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Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 26 April 2012 14:46    PDF Print
250+ Gymnasts on Roster for Women's Europeans
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

More than 250 gymnasts are on the preliminary roster for the upcoming women's European championships, May 9-13 in Brussels.

Eleven gold medals will be up for grabs in Brussels: senior team and individual apparatus, and junior team, all-around and apparatus.

Russia and Romania are expected to battle for the senior team supremacy, with Great Britain, Italy, France and Germany among the teams aiming for a podium finish.

Defending champion Russia is bringing its formidable trio of Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova and Anastasia Grishina, plus newcomer Anastasia Sidorova. Mustafina, who suffered a torn ACL last April at the 2011 European Championships in Berlin, is nearly back to full strength in the all-around. Reigining European all-around champion Anna Dementyeva did not make the squad, but could be a substitute for Ksenia Afanasyeva, who is on the initial roster but is likely to be replaced.

Romania's Sandra Izbasa, vault and floor exercise champion from Berlin, is back from her Achilles' tendon injury that sidelined her from the 2011 Worlds. Izbasa, Olympic champion Catalina Ponor and new star Larisa Iordache will attempt to reclaim the European crown Romania last won in 2008.

Competition begins May 9 with junior qualification, followed by senior qualification on May 10. Junior all-around final takes place May 11, followed by the senior team final on May 12 and apparatus finals on May 13.

External Link: Official Website

2012 Women's European Championships
May 9-13, Brussels, Belgium

Seniors
Barbara Gasser
Elisa Hämmerle
Jasmin Mader
Katharina Fa
Julie Croket
Gaelle Mys
Terri Grand'ry
Eline Vandersteen
Lisa Verschueren
Anastasia Marachkovskaya
Olga Mokhovtsova
Alina Sotnikava
Liliya Khoang
Anastasia Yekimenko
Ralitsa Mileva
Valentina Rashkova
Tijana Tkalcec
Tina Erceg
Ema Kajic
Stella Petran
Dina Madir
Kristyna Palesova
Jana Sikulova
Michelle Vitting Lauritsen
Mia Abildgaard Furu
Laerke Sanjana Andersen
Yasmin El-Dabagh
Mathilde Emilie Kirk
Ana Maria Izurieta
Beatriz Cuesta
Maria Paula Vargas
Claudia Menendez
Silvia Colussi-Pelaez
Rosanna Ojala
Ida Laisi
Erika Pakkala
Maija Leinonen
Mira Boumejmajen
Youna Dufournet
Anne Kuhm
Valentine Sabatou
Sophia Serseri
Beth Tweddle
Hannah Whelan
Jennifer Pinches
Danusia Francis
Imogen Cairns
Kim Bui
Oksana Chusovitina
Lisa-Katharina Hill
Nadine Jarosch
Elisabeth Seitz
Vasiliki Millousi
Paschalina Mitrakou
Dimitra Stamatiadou
Myropi Christofilaki
Andriana Syrigou Antoniou
Dorina Boczogo
Tünde Csillag
Dorina Jelencsics
Laura Gombas
Luca Diveky
Emma Lunn
Sophie Mc Coo
Sarah Buckley
Hildur Olafsdottir
Johanna Rakel Jonasdottir
Norma Dogg Robertsdottir
Thelma Rut Hermannsdottir
Tinna Odinsdottir
Valeria Maksyuta
Hadas Koren
Nofar Cohen
Noam Blorian
Ofir Nezer
Vanessa Ferrari
Erika Fasana
Francesca Deagostini
Giorgia Campana
Carlotta Ferlito
Viktorija Grisane
Laura Svilpaite
Ana Koniuchovaite
Mara Kimmel
Aline Bernar
Dorina Velisco
Céline Van Gerner
Wyomi Masela
Lisa Top
Joy Goedkoop
Maartje Ruikes
Nora Munkvold
Haldis Naerum
Silje Kathrine Dahlby
Tina Madeleine Larsen
Marta Pihan-Kulesza
Katarzyna Jurkowska
Monika Frandofert
Joanna Litewka
Zoi Lima
Ana Filipa Martins
Ekaterina Kislinskaya
Alexandra Choon
Rita Limao Oliveira
Sandra Izbasa
Catalina Ponor
Larisa Iordache
Diana Chelaru
Diana Bulimar
Aliya Mustafina
Viktoria Komova
Anastasia Grishina
Ksenia Afanasyeva
Anastasia Sidorova
Adela Sajn
Sasa Golob
Teja Belak
Fiona Novak
Ivana Kamnikar
Giulia Steingruber
Nadia Mülhauser
Jessica Diacci
Sarina Gerber
Caterina Barloggio
Maria Homolova
Jonna Adlerteg
Ida Gustafsson
Veronica Wagner
Ida Rothe
Victoria Genberg
Goksu Uctas
Sema Fidel Aslan
Demet Mutlu
Krystyna Sankova
Maria Livchikova
Yevgenia Cherniy
Alina Fomenko
Natalia Kononenko
Juniors
Olivia Jochum
Eileen Lamprecht
Jacqueline Schmidt
Jessica Stabinger
Jitske De Herdt
Mathilde Schoonbroodt
Berengere Fransolet
Laura Waem
Ellen Rabaut
Katsiaryna Fiadutsik
Yulia Khramiankova
Dayana Hryhoryeva
Hlafira Kazimirskaya
Anatasia Azarzhytskaya
Ana Derek
Ana Poscic
Elija Valentic
Karmen Koljanin
Petra Furac
Petra Fialova
Roxana Popa
Claudia Colom
Carolina Sanchez
Laura Gamell
Natalia Ros
Julia Jäkälä
Patricia Hämäläinen
Tiia Laisi
Veronika Vuosjoki
Annina Muilu
Clara Chambellant
Claire Martin
Valentine Pikul
Maelys Plessis
Louise Vanhille
Abigail Caig
Gabrielle Jupp
Charlie Fellows
Angel Romaeo
Raer Theaker
Tamara Chachua
Alina Ehret
Nicole Ster
Pauline Schaefer
Sophie Scheder
Nadja Schulze
Evangelia Plyta
Martha Verra
Konstantina Apospori
Maria Simou
Maria Tsantekidou
Noémi Makra
Beata Eke
Boglarka Toth
Aisa Kajouk
Nikolett Karsai
Sarah Beck
Ciara Roberts
Andrea Ros Jonsdottir
Freyja Hunfjord Josepsdottir
Katrin Myrra Thrastardottir
Sigridur Hronn Berthorsdottir
Gudrun Georgsdottir
Elisa Meneghini
Enus Mariani
Lara Mori
Tea Ugrin
Martina Rizzelli
Anastasija Vinnicka
Sabine Gosa
Sabine Kornijanova
Vaida Zitineviciute
Alisa Zujeva
Evelina Obrozcova
Chantysha Netteb
Jin Yi Hoekstra
Sanna Overbeek
Eythora Thorsdottir
Shirley Van Deene
Katarina Nilsen Ronbeck
Sofie Skattun
Bjorg Eli Oymo
Anna Bakken Worpvik
Dina Natalie Nygaard
Maria Rauta
Cristina Tudorache
Alina Stanila
Paula Ciobanu
Silvia Zarzu
Yevgenia Shelgunova
Maria Kharenkova
Yulia Tipayeva
Yekaterina Baturina
Victoria Kuzmina
Sara King
Tamara Mrdjenovic
Anic Ilic
Ilaria Käslin
Laura Schulte
Nicole Hitz
Eliane Schreiber
Conny Giussani
Barbora Mokosova
Ece Ayan
Emma Larsson
Kim Singmuang
Stina Lovisa Estberg
Julia Rumbutis
Kamile Ahsen Goktekin
Olena Vasylieva
Daria Matveyeva
Daria Kloptsova
Anastasia Ilnytska
Yana Fedorova
 
Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 24 April 2012 23:26    PDF Print
Melissanidis Making Comeback in Osijek
(11 votes, average 4.64 out of 5)



1996 Olympic floor exercise champion Ioannis Melissandis is poised to make his comeback to international competition Friday at the FIG Challenger Cup in Osijek, Croatia. Pictured: Yann Cucherat (France)

1996 Olympic floor exercise champion Ioannis Melissandis is poised to make his comeback to international competition Friday at the FIG Challenger Cup in Osijek, Croatia.

Melissanidis, who turned 35 in February, is returning from a 10-year competitive absence. He is scheduled to compete on vault, though fans will have to wait to see if he will attempt the Yurchenko double back named after him in 2000.

Melissanidis has been contemplating a comeback for some time, with an eye on smaller competitions like the one in Osijek.

"I have never stopped being a gymnast," he told a Greek sports website in 2011. "I have never officially retired. And there is always that desire to compete. It is in the blood. Just as you need water for life, I need gymnastics."

The latest Osijek lineup consists of 165 gymnasts representing 38 nations on five continents. Most of the top European females are skipping the event due to the proximity of the women's continental championships, May 9-13 in Brussels, but several notable gymnasts will be on hand, including Argentina's Valeria Pereyra, Australia's Larrissa Miller, Canada's Christine Lee, Greece's Vasiliki Millousi, Poland's Marta Pihan-Kulesza and Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber.

