After losing to the British women at this year's European championships, Romania got its revenge by defeating the host team Saturday at a dual meet in Ipswich, England.
Raluca Haidu (Romania)
Newcomer Daniela Andrei led Romania to victory, 165.400-163.100. British champion and 2008 Olympian Hannah Whelan edged Andrei for the all-around title, 55.650-55.600. Romanian Raluca Haidu won the bronze (54.900).
Haidu was the bronze medalist on beam at the 2010 European Championships in Birmingham, where the British squad upset the Romanians for the silver medal behind Russia. Other team members in Ipswich were Gabriela Dragoi, Cerasela Patrascu and Diana Trenca.
"We have started our preparation for the world championships in Rotterdam in June under the new head coaches Mariana Bitang and Octavian Bellu," Romanian delegation head Mircea Apolzan said. "In fact, the results are not very important for us! What is important at this moment of our preparation for Rotterdam is the content of the routines, what are the new elements, which our gymnasts have added to their exercises and how consistent they are."
Apolzan said the team had been invited to bring seven gymnasts but could only spare five.
"Some of our strong gymnasts are recovering from injuries and others are not ready to compete as yet," he said.
2008 Olympic floor exercise champion Sandra Izbasa, who tore her Achilles' tendon in 2009, was unable to attend.
"She is back to training, but she still needs some time to overcome the fear of performing her extremely difficult acrobatic elements," Apolzan said. "She has a lot of support from the coaches and from the gymnastics community all over the world and she seems determined to be back in the team and to try to defend her Olympic title in 2012."
Joining Whelan on the British squad were Becky Downie, Danusia Francis, Jocelyn Hunt and Jennifer Pinches.
"The competition we have just witnessed was keenly fought," said Tim Jones, Olympic performance director for British Gymnastics. "We were very happy to see Hannah Whelan winning the all-around and proving her steady progress over the last months. This international is a stepping stone to the all-important world championships in Rotterdam in October, which will serve as the first round of the Olympic qualifications for London 2012. A very pleasing constructive day work, indeed!"
Competition concludes Sunday afternoon with the apparatus finals.
External Link: British Gymnastics