever!"

And one of her best.

;( What a truly phenomenal bars worker.

And of course, there's more sad news. The injury list has grown to include Diana Bulimar. Diana was winning medals at Interland last week, but had knee surgery yesterday. It doesn't sound too serious, but the six weeks rest will of course mean she's going to miss worlds. Devastating! Winning a medal would have been a long shot but it's the joy of her routines that counts.

The Injury (or recovering) List

Mariya Livchikova, Ukraine
Gabby Jupp, Britain
Nadine Jarosch, Germany
Lisa Hill, Germany
Janine Berger, Germany
Jade Barbosa, Brazil
Adrian Gomes, Brazil
Viktoria Komova, Russia
Ksenia Afanasyeva, Russia
Anastasia Grishina, Russia*
Evgeniya Shelgunova, Russia
Lou Nina, China
Julie Croket, Belgium
Gabriella Douglas, Canada
Lexie Priessman, USA
Katelyn Ohashi, USA
Madison Kocian, USA
Elisabetta Preziosa, Italy
Giorgia Campana, Italy
Erika Fasana, Italy
Celine Van Gerner, Netherlands
Lisa Top, Netherlands
Diana Bulimar, Romania
Wyomi Masela, Netherlands
Anna Kuhm, France
Sarah Finnegan, USA
Sabrina Vega, USA

I do think Anastasia Grishina is not fully out due to injury- it seems blacklisting could be the issue there. Neither Ana Sofia Gomez Porras, Alexa Moreno or Elsa Garcia appear on the nominative list, which is a bit worrying. 

In happier news, Shang Chunsong added to her haul of medals at National Games with gold on bars and a whopping score of 15.367. Yao Jinnan just missed, she didn't do the Mo and skipped another connection so her 15.2 reflects a lower d score. In third place was Huang Huidan, who continues her miraculous streak of not falling. As mentioned above, He Kexin sadly fell. In vault finals, Li Yiting HIT, scoring a 15 on her DTT. Second and third went to Deng Yalan and Yang Pei. Tiny superstar Wang Yan unfortunately fell on her Rudi but it was an interesting final- with a dearth of Yurchenko vaults! Li Yiting hitting vault like that makes things interesting- it makes no sense for Zeng Siqi to go to worlds and if Sui Lu retires beforehand- then there's a possible opening for Li Yiting...

I don't think I mentioned the all-around but if you didn't hear- the best result possible happened- Yao Jinnan and Shang Chunsong tied for first! This result alone sets them up for life, so happy for them. Deng Linlin bowed out of competition on a high note, just about (and controversially at that) securing the bronze.

Today at Romanian Nationals, Larisa Iordache triumphantly returned to competition, taking first in the all-around. She watered down most of her routines and was a little wobbly on beam, but a stellar performance given that she only restarted training a week ago. Hopefully she can regain the difficulty in time for Antwerp, which is really creeping up fast now. She came to a stop on bars after messing up her Jaeger- and it looks like her coach helped that long by touching her- but she introduced the shap half at last and the rest of the routine looked fine, but laboured. Andreea Munteanu was second with STUNNING floor and beam routines that are a must-watch- especially beam, and likewise Andreea Iridon was third with gorgeous bars and beam routines. Sandra Izbasa scored a huge 15.1 (think US scoring at this competition) on floor. Larisa has a new floor and I like it, until it was pointed out the choreography is much the same as her old routine. The music is dramatic and hopefully she can differentiate more between this routine and the last one with her dance in time. You can find videos here.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Cranking numbers for Antwerp and more news

Who has the highest difficulty this year going into Antwerp? It's very hard to say who will hit their connections or who will definitely upgrade etc. but having a look at the raw difficulty scores of the top contenders is still very interesting.

1. Larisa Iordache, Romania. 25 (VT 5.8 UB 5.9 BB 6.9 FX 6.4)
2. Shang Chunsong, China. 24.6 (VT 5.0 UB 6.9 BB 6.6 FX 6.1)
3. Aliya Mustafina, Russia. 24.4 (VT 5.8 UB 6.3 BB 6.4 FX 5.9)
4. Simone Biles, USA. 24.3-5 (VT 6.3 UB 6.1 BB 5.7-9 FX 6.2)
5. Kyla Ross, USA. 23.7-9 (VT 5.8 UB 6.4 BB 5.8-6 FX 5.7)

Edit- There has been a reshuffle, Shang Chunsong's full bars routine is 6.9 so she bumps Aliya Mustafina to third. Simone Biles is either third or fifth, depending on what day of Nationals you pick.. 

