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Romania Tops Germany, France
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Andreea Acatrinei (Romania)

Gabriela Dragoi led Romania to victory over Germany and France at a tri-meet held Saturday in Schwäbisch-Gmünd.

With the Olympic Games less than a month away, the competition proved exciting as most of the gymnasts were at their possibly best physical shape. The competition is a final test for all the competitors, and the tension is building up toward the Games.

Germany was able to go up against some of the world's best gymnasts with Romania, France and individual gymnasts from Spain, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Belgium.

Romania decided to give stars Steliana Nistor and Sandra Izbasa a rest, but used this chance to bring Cerasela Patrascu and Madalina Gutu in addition to Olympic hopefuls Andreea Tamarjan, Andreea Grigore, Gabriela Dragoi, Andreea Acatrinei and Daniela Druncea. Patrascu, who suffered a double knee injury at the Europeans in April, competed exhibition routines on bars and beam just as she did at Romanian Nationals.

France left Olympic team member Pauline Morel home with a slight injury, but Olympic alternate Rose-Elliandre Bellemare was in action.

Germany decided to have Katja Abel compete bars only as part of the mixed group, and moved Marie-Sophie Hindermann (suffering from an Achilles injury) into the team lineup on bars and beam. Kim Bui, set as the alternate for the Olympics, competed on all events. Jenny Brunner competed exhibition.

Romania started on one of its weaker events with vault. France did not have the best of a start on beam with Katheleen Lindor counting two falls and also Magaly Hars also falling. Germany had a very good start on bars though with Hindermann bringing the top score of the meet (16.000). Anja Brinker hit her routine for 15.950, giving Germany the lead after rotation one.

Germany managed to maintain the lead after the second rotation, even though three gymnasts counted falls on beam. However, Romania was not able to make up ground on bars with four scores in the 13 range. Without Nistor they were not able to deliver huge scores on this event, and there also were some mistakes. Patrascu was not able to leave a good impression this time, with three falls and still only dismounting with a simple layout flyaway.

France had some very nicely choreographed routines on floor, but the team met a nightmare when anchor Cassy Vericel was injured landing her second tumbling pass, a double layout. She was immediately rushed to the hospital for X-rays, which revealed an ankle sprain. Without her, France was weakened for the last two rotations.

In rotation three Romania was eager to catch up and show good routines on beam, and all the gymnasts avoided falls. Tamarjan did not compete full difficulty, though, because of an ongoing groin injury. Patrascu showed a beautiful routine here but again still only used a simple layout as dismount.

Germany again had a good rotation on floor without bigger mistakes. Brinker did not show her full difficulty yet because of a recent injury, but Bijak and also especially Kim Bui showed very good tumbling. Bui also earned the biggest cheers from the crowd for her routine. It was a nice surprise for the audience to still see Germany leading the competition after this rotation.

But after vault the Germans fell behind Romania. Oksana Chusovitina pulled out at the least minute because of problems with her Achilles, and her score on vault certainly was missing. This gave Romania the chance to take the lead with consistent if unspectacular routines on floor.

For Germany it was still a great success to end up in second, 1.1 behind Romania. France had to settle for third but still provided the top all-around scorer with Marine Petit. Dragoi was second individually followed by Acatrinei.

The Czech Republic's 2008 Olympian Kristyna Palesova was fourth, followed by Bijak, who proved that she can really able an asset to the German team in Beijing. Spain's Lenika de Simone, who secured her berth to Beijing last weekend at the Spanish Championships, finished sixth.

Click here to download detailed results.

2008 Germany vs. France vs. Romania
July 12, 2008 Schwäbisch-Gmünd

1. Romania 231.250
2. Germany 230.150
3. France 225.800

1. Marina Petit FRA 58.600
2. Gabriela Dragoi ROM 58.500
3. Andreea Acatrinei ROM 57.850
4. Kristyna Palesova CZE 57.650
5. Daria Bijak GER 57.500
6. Lenika de Simone ESP 57.200

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