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Parolari, Racea Score Victories in Jesolo
(16 votes, average 3.63 out of 5)

Italian senior Lia Parolari and Romanian junior Amelia Racea won the all-around titles Saturday at the 2nd City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy.

Lia Parolari (Italy)

The competition featured full teams from the host nation, Brazil and Great Britain, and individuals from Romania and China.

The Italian seniors and juniors delivered a great performance in Jesolo for a second year in a row. Without Vanessa Ferrari and with most veterans injured (Francesca Benolli, Carlotta Giovannini) or retired, Italy demonstrated that it is a team planning stay among the top for a long time. Lia Parolari led the senior home nation with a gold in the AA despite a weak layout Yurchenko on vault. Her exquisite long lines and presence makes of Lia one of the most pleasant gymnasts to watch, although the same can be said of Italy as a team. Difficult will be the election of the Europeans team for Italian officials since Emily Army (triple twist and whip through 2 1/2 on floor, full-twisting Yurchenko and Jaeger, Tkatchev, Pak and double layout off bars) and Paola Galante (piked Stalder 1/1, Stalder - Tkatchev and round-off double pike dismount from beam) were within a point to Parolari. The other two contenders didn't have their best meet.

Elizabetta Preziosa had the highest difficult score on beam but fell on a sheep jump, and had an awkward landing in her full-twisting Yurchenko vault; while Serena Licchetta fell on a 1 1/2 Yurchenko and flic-layout on beam, she also competed an underrotated triple twist on floor and a good double layout off bars. Italians officials are still hoping that former world champion Vanessa Ferrari will be able to compete in two events at the Europeans in Milan, but after her teammates' strong showing this weekend, the decision seems complicated.

A Brazilian team without injured Laís Souza, Jade Barbosa and Daiane dos Santos competed for the first time since former head coach Oleg Ostapenko moved to Russia. This was an important test for the new Brazilian direction and they passed it, but without showing brilliance. New senior Bruna Leal showed the quality of the program with a bronze medal in the all-around and good difficulty in all the apparatus but beam, where she had a fall. She vaulted a 1 1/2-twisting Yurchenko and had good tumbling on floor (full-in, double Arabian, double pike).

Ethiene Franco was the second best Brazilian with a full-twisting Yurchenko, Jaeger and double Arabian off on bars and double Arabian, double back and double pike on floor. Incombustible Daniele Hypólito didn't compete on uneven bars but showed a competitive routine on beam, although she fell, and was average on floor (double pike, double twist, double tuck). She is not the explosive gymnast she was once, but she still shows love for the sport and was dancing to the arena music while warming up. The other Brazilians showed great lines and polished technique but the difficulty was usually not there. Ana Claudia Silva had a fall in the double front off bars where she also performed a high Tkatchev. Her beam routine was clean but only managed to get a 4.2 difficulty score, and on floor she competed a triple twist and double back but fell on the 2 1/2 dismount. Khiuani Dias, who was not part of the Olympic team, only did bars with a low score.

Great Britain only competed with four senior gymnasts after the last-minute withdraw of Laura Jones and Marissa King that caused a lower total than the team is capable of. Only Rebecca Wing did the all around, while more experienced gymnasts Becky Downie (bars and beam) and Beth Tweddle (bars and floor) only did selected events. Hannah Whelan competed on everything but bars and showed her signature elegant style and difficulty but she fell on her best event, beam. On floor she opened with a good triple twist in a routine that also included a 2 1/2 punch layout, double twist and double pike.

Tweddle changed her bars routine to adapt it to the new code and she performed a world-class routine (6.7 D) that included a Markelov-Gienger combo, toe-on Tkatchev, Tkatchev 1/2 to Yezhova and Shaposhinkova-half. On floor, she went completely out of bounds in one tumbling run, but it looks like the changes of the code suit her gymnastics. Downie couldn't match Tweddle's performance on bars, but despite a fall, she was the second best scorer in the event. She also competed on beam with equally bad luck. Downie is the best British all-arounder now that Tweddle is not training four apparatus, but Downie not competing vault and floor in Jesolo make her participation at Europeans as an all-arounder doubtful.

Rebecca Wing didn't have her best outing with falls on beam and bars (twice on the Shaposhnikova). She vaulted a 1 1/2-twisting Yurchenko with dubious knees and landing. Competing among the seniors were British juniors Ruby Straw and Jessica Hogg, who outscored all her senior teammates. Straw tumbled a double Arabian, full-in and double pike on floor.

The Romanians didn't compete as a team although four of them were in Jesolo. The team they presented showed uncharacteristic inconsistency with several falls on beam and bars (the latter still the weakest event). Anamaria Tamarjan was the top scorer with a fifth place in the all-around with three falls (vault, bars and beam). Tamarajan could contend for medals at Europeans if she cleans up her routines as her execution is better than some recent Romanians. Sandra Izbasa didn't perform on bars so her participation in the all around at Europeans is unknown right now. She was not her usual sharp with a very short triple twist on floor and an unspiring routine on beam. Gabriela Dragoi and Daniela Druncea did three events each, barely breaking 13 points, which is not a good sign with Europeans in less than three weeks.

He Ning was the sole gymnast from China which was a shame, since Chinese gymnasts compete in very few of these meets and it would be a good test for those gymnasts who didn't make the Olympic team. She competed a weak vault (layout Yurchenko), but came back at full force on the other events to claim the silver medal in the all around.