Now for the fun bit!

- Larisa Iordache is not guaranteed to get 6.4 on floor. Nor is she guaranteed to get all of her connections on bars- we all know it's a weak spot and for one routine at Euros she just got 5.5. So..
- We would be underestimating Aliya Mustafina if we expect her to roll up at Antwerp with 6.3 bars. I believe she will be aiming for at least two tenths extra there, possibly four. At the same time, if her triple on floor is gone with no replacement or a lower difficulty replacement, expect that to drop. If she CAN squeeze a double layout in instead of it, it will go up 0.1 If she goes for the triple y turn and gets it credited, that is 0.1 also. On the other hand, her beam connections have been dodgy more than they have been solid.
- Shang Chunsong is said to be training a DTY. She has not done it yet at National Games, but if she does throw one at Antwerp- that is 25.2! She's not immune to mistakes/lost connections but neither are any of the top few. Her super high d score WITH an FTY is incredible, and not as one-sided as the infamous Nastia example since she's also very good on floor.
- Simone's score here is with her downgraded beam which she competed at Nationals. IF she brings back her better routine, her total goes up to 24.9. I don't know what to do with her beam, I was so sure the routines were the same at Nationals both days but I was fixated on Day 1, which was lowest. So she MAY be second in this list- not sure whether to bump her up or not in my 'standings'. Her floor is at its lowest- if she brings back the 1.5 to tucked full in she gets 0.2 more so 6.4 and if she does the DLO half-out it will almost certainty be given a value of G, so another 0.1 to 6.5. If she does the double wolf it will be insurance if one of her leaps gets downgraded/not credited. Her full total could be 25.2, but this is far from a given of course. Her floor score is a little complicated- I think because of the leaps. Please feel free to correct me- I am going by YT coded videos which seem to credit everything, and then actual competition scores.
- Don't expect Kyla Ross' difficulty to increase, Marta herself has said this is it. She CAN lose connections on beam if she is unsteady. I wasn't sure what beam d-score to go with since 6.0 was the last but she's been competing with 5.7-8 all year. Her high execution could have her more equal with Simone if Simone doesn't upgrade.
- Yao Jinnan is not included as she is injured and her routines at National Games are being downgraded and upgraded where possible to accommodate that and it's just a mess. She DOES have the highest possible bars d-score though. (7.0) Diana Bulimar (23.3 full capabilty) is not here because she is not a top contender I don't think. She should be, I know.

So, there are quite a few scenarios that can change things, the most dramatic being if Shang Chunsong acquires a DTY. Let's not forget execution- Simone may not get full credit for her leaps, Larisa will more than likely get slammed on bars and any of the what-if's- like Kyla having a low landing, or of course out of bounds, falls etc. etc. The problem with Kyla which is plain as day here, is that even with her full difficulty and Simone who's nearest at her lowest- there's a gap. So she basically has no reserve and needs to be perfect, whereas most of the others can afford some mistakes.

EDIT- I have been linked to some statistics compiled by a poster called Yingova on a thread on a Chinese forum. My favourite one is highest d-score credited this year. Simone Biles 24.9 Aliya Mustafina 24.5 Larisa Iordache and Yao Jinnan 24.1 Shang Chunsong 24 and Kyla Ross 23.9. Not all of those are recent but clearly the AA despite some absences and others under threat will still be interesting..

On to other news- the National Games Team Final took place yesterday, with the podium being in order- Shanghai, Zheijang and Hunan provinces. Zheijang lost out on gold by one error in the end- Wang Wei's fall on her triple twist, which is not nice knowledge for her to carry in a competition this big and prestigious. (Shanghai includes Sui Lu, Tan Sixin, Zheijang Huang Huidan, Luo Huan and Hunan Shang Chunsong, Tan Jiaxin).

