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Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 25 August 2009 10:18    PDF Print
Mustafina Leads Russian Cup Qualification
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

National champion Aliya Mustafina led qualification Tuesday at the Russian Cup in Penza, although both she and the second-place gymnast are too young to compete at this fall's worlds.
National champion Aliya Mustafina led qualification Tuesday at the Russian Cup in Penza.

Mustafina scored 58.534 to qualify first over Anna Dementyeva (57.733) to Wednesday's all-around final. Mustafina, who won the all-around title at the Russian Championships in March, and Dementyeva were born in 1994, making them age ineligible for the 2009 World Championships, to be held Oct. 13-19 in London.

Defending champion Ksenia Afanasyeva placed third, despite a recent leg injury that had been expected to keep her out of the competition. Afanasyeva, the 2009 European championships silver medalist, decided at the last moment to compete in Penza, her coach said.

"We coaches insisted that Ksyusha do a light program," her coach Marina Nazarova said. "We reminded her that she needs to look after her leg to recover fully for the world championships. However, today we tried to do the all-around. It turned out well. She did not get hurt. It's possible that tomorrow in the finals, she could compete a stronger program."

Nazarova's other pupil, world and European champion Ksenia Semyonova, missed the competition with a wrist injury. World Cup gold medalist Anna Myzdrikova also skipped the competition.

The Russian women's team is plagued by a lack of healthy seniors, women's coach Alexander Alexandrov said.

"In our team there is one problem," Alexandrov said. "After the Olympics almost the entire team took time off to heal injuries. Many young, very strong gymnasts, like Aliya Mustafina and Anna Dementyeva, are now the leaders. But they were born in 1994. Therefore, they do not have the right to travel to London in October. In general, the competitions lets us see again the kids who will join the team next year. I'm happy with their condition."

2009 Russian Cup
Aug. 25, Penza

Women's All-Around Qualification
1. Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) 58.534
2. Anna Dementyeva (Samara) 57.733
3. Ksenia Afanasyeva (Tula) 57.000
4. Kristina Goryunova (Novgorod) 54.366
5. Svetlana Klyukina (Severodvinsk) 53.800
6. Ramila Musina (Surgut) 53.666
7. Valeria Sviridova (Novosibirsk) 52.667
8. Diana Sapronova (Saint Petersburg) 52.466
9. Kristina Pravdina (Voronezh) 48.500
10. Zhanna Toporova (Obninsk) 47.500
11. Ksenia Denisova (Moscow) 46.633
12. Yekaterina Skorodumova (Ulyanovsk) 46.167
13. Yekaterina Krylova (Saint Petersburg) 44.500
14. Olga Bikmurzina (Saransk) 43.166

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 24 August 2009 12:39    PDF Print
Ryazanov Leads Russian Cup Qualification
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2008 Olympian Yuri Ryazanov was the top gymnast in men's qualification Monday at the Russian Cup in Penza.

2008 Olympian Yuri Ryazanov was the top gymnast in men's qualification Monday at the Russian Cup in Penza.

Ryazanov, the 2007 and 2009 European all-around bronze medalist, scored 88.850 to lead the qualification to Tuesday's all-around final. 2008 Russian Cup silver medalist Sergei Khorokhordin qualified second (87.650) ahead of Moscow's Dmitry Gogotov (86.150).

The Russian Cup will help determine the team sent to the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships, Oct. 13-18 in London. The 2009 Worlds are for all-around and individual events only.

Russian men's head coach Yevgeny Nikolko said Monday's results show the Russian men lack all-around depth.

"All I have to say is that only Yuri Ryazanov is reliable [in the all-around]," Nikolko said. "But let's see how he competes in the final."

Nikolko said he was impressed with the improvements made by event specialists Andrei Perevoznikov (pommel horse) and Alexander Balandin (still rings).