Two hours later the juniors took the stage. With the new created Youth Olympic Games in the horizon, the young gymnasts competed at a high standard and seem to adapt easily to the code changes. The Europeans teams were preparing for EYOF in July and Brazil for Junior Pan Americans. Italy also won the junior competition with an homogenous team in size and with Carlotta Ferlito and Erika Fasana as the two best gymnasts. Ferlito showed an original hop - Voronin on bars and good twisting technique with a 2 1/2 off from beam and a double pike, front full, double twist and 2 1/2 off on floor. Fasana is, on paper, the better one but she counted a fall on bars. Her vault is a full-twisting Yurchenko and does a toe-on Tkatchev on bars. She is a very secure and clean gymnast on beam and on floor she did a double back, 2 1/2 and double twist. One step behind these two is Francesca De Agostini, the top scorer on beam with a fantastic 14.400. De Agostini vaults a layout Yurchenko and dismounts beam with a double twist.

Romania didn't compete as a team despite the 6-4-3 format. The Romanians came to Jesolo with just three gymnasts and after canceling their dual meet against Great Britain next weekend. When gymnasts train under a centralised system, usually, they all have similar routines and Romania was a clear example of this. On floor, all opened with a full-in with Raluca Haidu and Amelia Racea doing triple twist, 2 1/2 punch front and double pike. Diana Trenca, instead, did a double full instead of the triple full. In general, they showed good lines and correct form on the apparatus but too many falls for Romanian standards. It was bars where the juniors showed more promise than their senior teammates, especially Haidu (fall at the beginning of the routine but nice form on the Gienger and full-in dismount) and Racea.

Britain's Niamph Rippin did a terrific floor routine with a double Arabian, 1 1/2 through double full, 2 1/2 punch layout and triple full dismount to become the best British gymnast of the competition. Rippin is a powerful gymnast who soon could upgrade her full-twisting Yurchenko. Nicole Hibbert looked more grown up and didn't perform her usual 1 1/2 twisting Yurchenko. On floor, she tumbled a double Arabian, full-in and double pike but had falls on bars (Tkatchev-Pak) and beam. Coached by Natalia Ilienko, Danusia Francis is a more stylish gymnast, but like all the other British had problems on beam (going overtime). Jennifer Pinches surprised with a full-twisting double layout off on bars, although at competition she piked it down, during podium training looked gorgeous. Youngsters Lizzie Beddoe and Jocelyn Hunt showed moments of brilliance; tkatchev and double Arabian off for Beddoe on bars and triple full for Hunt on floor, but their level was a little bit behind the others.

Finally, Brazil competed with a young team with low execution scores that put them in the last position. Janaina Silva was the best Brazilian with an excellent 1 1/2-twisting Yurchenko that received that highest execution score of the competition. On bars, she did a Jaeger and an open double pike dismount. Her floor included a double Arabian (short), 2 1/2 punch layout, double back and double pike. Little Leticia da Costa showed great form and lines but she needs to work on difficulty. Nadine Ourives also had good form on bars (Gienger, Pak, double pike).

Overall, this was a good competition to get used to the new scores under the new code of points; although there were numerous falls, especially on beam. We will have to wait to get used to what's bad, average, good or excellent, but a 15+ score seems to be good enough for the top athletes, at least, during this first year. London will indicate us how gymnasts adapt their routines to the new rules and we will be able to judge if the FIG's attempts to make gymnastics a more artistic sport are successful or there's no going back.

Italy will play host to the senior European Championships, April 2-5 in Milan.

Click here to download detailed results.

2nd City of Jesolo Trophy
March 14, Jesolo, Italy

Senior Team
1. Italy 163.650
2. Great Britain 161.100
3. Brazil 154.900

Junior Team
1. Italy 161.950
2. Brazil 159.000
3. Great Britain 156.350

Senior All-Around
1. Lia Parolari ITA 54.750
2. He Ning CHN 54.600
3. Bruna Leal BRA 54.500
3. Paola Galante ITA 54.500
5. Anamaria Tamarjan ROM 54.150
6. Emily Army ITA 53.900
7. Ethiene Franco BRA 53.250
8. Serena Licchetta ITA 53.050
9. Diana Chelaru ROM 52.700
10. Eleonora Rando ITA 51.950
11. Elisabetta Preziosa ITA 51.600
12. Ruby Straw GBR 50.500
13. Jessica Hogg GBR 49.050
14. Rebecca Wing GBR 48.800
15. Sandra Izbasa ROM 41.850
16. Daniele Hypolito BRA 39.700
17. Hannah Whelan GBR 39.600
18. Priscila Cobello BRA 39.100
19. Daniela Druncea ROM 38.100
20. Ana Claudia Silva BRA 38.050
21. Beth Tweddle GBR 28.800
22. Gabriela Dragoi ROM 25.850
23. Becky Downie GBR 25.750
24. Khiuani Dias BRA 12.950

Junior All-Around
1. Amelia Racea ROM 55.550
2. Carlotta Ferlito ITA 54.850
3. Erika Fasana ITA 54.600
4. Francesca De Agostini ITA 53.600
5. Niamh Rippin GBR 53.500
6. Nicole Hibbert GBR 53.050
7. Janaina Silva BRA 53.000
8. Danusia Francis GBR 52.900
9. Raluca Haidu ROM 52.700
10. Anita Rupini ITA 52.250
11. Alessia Scantamburlo ITA 52.150
12. Diana Trenca ROM 52.050
13. Greta Carnessali ITA 51.550
13. Elizabeth Beddoe GBR 51.550
15. Anne Caroline Cardoso BRA 51.250
16. Jocelyn Hunt GBR 50.200
17. Leticia da Costa BRA 49.650
18. Nadhine Ourives BRA 49.100
19. Jennifer Pinches GBR 26.500

Beth Tweddle, uneven bars

He Ning, balance beam

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