- Shang Chunsong hit, again. Not fantastic bars- lost it on a handstand and nearly on another, but hey, she didn't fall. Huang Huidan also hit again, even more astonishing. Great news for these two, and promising for their worlds debut.
- Yao Jinnan struggled with her injury. She fell on floor, and only did an FTY- thankfully. She downgraded her beam and fell twice on bars- on the new Mo Salto and on her Tkachev. The Mo was caught with one hand. I'm so thrilled she went for it and although I'm worried that she still has routines left to compete like floor and vault and her all-around prospects for worlds are not looking good- I've no concern over her bars. It was a fabulous routine and I think it was moreso the mental pressure of carrying your team when you're injured that got to her there.
- He Kexin fell twice on bars, on her Pak and Jaeger. Her bars in qualifying were not as great as usual, and she has obviously been pushing herself to compete here at all. She easily made the bars finals and can hopefully redeem herself there.
- Zeng Siqi fell on beam, again. She still has the AA but it's a bit too little too late at this stage. Beautiful work but her endurance has long been a problem and with consistency on top of that..I think she should be building her routines now and her strength rather than unleashing them on the world stage.
- Wang Yan had a disaster on beam but hit her vault. Tan Jiaxin fell on bars again but hit her vaults too. Junior Luo Huan impressed with a gigantic beam score of 15.067- tying Sui Lu with both execution and difficulty (6.3), despite being eight years younger.

Videos are here. and here. The full livestream has been reuploaded.

Part 2 is the video response underneath. To help you out (and me) here is a little list of the major gymnasts and their competition numbers. I think it's easier than confusing people with what province features on what event in what rotation. Anyway, feel free to comment 'who's number 96' or whatever and I'll find out. Thanks to WangXiangu for compiling the source for this :)
Shang Chunsong- 100
Sui Lu- 136
Yao Jinnan- 32
Huang Qiushuang- 40
Wu Liufang- 46
Tan Sixin- 138
Lv Jiaqi- 172- 2016 senior
Luo Huan- 174- 2016 senior
Tan Jiaxin- 102
Zeng Siqi- 106
Liu Tingting- 42- 2016 senior
Wang Yan- 22- 2015 senior
Huang Huidan- 166
Fan Yilin- 134- 2015 senior
He Kexin- 14

The Japan Junior list is out and you should be excited because it looks a lot better than that YOG will be like, even just by virtue of more gymnasts and more birth years admissible. I think the top two places in the AA will be a US story but check out those names..Romania and Russia are sending their best, and so are China. I'm hoping for a livestream, there's a good bit of time to find out..

FIG have released the worlds nominative list, here.These names and events were submitted nearly two weeks ago and can be changed up to the day before competition starts. For instance, the Dutch team has been officially named and Wyomi Masela is on it in place of Vera van Pol who is listed. Viktoria Komova is on the list, but the news that Anna Rodionova may take her place was released after they submitted names for this list. Victoria Moors is not down for vault, Elsa Garcia does not appear, Australia have gymnasts when they have just announced they're not taking any, it is hoped that Viktoria Komova will do bars too, Sandra Izbasa is down for vault which is in question and the US are not naming their team for another ten days so I would call Brenna Dowell far from solid- others in the past have been shafted between the nominative list and competition for the US. All in all, I don't think a huge amount will change. The British team, which has not been named- is interesting. It is what a lot of people have suspected, that Hannah Whelan will just do floor and not beam since Becky Downie is outscoring her there and not the AA since she's not ready for that yet and Ruby Harrold is. Brazil's team has caused outrage, since Jade Barbosa is too injured to compete and Laetitia Costa has not competed well this year at all, so that might change too. I was hoping Jade would be better in time but it doesn't sound too positive. Italy's team is strange- it includes Sydney 2000 Olympian Adriana Crisci! I'm wondering where Elisa Meneghini and Elisabetta Preziosa are when it comes to who's in contention. Are there any other glaring mistakes or interesting omissions/inclusions?

Romanian Nationals are starting soon! For the first time they will be on a podium. Larisa Iordache is said to compete and I'll update with news of the competition.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Competitions! And news

First up since it's freshest in my mind is the Chinese National Games prelims. This competition will have team, AA and event finals, with a limit of two-per-province for each non-team final. Prelims have already told us a lot, relying on translated quick hits as the livestream did not function for me and videos are unlikely to surface today (time difference, it's quite late there now).

