Junior all-around champions Angelina Melnikova (Voronezh) and Yelena Yeryomina (St. Petersburg) each added two more gold medals in apparatus finals as the Russian women's championships concluded Sunday in Penza.
Melnikova won balance beam and floor exercise in the junior Master of Sport category, while Yeryomina won vault and uneven bars in the Candidate for Master of Sport group.
Alla Sosnitskaya (Moscow) made her case for a berth on next month's European championships team with medals on three events: gold on vault (double-twisting Yurchenko and layout Podkopayeva), silver on floor exercise (double layout mount) and bronze on uneven bars.
Newcomer Daria Spiridonova also impressed. winning uneven bars (inside-Stalder, inside-Stalder full to Maloney to Pak salto; . Maloney-half; inside-Stalder blind to piked Jaeger; full-twisting double) and taking second on balance beam behind fellow first-year senior Maria Kharenkova. Spiridinova is coached by Tatiana Fomkina, who previously coached World Cup gold medalist Irina Isayeva.
All-around champion Aliya Mustafina competed casually, dropping out of the floor exercise final and dropping off uneven bars (after scraping her legs on the mat during her Pak salto). She managed only the bronze on balance beam, where she is the current world champion, with a routine full of missed connections.
Superstar Viktoria Komova was cruised on uneven bars until she fell off on a short inside-stalder blind change. She tried it again and fell again. She also performed an exhibition on balance beam, where she had several wobbles and missed connections but stuck a gorgeous ff, tucked Arabian combination.
Team coach Valentina Rodionenko said the coaching staff was happy with the new talent that proved themselves in Penza.
First of all, the Russian championship were searching for the next group for the 2016 Olympic Games," Rodionenko said. "And we're glad that now a lot of young girls come from good programs. They have proven their abilities with results in Penza. For example, second all-around to Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina was Alla Sosnitskaya, a young girl who practically just appeared on the senior level. And Maria Kharenkova, although she performed only bars and beam because of an injury, presented herself very well. She even won the competition on balance beam - a great success for her age. Daria Spiridonova perfectly manifested herself on the uneven bars and balance beam, landing on the medal podium. I repeat: the young girls demonstrated their good preparation. This means within the team there will be serious competition that we coaches certainly can rejoice about."
The Russian men's national championships take place April 10-13. The Russian Gymnastics Federation will offer live streaming video of the competition from the Burtasy Sports Palace.
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