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Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:14    PDF Print
IG Online Interview: Pablo Brägger (SUI)
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Newly crowned Swiss men's all-around champion Pablo Brägger is preparing to make an international name for himself at next month's world championships in Tokyo.

At the Swiss championships held earlier this month in Bellinzona, the 18-year-old Brägger was the youngest gymnast among the top 12 all-around finishers – and the most successful. Brägger, the 2010 Swiss junior titlist, defeated several veterans, including 2009 champion Niki Böschenstein and 2010 champion Claudio Capelli, to take his first Swiss senior title.

Born Nov. 27, 1992, in Kirchberg, Brägger trains at STV Oberbüren under head coach Bernhard Fluck, and assistant coaches Frédéric Forrier and Laurent Tricoire. In 2010, he won the all-around bronze at the Junior Europeans in Birmingham and was a member of 15th-place Swiss squad at the worlds in Rotterdam.

Brägger now hopes to help the Swiss earn a team berth to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The top eight teams in Tokyo will qualify for London, and four additional teams will qualify for the Games based on their performance at an Olympic test event in January.

IG recently spoke with the ambitious Brägger, who commented on his victory at home and his aspirations for Tokyo and beyond.

IG: Pablo, congratulations on winning the Swiss all-around title. Going into the competition, how realistic was winning to you?

Brägger at the 2010 Junior Europeans

PB: Thank you very much. In fact I didn't go to the competition to win. My goal was to do a good competition without mistakes and qualify for the worlds team. But sure, there was a little hope in me to earn a podium place with a good competition.

IG: Reflecting on the competition, what could have have done better? And on which apparatuses were you most pleased, and why?

PB: I did a very good competition for me, without falls. But there were some mistakes; for example, on floor, where the landing in the last line wasn't good. And on the other events there are some little things I could have done better. I was most pleased with p-bars because I did a good exercise and it worked better than in training.

IG: How do you feel as a "youngster" performing better than older guys such as Claudio Capelli and Niki Böschenstein?

PB: I feel like before, because I know that the others made some bad mistakes. I know that normally they can beat me. But it feels great just to win! And to show everybody that the young gymnasts are behind them, pushing and training hard to beat them.

IG: What are your expectations and goals for Tokyo, as an individual and for your team?

PB: My goal for Tokyo is to do a great competition and to support the team the best that I can. My goal for the team is to qualify for the Olympic test event in January and to qualify there for the Olympic Games.

I hope that worlds will be an event to benefit from the impressions of the other teams, and to find even more motivation to train harder and more precisely.

External Links: Pablo Brägger Official Site

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
"No Turning Back" - Capelli feature (June 2011)
"Swiss Star" - Böschenstein feature (January/February 2010)

To order back issues of IG Magazine, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 01 August 2011 22:52    PDF Print
Liddick: Fitness Big Factor for Oz World Squad
(9 votes, average 4.44 out of 5)

After some hit-and-miss performances at July's national championships, gymnasts hoping to make Australia's world team will be expected to show up in better shape at September's world trials, head coach Peggy Liddick told IG.

"We are looking for improvements in the fitness status of all the world's trialists," Liddick said. "This will be a major factor in the final selection."

World floor exercise champion Lauren Mitchell recaptured her national title July 15 in Perth, topping her closest competitor by nearly 8 points in the two-day contest. In finals she won every event except uneven bars, where Chloe Sims claimed gold.

Lauren Mitchell (Australia) at the 2010 Worlds

Though many of the gymnasts were not in world form, Liddick said she was impressed by several gutsy performances.

"The highlight of the competition, over the entire three days, would have to be an 85-percent healthy-and-fit Lauren Mitchell," Liddick said. "In Tokyo at the Japan Cup (July 2-3), Martine George (Lauren's personal coach) and I were still contemplating if Lauren would compete all apparatus or not. So for Lauren to come in to nationals and perform three all-around competitions was a step in the right directions for our worlds preparation."

Liddick also praised all-around bronze medalist Mary-Anne Monckton, who has been unlucky with injuries for much of her career. She rebounded in 2010 to take second at the Australian championships, before a ruptured ligament in her ankle forced her out of the Commonwealth Games and world championships.