- Yao Jinnan hit an excellent bars set, scoring 15.567 with 6.7 difficulty. No Mo salto but there's still time for that and her 7.0 routine is said to be ready. She connected a Chow-Pak-Chow 1/2. She landed low on her full twist on beam, had wobbles and then fell on her layout :( Her floor was extremely watered down and she seemed to hurt herself on her DTY. She may have exacerbated an injury she was already dealing with.On seeing the video, that definitely looks to be the case.
- Shang Chunsong HIT 4/4, sticking her FTY, nailing her floor set with the first pass done well and in bounds, earning 14.634, wobbling but staying on the beam and a great bars set earning her a score of 57.101, which is huge in China. She did have an upgrade on bars but did not do another connection, so the 14.9 she got there should hopefully be higher in the future. Lost some of her start value on beam due to wobbles, but her full potential is 7.0 UB, 6.6+ BB, 6.1 FX and 5.0 (training DTY, unlikely to appear this year though) VT. Watch out..
- Tan Jiaxin was a heartbreaker. Hit a DTY and full twisting Tsuk (FTT- same vault set as Larisa Iordache and plenty of others) but she crashed her full twisting double layout bars dismount, placing ninth and therefore needing someone to drop out in order to prove herself.
- Huang Huidan HIT bars and beam, highly unusual. Her bars score was a huge 15.5! I can't help feeling more confident now about her. Third qualifier to the AA final too.
- Zeng Siqi had a disaster, falling on beam and sitting her dismount, as well as wobbles and downgrades. She did not come close to qualifying for event finals as a result. Bars, vault and floor were okay, but she is really going for one event and one event only and this has very much jeopardised her worlds spot..especially since while the routine may have been a fluke, her lack of endurance is not and the dismount has long been a problem.
- Huang Qiushuang fell on beam, but hit bars. We'll see her in both the AA and bars finals.
- Sui Lu had a great day, 1st on beam and 2nd on floor. Who knows, she could maybe be persuaded to go to worlds..
- Fellow veteran He Kexin hit her bars, scoring 15.367. They were reported not to be to the best of her ability however, but still a fantastic score.
- It was not to be for Deng Linlin who sat her beam dismount, unfortunately, and was devastated.
- Wu Liufang touched the beam during her routine and fell on bars. This is not going to be a worlds where she is unfairly left behind, I think she is done as regards big competitions.
- Junior superstar Lv Jiaqi did really well, fourth qualifier to the AA and will compete in beam finals as a major challenger. She is a whopping 8 years younger than Sui Lu..
- Some other star juniors were hampered by injury, like Wang Yan who fell on beam but hit a new double twisting tsuk, and Liu Tingting who also fell on beam and had a very messy floor. Others like Mei Jie were absent altogether.
- Gorgeous Yang Yilin-esque Fan Yilin had a killer bars set, scoring a huge 15.234! Right in the medal hunt.
- Tan Sixin fell on bars but hit beam. 

So, Shang Chunsong solidified her place on the worlds team and even lessened doubts over her consistency into the bargain. We have seen some super-solid beam sets from her this year so I'm confident she can do that in at least one of the all-around and beam finals at NG. Yao cemented her place for bars alone..hopefully she can do the all-around but it's not looking good. Huang Huidan did herself a lot of favours for one of the most inconsistent gymnasts they have, and her spot on the team which was provisional as they all were, now looks even more likely. Zeng Siqi though is teetering on the edge. If Sui Lu can be persuaded to put off her retirement by about a month, that spot could well be hers.

Some videos already! Here. Hopefully more from either this channel or another. No Piibunina this time! The long two hour video is subdivision 2, which includes Yao Jinnan and Huang Huidan, amongst others. You might notice that the beam doesn't look right..because it wasn't, tilted to the right near the dismount mats. Lots of complaints about it, and lots of falls in the one place/one side. Frustrating to say the least. I heard the link above has taken down individual routines, so there is another link here. Running it through translate, from left to right, row by row- He Kexin FX, Wu Liufang BB, Yao Jinnan FX, Yao Jinnan BB, Deng Linlin FX, Deng Linlin BB, Guan Wenli BB, Shang Chunsong (whose name translates as providers Haramatsu??) FX, Zeng Siqi FX, Shang Chunsong BB, Zeng Sigi BB, Shang Chunsong UB, Jiang Tong VT, Sui Lu BB, Tan Sixin BB, Tan Sixin UB, Wang Wei FX, Yao Jinnan UB, He Kexin UB.

At Interland, Diana Bulimar won the AA title. Unfortunately, her difficulty remains much the same. It's extremely disappointing that a gymnast with such ease in her floor and beam routines has routines that won't get her anywhere near event finals. I will still hold out some hope...there is still Romanian Nationals as well as worlds itself. On a more positive note, she's got a new floor and I really like it! Nice and quirky, not childish but still fast-paced. It has been suspected for a while that Sandra Izbasa would only do floor, which indeed was exactly the case. Her floor in qualifications/AA was watered down but she made some upgrades for event finals which was nice to see- a very respectable 6.1 difficulty. It will be interesting to see if she can bring back the front full instead of the front layout, or any dance upgrades. I'm not a fan of her new choreography yet, I love the music but she seems to have little interest in the routine and it's dull and lacklustre. Hopefully she can sell it more.

