Tuesday, 15 October 2013

This Year So Far... NZ Junior Elites

The Gymsports National Championships were held in Napier, New Zealand last week, where we got a chance to see how the elites are progressing. Five girls, all from Christchurch School of Gymnastics competed in the Junior section: Charlotte Sullivan, Hanna Malloch, Mackenzie Slee, Courtney McGregor and Millie Williamson

The all-around competition was close, with less than 0.1 between 1st and 2nd, and just over a point between the top three. 

1st- Charlotte Sullivan, 47.533
2nd- Millie Williamson, 47.460
3rd- Courtney McGregor, 46.433
4th- Mackenzie Slee, 45.677
5th- Hanna Malloch, 44.167

All girls scored 13+ on vault and were generally stronger on floor and beam than bars.

Millie did extremely well in the event finals, taking home 3 of the 4 possible golds (BB (1st=), UB and FX). 

Courtney was 1st on vault, 2nd on floor and third on bars.

Charlotte was 1st on beam and 3rd on bars, Mackenzie 2nd on vault and bars and Hanna 3rd on floor.

1st- Courtney McGregor 13.450
2nd- Mackenzie Slee 13.15

1st- Millie Williamson 11.500
2nd- Mackenzie Slee 11.067
3rd- Charlotte Sullivan 10.867

1st= Charlotte Sullivan 12.500
1st= Millie Williamson 12.500
3rd- Corurtney McGregor 12.45

1st- Millie Williamson 13.433
2nd- Courtney McGregor 13.10
3rd- Hanna Malloch 12.87

Overall a great effort for the juniors, they are looking very good, with both new skills and higher scores as they look forwards to the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow. It is great to see them adding more difficulty to their routines, they have plenty of time to iron out the mistakes!

Here is Courtney on floor, trying out a double arabian as her opening tumbling pass. She also tries some daring release moves on bar and overall has great swing- a lot of potential there!

Courtney McGregor on floor, competing for Christchurch (3rd AA)

Courtney trying out some newer skills on bars

The girls also competed in the Australian Nationals earlier this year, presumably to gain some competitive experience. They produced good results there, Mackenzie 3rd on vault, Charlotte 3rd on bars and floor.

Millie's lovely floor from the all-around finals at the 2013 Australian Nationals

Charlotte's beam routine from the all-around

And Charlotte on bar, where she shows good difficulty and a great double layout dismount!

Hanna shows off her lines on floor (AYOF 2013- couldn't find a more recent video!)

And finally watch Mackenzie's floor from the Australian nationals here

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

2013 World Championships: Qualifications Highlights

The gymnastics World Championships only happen once every year, and the gymternet always explodes with live hits, blogging, tweeting, you name it! This year is no exception, where competition is in the beautiful city of Antwerp, Belgium. Although I am not there to see the action myself, much  information from numerous bloggers is available; The Couch Gymnast, the Gymnastics Examiner- Blythe Lawrence and Gymnastike among many! Thanks in advance for the great work that you always do! Here I have outlined some of the highlights from the Qualifications round.

9- Chuso (Oksana Chusovitina- GER) On Vault
Ok, this woman is amazing. She has been competing at the international level since before most of her fellow competitors were born, and she's still producing vaults like these to qualify for World Championships vault finals- respect. 

Chuso, the gymnastics legend! Qualified 6th into the VT final

8- Mustafina's Bars (RUS)
Aliya, the most decorated gymnast of the Russian Olympic Team in London had a very rough qualifying round (although somehow managed to qualify for BB final with a very sub-par routine). She somewhat redeemed herself on bars by pulling off this excellent routine, complete with a daring new transition from low to high bars. Let us hope that she gets it together for the AA final. I have faith that she will, because she is Mustafina.

I could watch her on bars all day. Qualified 5th into the final

7- Ellie Black's Floor (CAN)
Really enjoyed this Canadian's floor routine, a very polished performance with great expression, music and tumbling to match. Thankfully we will get to see it again in the finals, Ellie qualified in 8th place! Team-mate Victoria Moors sadly faltered on her new I-rated (read: impossibly difficult) double-twisting double layout, and did not advance to finals. We will see both Ellie and Victoria in the AA finals.

6- Iordache on Beam (ROM)
Come on, you know you love her! After an extremely long wait on the podium, Iordache went up and rocked this beam routine. I love watching Romanians on beam, you can really relax and enjoy the routine! She is one of my favourites both for the AA and the beam and floor finals. I wonder if she will add a full-twist to her layout for finals...

Very confident performance from Larisa on beam- top qualifier to the beam final

5- Best Newcomer- Roxana Popa (ESP)
Roxana Popa, a Romanian-born gymnast who cpmpetes for Spain has been on the radar for a while as a Junior gymnast. She delivered today to qualify in 10th position for the all-around final. I'm pretty sure this is the highest a Spanish gymnast has finished for a while, she is a great hope for the country! I particularly enjoyed her floor routine, where she shows a real flourish for matching her dance with the music. Tumbling is pretty great too! 

Popa's great floor routine today, contributing to a good all-around finish

4- McKayla Maroney is back (USA)
An unsual choice for the US to compete McKayla Maroney as an all-arounder, nevertheless she did well apart from a fall on beam. Interesting to see her on other apparatuses besides vault, which she is still amazing at by the way. I am sure that she will successfully defend her World Championships title on vault this year.

Freaking incredible. Do the triple already! Top qualifier to vault final (only final due to the 3 per country rule)

3- Duo from Great Britian in Bars Final!- Ruby Harrold and Becky Downie
These two gymnasts from GB have both had trouble with their bar routines this year, but both pulled out excellent routines to qualify for the bars final! This is a great achievement for Team GB and we wish both girls all the best for finals!

Becky on bars (4th place qualifier)

Ruby qualified in 7th place, love her unique transitions!

2- Izbasa (ROM) and Yao (CHI) doing what they do best
Beautiful music, beautiful choreography and beautiful tumbling from Romanian veteran Sandra Izbasa. She will be looking to medal on floor after a disappointing mistake during the 2012 Olympic Games on floor. She is a real treat to watch on this event, and this very well may be the last we see of her :(

So elegant, so Sandra, love it!

What would a World Championships be without the Chinese on bars? Beautiful routine from Yao Jinnan (3rd qualifier to all-around), who qualified in first place AND is capable of adding the Mo salto to her routine (wonder if we will see it in competition?). Would love to see her win the bars title in Antwerp.

1- Simone Biles- A name to remember (USA)
This bubbly first-year senior powerhouse from the US will be World Champion on Thursday if she hits 4/4, which she is certainly capable of doing. She also qualified to ALL FOUR event finals. Think Shawn Johnson in 2007, she is hands-down the best gymnast in the World right now. Go Simone!

Best event of the day for Simone was floor, it's going to make for an exciting all-around final (floor competed last)

Should be a good World Championships! 

Article by Imogen Browne (Follow on Twitter @IFlip4GymBlog)