"Mary-Anne is getting better each week, so that is a good indicator for her chances for the world team," Liddick said.

Several gymnasts unable to compete in Perth may still have a shot at the team for the world championships, Oct. 7-16 in Tokyo. 2008 Olympian Georgia Bonora, the 2010 national champion, missed the national championships after underwent ankle surgery in June.

"Georgia Bonora has had a history of ankle issues, so after Rotterdam, she had some bone spurs reoccur in her ankles," Liddick said. "She was given advice not to have any more 'clean out' surgery on them, but after six months of no improvement and seeking a second opinion, surgery was required after all. So, Georgia had some minor ankle surgery, but she is in full training and fully intends on attending the final worlds trial in September."

First-year senior Angela Donald, the bronze medalist on balance beam at the 2010 Youth Olympics, has an outside shot at the team to Tokyo.

"Angela Donald was preparing for her state championships the second week of June when the night before, in training, she caught her finger on an overshoot on bars, fracturing a bone in her hand," Liddick said. "Angela had to have a pin inserted to stabilize the bones while healing is taking place. It is expected to take 12 weeks to totally heal, so it is highly unlikely that she can regain her bars, but she is an outside chance for other apparatus for the worlds trial."

Georgia Simpson, Mitchell's training mate at the Western Australia Institute of Sport, dislocated her patella the week before nationals but was also invited to the camp.

Many of the senior squad debuted new floor routines in Perth that are designed to impress on the world stage. Notable choreographers including Lisa Bradley, Tatiana Lapchina, Adriana Pop and Stacey Umeh contributed to the special effort.

"With a major emphasis on this area and many more deductions taken for artistry, we have done basically an overhaul of the choreography that we will put out on the floor at worlds," Liddick said. "The music is grand, unique and beautiful. The choreography has been fantastic, better than I had anticipated. We are really looking forward to performing these floor routines at worlds."

External Link: Gymnastics Australia

Australian Senior Women's Team - 2011-2012

Georgie Bonora
Ashleigh Brennan
Georgia Rose Brown
Sophie Budack
Nikola Chung
Shar-Lee Clark
Angela Donald
Tierra Exum
Britt Greeley
Laura Hingston
Natalia Joura
Amaya King Koi
Emily Little
Zoe Lorenzin
Amelia McGrath
Larrissa Miller
Lauren Mitchell
Mary-Anne Monckton
Clare O'Donnell
Svetlana Sanders
Georgia Simpson
Chloe Sims
Georgia Wheeler
Katie Wurth
Crystal Yeo

Written by Amanda Turner with Kaori Miyaura    Sunday, 03 July 2011 12:24    PDF Print
Tsurumi, Uchimura Win Tokyo Worlds Warm-Up
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Japanese champions Koko Tsurumi and Kohei Uchimura won the all-around titles Sunday as the Japan Cup concluded in Tokyo, where the 2011 World Championships will take place in October. Pictured: Uchimura flanked by runner-up Liao Qiuhua (China) and bronze medalist Danell Leyva (U.S.).

Koko Tsurumi and Kohei Uchimura won the all-around titles Sunday as the Japan Cup concluded in Tokyo in the same venue that will host this year's world championships.

The host team's national champions both led the competition from start to finish.

Koko Tsurumi (Japan) on floor exercise during Sunday's Japan Cup

Tsurumi won the Japan Cup title for the first time, outscoring China's Yao Jinnan and Sui Lu.

"I decided to get up the courage to perform four events even if I fell today," Tsurumi said. "It went well. The Chinese gymnasts excel in the quality of their technique. I want to be like China's gymnasts, in even the smallest way."

Tsurumi took her highest score on uneven bars (14.900), but said she was very pleased with her performance on floor exercise (13.750).

"About floor exercise, today I did well for the first time this season," she said. "But I think I'm unstable on floor. I want to perform with sharpness like the Chinese."

