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Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 11 January 2016 10:02    PDF Print
‘It's A Blessing To Be Here,' Says Ohashi of New Student-Athlete Life
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2013 American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi told IG she was pleased by the welcome that greeted her in her debut competition for UCLA on Sunday in Los Angeles.

2013 American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi told IG she was pleased by the welcome that greeted her in her debut competition for UCLA on Sunday in Los Angeles.

"It was so great being back," said Ohashi, whose international career was stalled by back and shoulder problems. "Having this amazing team behind me in a whole different atmosphere, and having all these (UCLA) Bruin fans, made the experience so great. It's a blessing to be here."

Ohashi won the all-around title and three apparatus titles (uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise) at both the 2011 U.S. Junior National Championships and 2012 Pacific Rim junior championships. As a first-year senior, she won the 2013 American Cup but was sidelined by injuries. After a break, she resumed her career as a Level 10 gymnast.

The Washington native, who trained at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Texas, last competed at the 2015 Texas Level 10 championships. "Then I took a break to heal," Ohashi said, before enrolling at UCLA.

Although Ohashi's all-around performance on Sunday was not as difficulty-packed as when she competed at the international level, she dismounted balance beam with a double pike, and ended her floor routine with a double pike.

Ohashi said she was happy to perform on uneven bars, even with a fall on a Tkatchev.

"I don't normally go that high," she said with a laugh. "This is my first time in three years competing bars. It didn't go exactly how I wanted, but it was so much fun just being out there."

Ohashi said she is gradually returning to form following the injuries that plagued her as an Elite-level gymnast.

Ohashi as a junior in 2012

"Obviously I have to watch my numbers, and do what I know I need to do, to save my body," she said. "So I limit my numbers, and just try to keep as healthy as possible."

Ohashi, who hopes to be in peak health prior to this spring's NCAA championships, is adjusting well to life as a student-athlete.

"It's definitely been about trying to balance everything right now, and getting situated in college," said Ohashi, whose course schedule this quarter includes English composition, psychology and African American studies. "But I think it's finally clicked now."

Ohashi may find that competing and studying in the entertainment capital of the world may boost her professionally — especially since she is considering a career in acting.

"I came in thinking I was going to major in physical therapy, but I think I might want to major in theatre," she told IG. "They say, ‘Pick your strengths,' and I decided that maybe science wasn't the way to go. So I think that something involving people, and doing something I love, is the way."

Katelyn Ohashi is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
"Sky's the Limit" - Ohashi cover story (October 2011)
Ohashi cover photo, 2013 American Cup coverage (April 2013)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 26 December 2015 08:34    PDF Print
2016 Promises More Progress For Kazakhstan's Geidt
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

International Gymnast Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this feature of Kazakhstan's Anna Geidt, who said her performances at this summer's Asian championships in Hiroshima and this fall's world championships in Glasgow represent her competitive highlights of the year.

Geidt on balance beam in Glasgow

"The best moments were the competitions in Hiroshima and Glasgow," said Geidt, who finished 12th all-around in Hiroshima and scored over four points higher in Glasgow than she did at the 2014 worlds in Nanning. "These were my best competitions."

Geidt credits maturity and experience for her substantial improvement from the 2014 Worlds to the 2015 Worlds.

"I became older and wise," said Geidt, who placed 16th on vault at this spring's Challenge Cup of Ljubljana. "I have come to not worry so much before starts, and to think about each element."

Geidt aims to bolster all of her routines and become better known in 2016.

"I want to cleanly execute my program, and add difficulty," she said. "I want to be a more promising gymnast."

Born February 19, 1996, Geidt trains under coaches Galina Barkova and Konstantin Brodetsky in Almaty. Her family name reflects her partially German heritage; her paternal grandfather is German.

Geidt has firm goals for the new year that extend beyond gymnastics.

"I want to live and be glad in life, study well and train," she said.

Geidt's holidays will be focused on family and friends. "We meet the new year in a family circle," she said. "After midnight we go around and visit friends. Christmas is only in a family circle."

Although Geidt said New Year's resolutions are not a tradition, she and her loved ones aspire for prosperity in 2016.

"We simply want that the year would be productive and healthy," she told IG.

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 20 December 2015 16:25    PDF Print
Malaysia's Abdul Hadi Keeps Olympic Hopes Alive
(7 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who looks ahead to her potential berth to next summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Abdul Hadi reflects modestly on her 2015 successes, including a six-medal winning performance at the Southeast Asian Games, a spot at the Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro next April, and recognition as the United Malays National Organization's 2015 Icon Award winner for sports during a ceremony this month at the UMNO General Assembly.

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (Malaysia) at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow

"Looking back, the most memorable moments would be the team gold medal and the floor exercise gold medal at the SEA Games," said Abdul Hadi, who also placed second all-around, and third on vault, uneven bars and balance beam, at the Games held in Singapore in June. "The team gold meant a great deal because the last time Malaysia won a team gold was in 2001. I was very happy to win the medal with this team because we have been teammates for a very long time and trained very hard for the competition. The floor gold medal was amazing because floor is my favorite event."

Also high on Abdul Hadi's list of special moments of 2015 is her nomination to the Olympic test event, which will serve as the second and last qualifying competition for next summer's Rio Games.

"Being selected for the test event was really memorable for me because it meant that I was one step closer to my dreams of qualifying for the Olympics," said Abdul Hadi, whose sister, Katrina Ann Abdul Hadi, won the duet gold medal and team silver medal in synchronized swimming at the 2015 SEA Games.

Abdul Hadi placed 69th all-around, and first among the three Malaysian female gymnasts, in qualifications at this fall's world championships in Glasgow. The Glasgow worlds was the first qualification competition for Rio.

