Kovacs, Radivilov win biggest at Challenge Cup of Koper

Written by John Crumlish for International Gymnast Online

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Igor Radivilov (UKR)

Hungary’s Zsofia Kovacs earned three golds and Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov earned two golds as the only multiple winners at the Challenge Cup of Koper held June 16-19.

Prior to her victory on balance beam, Kovacs won gold on vault and uneven bars, the same two apparatus on which she ranked first at the 2020 European Championships in Mersin. Kovacs, who competed at the past two Olympic Games, placed first on uneven bars and balance beam at the 2019 Challenge Cup of Koper.

Among Kovacs’ other best results, she was 14th all-around at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, fifth on uneven bars at last fall’s World Championships in Kitakyushu and second on balance beam at the World Cup of Cairo this March.

Two-time Croatian Olympian Ana Derek took gold on floor exercise and silver on balance beam after placing second on both of those events at last year’s Challenge Cup of Koper. Earlier this spring Derek won gold on balance beam and bronze on floor exercise at the Challenge Cup of Varna, and silver on balance beam and silver on floor exercise at the Challenge Cup of Osijek.

The 29-year-old Radivilov placed first on still rings and vault in Koper. He won gold on still rings at the 2013 Europeans in Moscow, and gold on vault at the 2020 Europeans in Mersin, the 2021 Europeans in Basel and the recent Challenge Cup of Osijek.

Radivilov, a three-time Olympian, took silver on vault at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning and the 2017 Worlds in Montreal, and bronze on vault at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2019 Worlds in Stuttgart.

Zsofia Kovacs (HUN)

Great Britain’s Harry Hepworth scored his first Challenge Cup medals by winning gold on floor exercise and silver on vault. Last year he placed first all-around, and first on pommel horse, still rings and vault, at the British Under 18 Championships. Earlier this year Hepworth won gold on vault at the English Championships, and silver on vault and bronze on still rings at the British Championships.

On pommel horse, Mateo Zugec of Croatia bettered his silver medal-winning performance at this spring’s Challenge Cup of Varna to take gold over Ukraine’s Petro Pakhniuk, who went on to win on parallel bars.

Pakhniuk, a two-time European championships silver medalist on parallel bars, finished first on that event at the 2017 Challenge Cup of Varna, the 2018 Challenge Cup of Szombathely and the 2020 Challenge Cup of Szombathely.

Tyson Bull of Australia collected the first Challenge Cup or World Cup medal of his career by taking gold on horizontal bar, the event on which he finished seventh at the 2019 Worlds and fifth at the Tokyo Olympics.

Double silver medalist Riley Loos of the U.S. improved upon his results from last year’s Challenge Cup of Koper, in which he placed fourth on floor exercise, fourth on still rings and eighth on vault. The 21-year-old Loos was ninth all-around at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Challenge Cup of Koper

Koper, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2022

Women:

Vault:

  1. Zsofia Kovacs HUN 13.325
  2. Tjasa Kysselef SLO 13.200
  3. Teja Belak SLO 13.050

Uneven Bars:

  1. Zsofia Kovacs HUN 14.35
  2. Zoja Szekely HUN 13.65
  3. Ruby Stacey GBR 13.35

Balance Beam:

  1. Zsofia Kovacs HUN 13.65
  2. Ana Derek CRO 13.25
  3. Greta Mayer HUN 12.45

Floor Exercise:

  1. Ana Derek CRO 12.90
  2. Poppy-Grace Stickler GBR 12.75
  3. Greta Mayer HUN 12.65

Men:

Floor Exercise:

  1. Harry Hepworth GBR 14.20
  2. Riley Loos USA 14.10
  3. Taylor Burkhart USA 13.95

Pommel Horse:

  1. Mateo Zugec CRO 14.05
  2. Petro Pakhniuk UKR 13.75
  3. Krisztopher Meszaros HUN 13.20

Still Rings:

  1. Igor Radivilov UKR 14.05
  2. Riley Loos USA 13.70
  3. Félix Blaquiere CAN 13.45

Vault:

  1. Igor Radivilov UKR 14.80
  2. Harry Hepworth GBR 14.525
  3. Taylor Burkhart USA 14.45

Parallel Bars:

  1. Petro Pakhniuk UKR 14.40
  2. Andrei Muntean ROU 14.25
  3. Krisztian Balazs HUN 14.10

Horizontal Bar:

  1. Tyson Bull AUS 14.40
  2. Carlo Macchini ITA 14.00
  3. Joshua Williams ESP 13.20

International Gymnast Online’s coverage of 2022 Challenge Cup of Koper competitors includes:

Croatia:

Croatia’s Mateo Žugec on first Challenge Cup medal: ‘Everything is possible in the final’

Korent on COVID-19: ‘We Will All Need To Get Through Together’

 

Czech Republic:

First-time World Cup medalist Lucie Trnkova: ‘I try to keep a cool head’

 

Israel:

Israel’s Lihie Raz: ’I Did My Best To Channel The Pressure’

 

Italy:

Italy’s Edalli on Quarantine: ‘There Were Many Moments of Discouragement’

 

Slovenia:

World Cup successes motivate Slovenia’s Lucija Hribar for ‘many more competitions and medals’

Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysselef: ‘Those were tears of happiness, joy, satisfaction’

More Gymnastics News:

Bulgaria’s Valentina Georgieva credits recent success on ambition and motivation

By winning the gold medal on vault at the recent World Challenge Cup in Osijek, Valentina Georgieva ended a five-year medal drought for Bulgarian women’s gymnastics at that level of competition. Georgieva’s positive results on vault in the Challenge Cup series could perhaps propel the momentum for the Bulgarian women’s program, which was once successful and highly respected.

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