Sui lost the title with a fall on balance beam, scoring only 13.700 compared with her 15.050 in Saturday's team competition. The 2010 Asian Games champion again had the top mark on floor exercise (14.700). Sui said she was using the competition as a warm-up for October's world championships, which take place in the same venue.

"Today was not too bad," she said. "I made a big mistake, but I came into this competition as practice for the world championships. We want to get the gold medal in the team final in Tokyo."

Uchimura performed six avents with almost perfect precision, taking his third straight Japan Cup by nearly 4 points ahead of China's Liao Qiuhua. American Danell Leyva won the bronze.

"I performed without big mistakes, so I'm happy with the results of this competition," Uchimura said. "But now it is far from my ideal."

The two-time world champion said he was thrilled to hear his national anthem for the second day in a row.

"It is very nice that every day Japan's national anthem is played and Japan's national flag is raised in the center," he said. "I hope it goes the same way at the Olympic Games."

External Link: Japan Gymnastics Association

3rd Tokyo Cup
July 3, 2011, Tokyo

Women's All-AroundVTUBBBFXTotal
1. Koko Tsurumi 13.550 14.900 13.900 13.750 56.100
2. Sui Lu 13.550 14.050 13.700 14.700 56.000
3. Yao Jinnan 14.300 14.650 13.150 13.200 55.300
4. Lauren Mitchell 13.800 12.550 14.150 13.250 53.750
5. Mary Anne Monckton 13.650 12.950 13.350 13.000 52.950
6. Rie Tanaka 12.800 14.300 12.250 13.350 52.700
7. Dominique Pegg 13.900 13.500 11.650 13.600 52.650
8. Eum Eun Hui 13.650 13.000 11.150 12.350 50.150
9. Park Ji Yeon 13.250 13.200 10.950 12.400 49.800
10. Jessica Savona 13.450 0.000 0.000 0.000 13.450

Men's All-AroundFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1. Kohei Uchimura 15.800 15.050 15.100 16.300 15.250 15.650 93.150
2. Liao Qiuhua 14.100 14.800 15.050 16.050 15.050 14.450 89.500
3. Danell Leyva 14.950 13.500 14.450 16.050 15.250 15.000 89.200
4. Kenya Kobayashi 13.950 14.600 15.100 14.950 14.800 14.600 88.000
5. Kristian Thomas 14.950 14.000 14.000 15.750 13.950 14.700 87.350
6. Huang Yuguo 15.350 13.950 13.800 14.750 14.650 13.300 85.800
6. Pierre-Yves Beny 13.650 13.850 14.750 14.650 14.950 13.950 85.800
8. Daniel Keatings 14.750 13.850 13.450 15.400 13.750 14.000 85.200
9. Jayd Lukenchuk 14.500 13.550 14.250 15.550 14.350 12.950 85.150
10. Hamilton Sabot 14.400 13.750 13.950 14.500 14.850 13.600 85.050
11. Jonathan Horton 14.450 12.850 14.750 15.650 14.500 12.500 84.700
12. Jackson Payne 14.550 13.650 14.100 14.550 14.600 12.950 84.400
13. Ha Chang Ju 11.750 14.700 13.550 15.650 13.700 13.800 83.150
14. Shek Wai Hung 13.000 12.750 13.400 15.950 13.350 14.100 82.550
15. Poon Chun Kit 12.200 9.500 9.150 13.050 11.200 11.600 66.700
Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 05 June 2011 21:59    PDF Print
Canada's Dowling Eager for 'Unique Opportunity' with Dutch Team
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Canadian-born Jessica Dowling told IG she is excited to take part in this month's Dutch championships as the next step in her efforts to represent the Netherlands in international competition.

Jessica Dowling

"Because my mom was born in the Netherlands, I am automatically a Dutch citizen and I have a dual citizenship," said Dowling, who placed first all-around in the Open division at last month's Canadian championships. "I think I can help the Dutch team on floor and bars, and also think I have potential to upgrade my vault and beam to make a contribution there, as well."

Dowling said she began her quest to represent the Netherlands after injuries made her unable to compete at the Elite Canada meet last December.