"These gymnasts significantly increased the difficulty of their routines, even when compared with the beginning of the season," he said. "Andrei Perevoznikov had had a Start Value of 6.4, and now he works from 6.9. Balandin added three tenths of a point to his Start Value — in the spring he had a 6.6 D score, and today he was at 6.9."

The all-around field included veterans Alexei Bondarenko (ninth, 83.250) and Nikolai Kryukov (10th, 82.650).

Defending champion Maxim Devyatovsky finished 20th (74.950).

Competition continues Tuesday in Penza with the women's all-around qualification. Check back with International Gymnast Magazine Online for more updates from the 2009 Russian Cup.

2009 Russian Cup
Aug. 24, Penza

Men's All-Around Qualification
1. Yuri Ryazanov (Vladimir) 88.850
2. Sergei Khorokhordin (Barnaul) 87.650
3. Dmitry Gogotov (Moscow) 86.150
4. Alexander Dyomin (Chelyabinsk) 85.900
5. Emin Garibov (Moscow) 85.150
6. Andrei Cherkasov (Leninsk-Kuznetsky) 84.650
7. Kirill Ignatenkov (Smolensk) 83.550
8. Mikhail Bodnar (Moscow) 83.350
9. Alexei Bondarenko (Moscow) 83.250
10. Nikolai Kryukov (Voronezh) 82.650
11. Anton Lobachyov (Yekaterinburg) 82.650
12. Gennady Savelyev (Moscow) 82.650
13. Mikhail Kudashov (Chelyabinsk) 80.900
14. Denis Ablyazin (Penza) 80.550
15. Alexander Fafashkin (Moscow) 79.750
16. Dmitry Yakubovsky (Moscow) 79.350
17. Dmitry Barkalov (Vladimir-Barnaul) 79.200
18. Alexei Matveyev (Vladimir) 78.350
19. Alexander Klochkov (Moscow) 77.900
20. Maxim Devyatovsky (Leninsk-Kuznetsky) 74.950

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

Written by Dwight Normile    Thursday, 13 August 2009 21:20    PDF Print
Bross Leads Hong at U.S. Championships
(41 votes, average 2.39 out of 5)

IG Editor Dwight Normile blogs from the 2009 Visa (U.S.) Gymnastics Championships in Dallas, where the women began competition Thursday.

DALLAS — A senior women's field of 19 gymnasts, some of whom did not compete on all four events, was proof of how difficult it is to reach the elite level — and to remain there.

Shawn Johnson and Alicia Sacramone were the only two retired members of the 2008 U.S. women's Olympic team — Sacramone has announced her comeback; Johnson hasn't committed either way — and of the remaining four, only Bridget Sloan competed in the all-around.

With such a limited field, there was a definite lack of drama and energy in the air compared with a year ago, when so much was at stake. Nastia Liukin's return to competition was highly anticipated, but she did not compete on bars, even though she warmed up the event prior to the meet. She did perform on beam, much to the delight of the crowd. Liukin executed with great caution most of her Olympic routine (front aerial, flip-flop, layout; Onodi, sheep jump; side somi; switch ring leap) and even added a side aerial. She dismounted with a roundoff double twist and scored 14.45 (5.6 difficulty).

Rebecca Bross (WOGA)

Nastia's father and coach, Valeri Liukin, told IG earlier this summer that his daughter would not compete at worlds unless she was ready. And although this routine was clearly not Nastia's best, it showed enough progress to make London a possibility.

"To be able to compete here (at home) was so cool," said Liukin, who later explained her one-event showing. "I'm just not ready to perform yet. It's a step-by-step process."

Hidden beneath the great expectations was the battle among Sloan, Rebecca Bross and Ivana Hong, each of whom had something to prove. For Sloan, the lone Olympian among the trio, a victory would mean her assumption of the top rank in the country. For Bross, a former junior champion who has been slowed by injuries, a win would confirm her successful jump to the senior ranks. And for Hong, the title would validate her post-Olympic move from Great American to WOGA, as well as a realization of her immense potential.

