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Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 20 July 2009 12:39    PDF Print
European Youth Olympic Festival Begins Tuesday
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Male gymnasts will compete for the first time at the European Youth Olympic Festival, which begins Tuesday in Tampere, Finland.

Established by the European Olympic Committees Association in 1991, the biennial event showcases junior athletes in multiple Olympic sports, including gymnastics, track and field, swimming and basketball.

The competition previously featured only women's artistic gymnastics. Past all-around champions were Ukraine's Anna Shakhoval (1993), Olga Roschupkina (1999), Alina Kozich (2001) and Valentina Golenkova (2007); Russians Yevgenia Kuznetsova (1995), Anna Kovalyova (1997) and Yulia Lozhechko (2003); and Italy's Vanessa Ferrari (2005).

The gymnastics event has expanded this year, with male gymnasts born 1992-1993 competing in Tampere along with female gymnasts born 1994-1995.

Top names on the roster include Russian junior standouts Viktoria Komova and Igor Pakhomenko; 2008 Junior European Championships medalist Amelia Racea (Romania); Lithuanian sensation Laura Svilpaite; and British Junior Championships gold and silver medalists Nicole Hibbert and Danusia Francis.

Competition begins Tuesday with the boys' team competition and qualification, followed Wednesday by the girls' team competition and qualification. The all-around finals take place Thursday, and the competition concludes Friday with the apparatus finals.

External Link: Official Event Site

2009 European Youth Olympic Festival
July 21-24, Tampere, Finland

Female Competitors (Born 1994-1995)
Lilit Derdzyan
Ani Tunyan
Katharina Fa
Elisa Hämmerle
Corinne Lamprecht
Julie Croket
Antje Van De Velde
Eline Vandersteen
Halina Ivanets
Volha Makhautsova
Nastassia Zaitsava
Ines Salopek
Nikola Fučková
Petra Hedbavna
Alice Janova
Mathilde Emilie Kirk
Samantha Drejer Thomsen
Claudia Menendez
Claudia Vila
Inna Nyyssönen
Rosanna Ojala
Reeta Pietilä
Mira Boumejmajen
Marine Brevet
Justine Crosato
Danusia Francis
Nicole Hibbert
Jennifer Pinches
Désirée Baumert
Isabelle Marquard
Pia Tolle
Athanasia Chapsa
Maria-Magdalini Trichopoulou
Elisavet Tsakou
Luca Kata Divéky
Olivia Kapitány
Renáta Tóth
Niamh Clohessy
Jordain Mcgifford
Embla Johannesdottir
Johanna Rakel Jonasdottir
Tinna Odinsdottir
Sapir Hana Cohen
Giorgia Campana
Carlotta Ferlito
Andrea Foti
Oksana Gorobeca
Veronika Putne
Agita Tomkalne
Melita Cesnaviciute
Greta Nevedomskaite
Laura Svilpaite
Mara Kimmel
Naoual Ouazzani Chahdi
Lisa van den Burg
Celine van Gerner
Haldis Sandøy Nærum
Juli Strugstad
Aleksandra Biskup
Ewa Zajac
Diana Abrantes
Filipa Choon
Ekaterina Kislinskaya
Raluca Haidu
Amelia Racea
Diana Trenca
Viktoria Komova
Violetta Malikova
Tatiana Solovyeva
Teja Belak
Fiona Novak
Rebeka Sarec
Alisa Kocic
Jelena Stamenkovic
Sara Catanzaro
Jessica Diacci
Giulia Steingruber
Johanna Adlerteg
Agnes Carlsson
Ida Gustafsson
Dila Su Eroglu
Demet Mutlu
Ozlem Ozkan
Yevgenia Cherny
Alina Fomenko
Natalia Kononenko
Male Competitors (Born 1992-1993)
Artur Davtyan
Artur Tovmasyan
Vahan Vardanyan
Thomas Neuteleers
Tomas Thys
Jimmy Verbaeys
Pilip Dalzheuski
Uladzislau Hryb
Stanislau Yazhou
Vilislav Filipov
Emil Hristov
Velislav Valchev
Filip Borosa
Dimitris Krashias
Martin Pazdera
Stepan Pecka
Filip Seidl
Kasper Vestergaard Rydberg
James Oliver Wagner
Nestor Abad
Alberto Tallon
Kasper Holopainen
Heikki Niva
Jimi Päivänen
Brandon Prost
Loïs Szymczak
Jim Zona
Maximillian Bennett
Cameron Mackenzie
Sam Oldham
Mikheil Kharabadze
Viet Thao Hoang
Christian Keil
Ivan Rittschik
Nikolaos Antoniadis
Georgios-Christos Chatziefstathiou
Christoforos-Aggelos Konstantinidis
Ádám Babos
Levente Tóth
Péter Vigh
Christopher O'connor
Sindri Steinn Davidsson Diego
Jon Sigurdur Gunnarsson
Brynjar Jochumsson
Kfir Weiss
Tommaso De Vecchis
Ludovico Edalli
Giancarlo Pollini
Sergejs Poznakovs
Ivan Krstevski
Kevin Crovetto
Håkon Andreassen
Lars Joyce Planke
Stian Skjerahaug
Piotr Kielbik
Francisco Fragoso
Ricardo Martins
Adelin Ladislau Kotrong
Andrei Vasile Muntean
Ioan Laurentiu Nistor
Mikhail Andreyev
David Belyavsky
Igor Pakhomenko
Primoz Mauric
Zan Zunko
Pablo Brägger
Oliver Hegi
Michael Meier
Martin Argalas
Slavomir Michnak
Ferhat Arican
Heorhii Petrosian
Maksym Semyankiv
Mykyta Yermak
 
Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 20 July 2009 07:17    PDF Print
Cheng Fei to Miss Chinese Championships
(10 votes, average 4.90 out of 5)

Superstar Cheng Fei likely will sit out this weekend's Chinese National Gymnastics Championships because of ongoing injuries, according to the Xinhua news agency.


Cheng Fei (China)

Cheng, a five-time world gymnastics champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, has been suffering from a recurring Achilles' tendon injury. During training for the recent University Games in Belgrade, Cheng aggravated an injury in her right knee, Xinhua reported.

In Belgrade, Cheng finished second on vault to Olympic champion Hong Un Jong (North Korea), who performs Cheng's own signature vault.

Cheng has decided to stop competing her eponymous vault (Yurchenko half-on, layout Rudi) until her leg injuries heal, she said.

"To recover well from the knee injury as soon as possible, I have now temporarily abandoned the 'Cheng Fei vault,'" said Cheng, 21.

Management from Hubei, Cheng's home province, said her injury should not affect this fall's big events, the 11th National Games in September and the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships in October.

The national championships begin Friday in Xiantao, where 175 gymnasts from 24 teams will compete for honors.

Even without Cheng, the roster for Xiantao includes eight Olympic champions: Huang Xu, Teng Haibin, Zou Kai, Deng Linlin, He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan and Yang Yilin.

He, the 2008 Olympic champion on uneven bars, helped the Chinese women win the team title Saturday at the Japan Cup in Tokyo. She is practicing a new routine with a 7.4 Difficulty score.

External Link: Chinese Gymnastics Association

Who is your favorite Chinese gymnast and why? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 18 July 2009 13:04    PDF Print
FIG Fines Taiwan Over Doping Case
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The Chinese Taipei Gymnastics Association faces a "heavy fine" over its handling of a recent doping case, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Saturday.

The FIG reprimanded the federation for "repeatedly failing to communicate with the FIG" after an aerobic gymnast tested positive for diuretics in November.

Aerobic gymnast Shih-Hui Chiu faces a two-year competition ban retroactive to Nov. 3, 2008, the day he tested positive for the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide.

The FIG also accused the Taiwanese federation of "neglecting to assist its gymnast" in the case.

The World Games 2009 began Friday in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. The multi-sport event includes rhythmic gymnastics, aerobics, sports acrobatics, trampoline and tumbling.

External Link: International Gymnastics Federation

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 15 July 2009 21:09    PDF Print
Gymnasts Liukin, Johnson Earn ESPY Awards
(24 votes, average 3.38 out of 5)

Olympic champion gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson (U.S.) picked up more hardware Wednesday night at the annual ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.