"As a result I was no longer part of the Canadian selection process," Dowling said. "I then decided to contact the Dutch federation, who put us in contact with the national head coach (Gerben Wiersma). After a successful week of training in the Netherlands with (Wiersma), he invited me to attend the Dutch national championships in order to be eligible for their selection process. We decided to take advantage of this unique opportunity."

Dowling said Wiersma and the Dutch federation welcomed her interest in competing for them.

"They were very enthusiastic with this unexpected development," she said. "(Wiersma) felt I had a good program on bars and floor, and also that I could make a good contribution to the Dutch team on beam and vault. He considered me an all-around athlete."

Dowling said her coaches at Oakville Gymnastics Club in Ontario have also encouraged her to pursue a place on the Dutch team.

"My coaches are very supportive because they were also disappointed that I am no longer eligible for the Canadian selection process," she said.

Among Dowling's most enthusiastic supporters is her mother, Ellen.

"My mom is very proud for my perseverance and coming back after my Achilles', heel and shoulder injuries," Dowling told IG. "Even though she finds it unfortunate that I am not part of the Canadian selection process, she is very happy that I am able to still pursue my goals as an elite gymnast. She loves going home and seeing her family."

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 31 May 2011 07:18    PDF Print
Izurieta, Cuesta Tie for Spanish Cup Title
(13 votes, average 4.08 out of 5)

Ana María Izurieta and Beatriz Cuesta (pictured) shared the women's all-around title at the Spanish Cup, held Saturday in Madrid.

Ana María Izurieta and Beatriz Cuesta (both of Madrid) shared the women's all-around title at the Spanish Cup, held Saturday in Madrid.

After sub-par results in recent years, the Spanish women are showing improved depth, with several promising first-year seniors who could help the team at this year's world championships. Spain failed to qualify a full women's team for the 2008 Olympic Games and finished a disastrous 18th at the 2010 World Championships.

Izurieta, the 18-year-old Ecuador native, made a comeback after 18 months of injuries. Fourth all-around at the 2009 Europeans, she missed the 2009 Worlds and competed one event only at the 2010 Worlds. Izurieta led the field on balance beam (14.50) and had the second-best score on uneven bars (toe-full to Gienger; Jaeger; double layout). She opened with a beautiful triple twist on floor exercise, but stumbled out of bounds on a double tuck.

Cuesta had the top score on floor exercise (13.35), where she had weak tumbling (two whips to double tuck; 2 1/2; front to double twist; double pike) but lovely presentation. She had the third-best score on beam (14.20), again showing typical Spanish extension (beautiful straddle planche mount; ff to two layouts; switch side; front aerial; side somi; ff, ff double pike; click here for video).

Her older sister, Marta Cuesta, finished eighth on uneven bars at the 2010 Porto World Cup in Portugal.

First-year senior Claudia Menéndez (Asturias) won the all-around bronze, earning the high score of the meet (14.85) for a double-twisting Yurchenko.

Madrid's María Paula Vargas, another first-year senior and the silver medalist on vault at the 2010 Youth Olympics, finished fourth all-around. Vargas, a native of Venezuela, was the top scorer on uneven bars (Shaposhnikova to Pak; toe-on blind to Jaeger; double front; 14.50).

Junior Roxana Popa, a native of Romania who now lives in Madrid, finished seventh all-around. Born June 2, 1997, in Constanta, Popa became a Spanish citizen at age 11.

The Spanish championships for men begin June 30 in Valencia, and the women's championships will be held in July in Seville.