I was so thrilled that Noel Van Klaveren hit in the all-around, but she was back to her inconsistent self by event finals. That 1.5 tsuk upgrade is causing problems, probably best to downgrade for the moment. Her beam was beautiful, really nice work. Chantysha Netteb won vault and wisely had her beam dismount downgraded. These two are obvious locks for the worlds team. Sanne Wevers had a 6.2 beam but some difficulty with it...not sure if she could be in contention for a spot or not.

The British girls were a bit of a mixed bag. Thrilled Rebecca Tunney is bursting with potential and new upgrades including a Bhardwaj because..why not, but she was having a good few problems and didn't qualify for either bars or beam finals as a result. Being out for so long with injury and recovery undoubtedly set her back, hopefully she can come back fighting at worlds. Hannah Whelan majorly impressed me with her beam including my favourite series- aerial to two layout stepouts (think Dudnik), and so did Ruby Harrold with an amazing bars routine in event finals, which was not only hit but more flighty and cleaner than it has been. Becky Downie was 50/50, big errors on bars both days but she seems to be back to her best on beam. That will be an interesting team to pick..

TCG have got a lovely post about event finals with all of the best routines, here. The sponsors of the meet have made a great video edit, just like they did at EYOF.

Dun dun dun! Russia have named their worlds team. Aliya Mustafina, Tatiana Nabieva, Maria Paseka and either Viktoria Komova if she's ready or Anna Rodionova if not. First things first, while Ksenia Afanasyeva's surgery was not serious, it was ill-timed. She'll be fine by December apparently, so she just about misses out. So disappointing as she has looked better this year, her sixth year as a senior, than ever. And....that was the sound of the floor title being blown wide open and Maria Paseka getting very lucky to get her spot. Paseka's vaults have been very hit or miss lately, so she's a bit of a gamble. Komova if she's ready will do beam and maybe bars. Rodionova if she goes will just do beam. The third bars spot if Komova doesn't do them goes to Paseka. Where is Anastasia Grishina and why on earth is she not down in place of Rodionova? Good question. Either her back isn't fully there yet and she is being wisely rested, or she has joined Anna Pavlova in the dungeon of beautiful unwanted gymnasts. Rodionova is delicate, injury-prone, inconsistent and has low difficulty. Despite all that her gymnastics is beautiful but when you add it up like that..she's not a great prospect, this year at least. The major problem I have with this team is the huge pressure Aliya Mustafina will be under, as the expectations on her in proportion to the rest of the team will be immense. She's not a gymnast who would shy away from that and will probably thrive to some extent under the strain..but it's still a lot for one person!

Brazil and Ukraine have also joined the ranks of naming their teams. Brazil will send Danielle Hypolito whose first worlds was in 1999 and has competed in almost all to date, Laetitia Costa and Jade Barbosa. It is not known yet if Barbosa will actually compete, it depends on how her injury is doing. Ukraine are sending Angelina Kislaya, Krystyna Sankova, Olesya Sazonova and Olena Vasylieva. No worlds for Daria Matveyeva. Kislaya is pretty good on bars, and Sankova and Sazonova have good potential on floor but their entire WAG programme is so fractured I would be very surprised if any of them made an event final.

News just in- the Netherlands have named their team. Chantysha Netteb, Noel Van Klaveren, Wyomi Masela and Sanne Wevers will go. The first two are locks, and will do the AA. I'm very glad about the last two, Masela because she had the London spot and lost it and Wevers because her beam is nothing short of awesome. A really nice team.

And Australia are sending...nobody! They upped their qualifying standards I believe across the board, but it's bad timing for a post-Olympic year and a gymnastics programme that it's in the process of rebuilding. In a way it makes sense, but it's a wasted opportunity for their new seniors. Maddie Leydin and Kiara Munteanu show huge promise, as indeed do some of the older girls. Only two showed up for trials, with the others crying off from injury or inability to hit the standards which were..wait for it..6.3 difficulty on balance beam with a score of 14.8. Optimism to the point of foolishness. I suppose they would have needed an amanar too.