With qualification to the Rio Games at stake in April, Abdul Hadi is eager to finesse her routines during the coming months.

"I will be focusing on cleaning up my routines and getting my E-score higher in order to have a better score overall," she said. "Especially on bars and beam, because I have the highest D-score on those events and have recently increased my difficulty with new skills - on bars with a new double layout dismount, and on beam with a flic-flac layout connection series. I will also be focusing on strength and stamina training in order for me to be at my peak performance level for the test event."

Once at the test event, Adbul Hadi said consistency will be key for Olympic qualification.

"I think that I would need to hit all my routines and, most importantly, not make a major mistake during the test event," she said. "I need to make sure that I am in top shape in order for me to perform my routines at my best capabilities."

Born May 3, 1994, Abdul Hadi lives in Subang Jaya, Selangor, and trains at National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. Her head coach is Ukrainian native Nataliya Sinkova, and her assistant coach is '04 Malaysian male Olympian Ng Shu Wai.

Her full name, Farah Ann Binti Adbul Hadi, consists of her given name (Farah), her mother's maiden name (Ann), the Muslim word for "daughter of" (Binti) and her father's family name (Abdul Hadi).

Abdul Hadi's other best results include seventh place all-around at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea; sixth place all-around, fifth on vault and sixth on floor exercise at the 2015 University Games in Gwangju, Korea; and eighth place all-around and sixth on floor exercise at the 2015 Asian championships in Hiroshima.

Before launching her 2016 training and competition agenda, Abdul Hadi looks forward to ringing in the new year with loved ones.

"I will probably spend my New Year's with my family and friends," she said. "We will be going to a paint festival and then watch the fireworks together in Kuala Lumpur."

Abdul Hadi has specific ambitions, in gymnastics and in her personal life.

"My goal for 2016 would of course be to qualify for the Olympic Games," she said. "It has been my dream since I was eight years old. Also, I would like to get my Yurchenko double twist on vault ready for competition. Out of the gym, my goals would probably be to finish my degree and spend more time with my family."

Abdul Hadi is also determined to fulfill her New Year's resolution, which centers on gymnastics.

"My New Year's resolution would be to train hard, focus on my goals and qualify for the Olympics," she told IG.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 14 December 2015 18:44    PDF Print
New Zealand's Sullivan Celebrates Success, College Scholarship
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

International Gymnast Online kicks off its annual tradition of holiday-themed features on gymnasts from around the world who reflect on the current year and forecast the coming year. First up is New Zealand's Charlotte Sullivan, who earlier this year earned her country's first FIG World Challenge Cup medal.

International Gymnast Online kicks off its annual tradition of holiday-themed features on gymnasts from around the world who reflect on the current year and forecast the coming year. First up is New Zealand's Charlotte Sullivan, who earlier this year earned her country's first FIG World Challenge Cup medal.

"The most memorable moments for me in 2015 would have to be winning a bronze medal on beam at the World Cup in Anadia, Portugal, and also receiving a full-ride gymnastics scholarship to the University of Iowa,” Sullivan said.

Born May 31, 1998, Sullivan has enjoyed success at the junior and senior international levels. She placed seventh all-around at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games on Isle of Man, and ninth all-around in the junior division at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Washington.

Last year Sullivan was fifth on floor exercise at the World Challenge Cup of Doha, Qatar, and 11th all-around in the senior division at the Pacific Rim championships in Richmond, British Columbia.

Sullivan competed at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, and this fall's worlds in Glasgow, where the New Zealand women earned one spot for the Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro in April.

Teammate Courtney McGregor has been designated as the New Zealand's female participant at the test event, which will serve as the second and final qualification competition for next summer's Olympic Games in Rio.

Sullivan, who is New Zealand's reserve gymnast for the test event, said she is eager to begin the next phase of her career at the University of Iowa.

"My goal for 2016 is to continue to improve my gymnastics and clean up all my skills for college,” said Sullivan, who trains under coaches Amanda Johanson and Toby Levine at Christchurch School of Gymnastics.

For the time being, however, Sullivan looks forward to a warm holiday week.

"I will spend Christmas and New Year's at home,” she told IG. "Each year we spend Christmas Day with my whole family. This year we are having it at our house. Hopefully it will be a nice, sunny day so we can go swimming.”

Written by IG Staff    Thursday, 10 December 2015 09:41    PDF Print
Uchimura Credits Consistency For Sixth World Title
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After winning his historic sixth consecutive world all-around title this fall, Kohei Uchimura of Japan said consistency was the key to his latest victory.

Six-time world champion Kohei Uchimura

“I did not make any mistakes,” said Uchimura of his win in the all-around final at the world championships in Glasgow on October 30. “I just tried to perform my best performance, with perfection.”

Uchimura said his individual win in Glasgow was more significant than his previous five since it followed Japan’s victory in the team final on October 28. Japan had not won the world team title since 1978.

“It is my first time to have an all-around gold medal after getting a team gold medal,” said Uchimura, the 2012 Olympic champion. “I think it is more meaningful than before, and also I feel more satisfied.”

Uchimura had planned to compete at this weekend's Toyota Cup, but withdrew to tend to an injured leg. His teammates Yusuke Tanaka, Ryohei Kato and Kenzo Shirai. will headline the competition for Japan. Top international competitors in the lineup include Marcel Nguyen (Germany), Jonathan Horton and Eddie Penev (United States). The women's lineup includes four world champions from Russia Ksenia Afanasyeva, Viktoria Komova, Maria Paseka and Daria Spiridonova, as well as the legendary Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan).

Read about Uchimura’s history-making performances in the December 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. This special issue devoted to the 2015 world champion-ships is now available in print and/or digital editions. To subscribe, click here


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