External Link: Royal Spanish Gymnastics Federation

2011 Spanish Cup (for Women)
May 28, San Agustín de Guadalix, Madrid

1. Ana María Izurieta Los Cantos Alcorcon 5.0 13.45 5.6 14.35 5.5 14.50 5.4 12.85 55.15
1. Beatriz Cuesta Las Rozas 5.0 13.85 5.2 13.75 5.5 14.20 5.3 13.35 55.15
3. Claudia Menéndez RGC Covadonga 5.8 14.85 5.2 13.40 5.5 13.80 5.9 12.90 54.95
4. María Paula Vargas Las Rozas 5.0 14.05 5.9 14.50 5.3 13.00 5.3 13.15 54.70
5. Claudia Vilà Salt GC 5.0 13.45 5.0 12.80 5.4 14.25 5.2 13.05 53.55
6. Ainoa Carmona Xelska 5.0 13.45 4.8 12.30 5.8 13.85 5.2 12.85 52.45
7. Roxana Popa CGA Pozuelo 4.4 12.90 3.6 11.35 5.1 13.90 4.8 12.95 51.10
8. Elena Zaldívar CGA Pozuelo 4.6 12.50 5.0 13.00 5.0 12.75 4.9 12.65 50.90
9. Cintia Rodríguez Xelska 4.4 12.90 5.4 12.80 4.3 11.95 4.7 12.90 50.55
10. Toya Rojas Grech 5.0 13.90 5.2 13.55 4.1 9.50 5.1 12.70 49.65
11. Irene Matienzo CGA Pozuelo 4.4 12.30 3.4 10.70 4.4 12.20 4.4 12.30 47.50
12. Paula Raya Terrassa 4.0 11.85 4.8 12.90 4.2 11.80 4.2 10.95 47.50
13. Carolina Sanchez Xelska 4.4 12.20 4.7 12.00 4.3 10.80 4.2 11.65 46.65
14. Noelia Rubio COS-Master 4.2 11.90 3.4 10.95 4.0 11.50 4.5 11.60 45.95
15. Laura Gamell Terrassa 4.2 11.80 4.8 12.10 4.6 11.05 3.8 10.65 45.60
16. Mireia Sanfiz Osona 4.2 11.85 3.2 8.40 4.5 11.80 4.5 11.70 43.75
17. Ariadna Punti Egiba 4.4 12.20 2.8 8.10 4.0 10.45 4.5 11.65 42.40
18. Erika Fernandez Aritza 4.4 12.45 3.9 9.60 3.8 9.45 4.2 9.65 41.15
19. Silvia Puig GGC 4.2 12.30 1.9 6.80 4.0 11.40 3.7 10.60 41.10
20. Sara Montore Natacio Granollers 5.0 13.25 3.3 7.30 4.0 8.50 4.8 11.95 41.00
21. Andrea San Jose Los Cantos Alcorcon 4.4 11.40 2.2 7.35 3.9 10.20 4.3 11.85 40.80
22. Paula Comas Salt GC 4.2 11.85 2.7 7.70 3.8 9.75 2.9 10.00 39.30
23. Judit Luzardo I.Lanzarote 3.8 11.10 1.9 9.00 4.0 7.55 3.4 10.50 38.15
24. Mariona Antó Salt GC 2.5 12.00 3.0 6.00 2.9 10.50 8.90 37.40
25. Cristina Adrover Xelska 4.4 12.30 4.4 11.35 4.5 12.05 35.70
26. Lucia Rosales C. Sur 4.0 10.10 1.8 6.65 3.9 8.15 3.1 9.40 34.30
27. Ana Noceda San Blas 4.0 10.60 1.2 4.10 3.9 8.95 2.8 9.75 33.40
28. Gladis Pujol Natacio Granollers 4.6 12.10 4.1 4.2 11.30 9.70 33.10
29. Eugenia Pujol Salt GC 4.2 11.70 3.7 3.0 11.35 9.75 32.80
30. Laura Barahona Los Cantos Alcorcon 1.8 8.95 4.5 10.25 4.2 11.95 31.15
31. Thais Escolar La Mina Gervasio Deferr 4.9 12.05 4.7 13.60 25.65
32. Andrea Cajamarca Osona 3.0 7.85 3.2 9.35 17.20
33. Laura Navajas Xelska 4.7 11.80 11.80
34. Tamara Ruiz Los Cantos Alcorcon 4.0 11.50 11.50
35. Ana Narros Los Cantos Alcorcón 2.4 10.50 10.50
36. Andrea Corralero Natacio Granollers 3.7 9.90 9.90
37. Laura Casassa Salt GC 3.1 9.90 9.90
38. Ana Moyano CGA Pozuelo 2.2 6.80 6.80

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