Nastia Liukin (U.S.) shows off her ESPY award for Best Female Athlete 2009.

Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, won Best Female Athlete. The 19 year old defeated tennis star Serena Williams, professional basketball player Candace Parker, Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and Connecticut basketball player Maya Moore. Eight-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps won Best Male Athlete.

"It's still a little surreal," Liukin said backstage at the Nokia Center after accepting the trophy. "It's definitely going to add a little bit of weight to my purse on the way home."

Johnson, the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and recent "Dancing with the Stars" champion, won the award for Best Female Olympian.

2004 Olympian Courtney Kupets was nominated for Best Female College Athlete, which went to Moore.

Liukin, who is training for the 2012 Olympic Games, will return to competition this month at the CoverGirl U.S. Classic on July 25 in Des Moines, Iowa. Liukin plans to compete on balance beam at the event, and then contribute to the live TV and online coverage on Universal Sports.

The 2009 ESPY Awards, hosted by actor Samuel L. Jackson, will be broadcast on ESPN at 9 p.m. EST on Sunday.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 15 July 2009 06:38    PDF Print
Australia's Sims Reconciles Frustrations, Sets Sites on Studies
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After winning the Level 10 division at the recent Australian Gymnastics Championships, Chloe Sims told IG that concern for her health and frustration over politics have discouraged her from resuming her international career.

Chloe Sims (Australia) at the 2006 Commonwealth Games

"I have no intention to return to elite gymnastics, as my body is not as young as it used to be," said the 18-year-old Sims. "As much as my Olympic dream is still alive, I am certain that I would not be welcomed back."

Sims, who won the Level 10 all-around title Australian Championships on Friday in Perth, deemed the past year "full of ups and downs."

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Sims won the all-around title and helped the Australian team to gold. Following the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, where Australia qualified a full team for 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she withdrew from the national team.

Sims was the second Australian team member to bypass Beijing, with her announcement coming a few months after the surprise retirement of World Cup gold medalist Hollie Dykes.

"At the time I found myself stuck in a situation where pursuing the 'ultimate' wasn't going to be a positive outcome for my health," Sims told IG last fall of her decision.

Sims aimed for a fresh start at the University of Utah, where she planned to compete in the NCAA system. However, the NCAA declared her HSC (High School Certificate) unacceptable, leaving her ineligible to compete in collegiate gymnastics.

"I did not receive any of the specifics from the NCAA as to why I was not accepted, so it was very disappointing to be left in the dark," Sims said. "Utah had given me the green light and had my dorm, classes and uniforms all ready for me. I still keep in touch with (coach) Greg Marsden and the team, and even though I was only there for a few days, I miss them very much."

Coaching at a club in Queensland, Sims began training for the Level 10 division (one below the elite level) at the Australian Championships, which concluded Tuesday.

"I started back doing Level 10 National because I was in the gym six days a week coaching, and was a little jealous that the other girls were able to do all the cool tricks that I was so used to doing," Sims said. "Also, Queensland, my home state, had not won the Level 10 Australian title for 10 years. So when one of my team mates came to me and said they only needed one more girl to complete the team, I was more than happy to chalk up."

In addition to winning the Level 10 all-around title, Sims helped Queensland place first in the Level 10 team competition, by 15.13 points, over Australian Capital Territory. Other members of the victorious Queensland team were Kristy Bishop and Steph Zietek (Delta Brisbane), Monique Cowan (Barron Valley, Cairns), Emma Longmuir (Gymnastics Townsville) and Tara Brady (Moreton Bay College, Brisbane).

Sims said that, despite the success Sims achieved in the previous and recent stages of her career, politics often played a detrimental role.

"Even at a national level I have found that you are not judged on what you perform, but on how you look and what institution or club you represent," Sims said.

Sims said she hopes that negative influences often associated with high-level sports will be minimized for the next generations of Australian gymnasts.

"I do not wish any of the future gymnasts to have to compete not only with other athletes but also the unnecessary politics within the sport," she told IG. "It can ruin so many dreams and waste so much potential for Australia to become an even stronger competitor in the world. On a more positive note, I am starting university next week, studying business and majoring in management. I hope to one day open a tattoo and piercing studio in Australia."

 


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