Of the three, only Hong avoided a fall, but she did have a few minor bobbles. Sloan dropped off beam on a tour jete-half, and Bross sat down her Arabian double front off beam, but the final results showed Bross on top with 58.55. Lacking the difficulty of the leader, Hong finished second with 58.20, and Sloan was third at 57.70.

Kytra Hunter (Hill's) was the best of the rest in fourth, her powerful tumbling serving her well on beam and floor.

Samantha Peszek, who has a torn labrum, competed well on vault, beam and floor, while Jana Bieger struggled throughout, with falls on vault, beam and floor. Chellsie Memmel, who said she is just beginning her comeback after ankle surgery, competed only on beam and scored 13.80. She was using this meet as a test to see if her comeback would continue, and she told IG she was leaning toward staying in the sport instead of going to school. "College will always be there," she said with a smile.

With the national title on the line Saturday night, we can only hope for a little more buzz in the air. And though Liukin won't be in the running for the all-around gold, she hinted of her plans for the coming months.

"Hopefully, I'll make worlds and do bars and beam," she said.

Cool Skills...

  • Kytra Hunter (Hill's), Rebecca Bross (WOGA): roundoff, tucked Arabian double front off beam (Patterson). Bross fell.
  • MacKenzie Caquatto (Naperville): half turn on chest on beam
  • Of the double-twisting Yurchenkos on vault, Bridget Sloan's (Sharp's) was the cleanest.
  • Sloan: toe-on piked Tkatchev
  • Georgia Dabritz (Ace): Comaneci between the bars


  • The top 10 all-around finishers after both days of competition will qualify for the national team, provided that they have attained an average all-around score of 54.00.
  • Jana Bieger and Bridget Sloan replaced their ponytails with buns.
  • WOGA's shimmering plum leotards were subtle yet interesting.
  • The arena was far from packed tonight (7,523), despite the presence of hometown gymnast Nastia Liukin, whose image can be seen all around town on advertisements
  • Olivia Courtney, winner of the Cover Girl Classic, injured her ankle prior to the Visa Championships

Click here for detailed results.

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 05 August 2009 20:28    PDF Print
British Olympians Impress, Motivate Canadian Newcomer
(18 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Fourth all-around at the 2009 Canadian Gymnastics Championships, 17-year-old Jackson Payne told IG he is benefiting from the Canadian-British team training camp taking place this week in Calgary, and considers it valuable preparation for this fall's World Championships.

Jackson Payne (Canada) traveled to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as a tourist.

"There are many advantages to these types of training camps, but specifically I think I gain the most from the great competition and friendship between us guys," Payne said. "We are all very good friends, but I know we all want to be better than the rest."

Payne said he is also inspired by the presence of British Olympians Daniel Keatings and Louis Smith at the camp. Keatings placed second all-around at the 2009 European Championships, and Smith won the bronze medal on pommel horse — Payne's favorite event — at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"I have learned a bit from them, especially on pommel horse, being that pommel horse is their best event," Payne said. "I try to observe as closely as possible, for some tips here and there that I can try on my own. I am also learning that they are just like everyone else, and just work hard. That tells me that I have the ability to do the same or more. But, so far, they are pretty impressive with their consistency, which is what I need to work on."

Other Canadian gymnasts participating in the camp are Anderson Loran, Jayd Lukenchuk, Kevin Lytwyn, Jason Scott, Max Vacca and Robert Watson.

Born Nov. 8, 1991, in Edmonton, Payne placed first all-around at the 2008 Canadian Junior Championships, and first all-around in the junior division at the 2009 Elite Canada meet in February.

Payne said he was pleased with his fourth-place all-around ranking at the 2009 Canadian Championships in early June. The top three finishers were Casey Sandy, 25; Richard Ikeda, 27; and Jared Walls, 26.

