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Aussies Aim for Fresh Start at Nadia Comaneci International
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After bowing out of last fall's world championships, the Australian women are aiming to show off what they can do at Saturday's Nadia Comaneci International in Oklahoma City.

Australia sent a top squad of senior and junior hopefuls to the competition in Oklahoma City, where the lineup also includes gymnasts from Canada, Romania and the United States. The annual competition is part of a weekend of sport and health events through Bart & Nadia Sports Experience.


Georgia-Rose Brown

The Australian women bypassed the world championships in 2013 — a post-Olympic year that many countries typically view as a rebuilding phase for the new quadrennium.

Two-time Australian Olympian Allana Slater, who accompanied the team as a judge, expressed confidence in her group. 2012 Olympic alternate Georgia-Rose Brown leads the team of seniors Georgia Godwin, Maddi Leydin and Kiara Munteanu.

"It's the first competition pretty much in a year for these girls," Slater said. "We took a year off for these girls to build skills back in Australia and they've done a really good job."

Slater said that because it is still early in the season, it was good to bring the gymnasts back to competition at a relaxed atmosphere.

"For the Australian girls, it is really good to get a competition in at the beginning of the season, enjoying the travel and enjoying the training and competing," Slater said. "This is a lovely event to come to. There's a lot of very friendly people, but not a lot of pressure. We get to test out a lot of new combinations and that is our aims and expectations: to just try to hit our routines."

2014 will see major events for juniors and seniors, including the Pacific Rim Championships, the II Youth Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the world championships. The gymnasts brought to Oklahoma City will all be in contention, Slater said.

"They've got a lot going on, but they're tough and they can get through it," she said confidently.

The competition roster also includes gymnasts from four Canadian clubs, as well as several rising talents from WOGA. The WOGA gymnasts include foreign-born Irina Alexeeva (Russia) and Ava Verdeflor (Philippines). Alexeeva is seeking U.S. citizenship while Verdeflor hopes to represent the Philippines.

Romania sent three young gymnasts who will be seniors in 2017: Olivia Cimpian, Ioana Ciprin and Alexandra Mihai.

Former champion Jessica Lopez, the two-time Olympian from Venezuela, was expected to compete but withdrew because of injury.

International Gymnast Magazine will do live commentary on itsOfficial Facebook Page beginning 7 p.m. CST.

2014 Nadia Comaneci International Invitational
Feb. 22, Oklahoma City

Georgia Godwin Gymnastics Queensland
Georgia-Rose Brown Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)
Maddi Leydin Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)
Kiara Munteanu Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)
Yasmin Collier Western Australian Institute of Sport
Aya Meggs Western Australian Institute of Sport
Darcy Norman Western Australian Institute of Sport
Mariana Colussi-Pelaez Futures Gymnastics
Rose-Kaying Woo Gym Richelieu
Victoria-Kayen Woo Gym Richelieu
Hélody Cyrenne Gym Richelieu
Lauri-Ann Demers Gym Richelieu
Montana Fairbairn Stampede
Ava Verdeflor WOGA
Olivia Cimpian Cetate Deva
Ioana Crisan Cetate Deva
Alexandra Mihai Cetate Deva
Irina Alexeeva WOGA
Jenna Dunn Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy
Alexandra Marks Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy
Victoria Loomis Denton Gymnastics
Alexis Stokes Denton Gymnastics
Alyssa LaDieu Denton Gymnastics
Asia DeWalt WOGA
Lauren Farley WOGA
Samantha Ogden WOGA
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