"You know, the finish was kind of a surprise, considering I did not even hit three of my routines that day," said Payne, who trains under coaches Liang Cheng and Yves Hauglustaine at Capital City Gymnastics Club in Edmonton. "I went into nationals going for the (medal) podium for the all-around and even for a few event finals. I knew that, if I would just hit my routines, I would have a great chance."

Despite the age difference between Payne and Canada's veteran gymnasts, Payne said he was not intimidated to face them at the Canadian Championships.

"I have known many of the guys for a long time, especially Jared and Brandon [O'Neill]," Payne said. "I have been training with them since I can remember. Being in the same rotation as Jared and Brandon made me feel more at home, I guess. I think my results showed that I had some good Start Values and execution, and have some potential to score higher. And maybe a young guy could be good."

Payne said he gained motivation for his senior potential from last summer's trip to Beijing, where he watched all of the gymnastics competitions, as well as a U.S. basketball game and the first day of track and field. Payne's father, who owns and operates a landscaping company, organized the trip and accompanied his son.

"My dad sacrificed two weeks of his busiest time of year to go and have that experience with me," Payne said. "He and my coach thought it would be a great idea to watch all the world-class gymnasts, and know what I have to look ahead to. It was a great experience to realize the significance of the Olympic Games, and how ready and prepared a gymnast has to be. I got to hang around with the Canadian gymnasts afterwards, and talked to some of them about their experience."

Although Canadian Olympians Kyle Shewfelt (who won the 2004 Olympic title on floor exercise), David Kikuchi and Grant Golding have retired, Payne said he is optimistic that he and his younger teammates can eventually replace them. (Canada's other three 2008 Olympians — O'Neill, Adam Wong and Nathan Gafuik — are still active.)

"I feel that we are able and are regrouping very quickly," Payne said. "With the older juniors we have going up into the senior level, I believe we will have no problem filling in gaps and regrouping for the coming years. Kyle, David and Grant set a great bar for us to reach."

Payne said his goal for the World Championships, taking place Oct. 13-18 in London, is to perform consistently.

"With the pressure of my first world championships, I would like to hit all the routines I am there to perform," Payne said.

As Payne trains towards the 2012 Olympics in London, he said his hard work should produce simultaneous good results for him and the Canadian team.

"Personally, I think I will just need to keep improving, so I can be the best I can be and compete consistently to my best abilities," Payne told IG. "Then, encourage my teammates to do the same."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
"IG Interview: Brandon O'Neill" (March 2008)
"Team is the Theme" - Gafuik profile (November 2007)
"Good as Golding" - Golding profile (April 2005)
"IG Interview: Daniel Keatings," Keatings center poster (June 2009)
"Early Graduation Day" - Keatings profile (July/August 2007)
"Second Surge" - Kikuchi profile (September 2007)
"My Year After Athens" - Shewfelt profile (August/September 2005)
"Fame and Flair" - Smith short profile (June 2009)
"Royal Treatment" - Smith profile (December 2008)

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 01 August 2009 13:47    PDF Print
More than 450 Gymnasts Register for Worlds
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

The 2009 World Gymnastics Championships in London will be one of the largest, with 457 gymnasts registered for the competition.

A total of 283 male gymnasts and 174 female gymnasts from 74 nations are registered for the 2009 Worlds, to be held Oct. 13-18 at London's O2 Arena.

Each nation can enter up to six male gymnasts and four female gymnasts for the competition, which will be for all-around and apparatus finals only. The number of gymnasts registered for 2009 is more than double that of the previous individual world championships, held in Melbourne in 2005, which saw 189 males and 95 females compete.

The organizing committee estimates that 961 men’s routines and 551 women’s routines will be perormed during the qualifications held Oct. 13-14.

Host Great Britain is among 17 nations to register a full delegation of 10 gymnasts. Other countries sending a full complement of gymnasts are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United States.

The 2012 Olympic Games also take place in London.

External Link: 2009 World Gymnastics Championships Official Site

Who do you predict will win the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships? Leave a comment below!


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