Some of the top European men, however, will be taking advantage of the Osijek opportunity to warm up for their European championships, May 21-27 in Montpellier. Yann Cucherat (France), Daniel Keatings (Great Britain), Eleftherios Kosmidis (Greece), Krisztian Berki (Hungary), Alexander Shatilov (Israel), Mitja Petkovsek (Slovenia) and Nikolai Kuksenkov (Ukraine) are among the many world and European championship medalists on the roster.

The Americas are well-represented with standouts Diego Hypolito and Arthur Zanetti (Brazil), Tomas Gonzalez (Chile) and Daniel Corral (Mexico), as well as gymnasts from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Two gymnasts from Ecuador were late additions to the competition, after the FIG requested that Osijek organizers accept their entries after the deadline.

Melissanidis is not the only gymnast returning to international competition in Osijek. Slovenia's Aljaz Pegan, who turns 38 in June, is back after a lengthy absence. 2008 U.S. champion David Sender, who rejoined the U.S. national team in February, is making his comeback after retiring in 2009.

Competition begins Friday with qualification, followed by two days of finals.

External Link: Official Website

2012 Osijek Grand Prix/FIG Challenger Cup
April 27-29, Osijek, Croatia

Women's Competitors
Merlina Galera
Valeria Pereyra
Maria Stoffel
Ailen Valente
Nikola Chung
Larrissa Miller
Katharina Fa
Elisa Hämmerle
Harumy de Freitas
Ethiene Franco
Elsabeth Black
Mikaela Gerber
Christine Lee
Tina Erceg
Ema Kajic
Stella Petran
Tijana Tkalcec
Jana Sikulova
Fadwa Mohamed Mahmoud
Silvia Colussi-Pelaez
Vasiliki Millousi
Paschalina Mitrakou
Dorina Boczogo
Luca Diveky
Laura Gombas
Emma Lunn
Valerija Grisane
Laura Svilpaite
Silje Katrine Dahlby
Tina Madeleine Larsen
Haldis Naerum
Martyna Eland
Marta Pihan-Kulesza
Teja Belak
Sasa Golob
Ivana Kamnikar
Fiona Novak
Jessica Diacci
Nadia Mülhauser
Giulia Steingruber
Maria Homolova
Viera Tranzikova
Victoria Genberg
Ida Gustafsson
Ida Rothe
Ranin Abou Faraj
Ivet Rojas
Men's Competitors
Federico Molinari
Marco Baldauf
Lukas Kranzlmüller
Alexander Leidlmair
Fabian Leimlehner
Matthias Schwab
Donna-Donny Truyens
Jimmy Verbaeys
Petrix Barbosa
Diego Hypolito
Arthur Zanetti
Scott Morgan
Jay Hugh Smith
Tomas Gonzalez
Marko Brez
Andrej Korosteljev
Tomislav Markovic
Marijo Moznik
Robert Seligman
Filip Ude
Irodotos Georgallas
Georgios Georgiou
Xenios Papaevripidou
Martin Konecny
Vladimir Novotny
Jindrich Pansky
Juan Jose Abad
Daniel Gomez
Amr Essam Mohamed Ahmed
Tarek Hamdy Hassan Shalaby
Ali Ramadan Abuole Zahran
Juho Kanerva
Petrus Laulumaa
Jarkko Pekkanen
Tomi Tuuha
Samir Ait Said
Pierre-Yves Beny
Yann Cucherat
Gael Da Silva
Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues
Hamilton Sabot
Daniel Keatings
Ruslan Panteleymonov
Kristian Thomas
Max Whitlock
Andreas Bretschneider
Waldemar Eichorn
Philip Sorrer
Eleftherios Kosmidis
Vlasios Maras
Ioannis Melissanidis
Eleftherios Petrounias
Vasileios Tsolakidis
Krisztian Berki
Vid Hidvegi
Adam Mihok
Attila Racz
Kieran Behan
Luke Carson
Christopher O'Connor
Anthony O'Donnell
Andrew Smith
Alexander Shatilov
Alberto Busnari
Adham Alsqour
Jad Mazahreh
Vitalijs Kardasovs
Dmitrijs Trefilovs
Sascha Palgen
Daniel Corral
Jeffrey Telussa
Yuri van Gelder
Carlo van Minde
Kas van Weelden
Haakon Andreassen
Marcus Conradi
Stian Skjerahaug
Peder Ulven
Sebastian Cecot
Adam Kierzkowski
Roman Kulesza
Marek Lyszczarz
Dariusz Pisarek
Adam Rzepa
Rafael Morales-Casado
Angel Ramos
Tommy Ramos
Luis Rivera
Alexander Rodriguez
Alexis Torres
Marius Berbecar
Adrian Bucur
Andrei Muntean
Saso Bertoncelj
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Aljaz Pegan
Mitja Petkovsek
Gregor Saksida
Pablo Brägger
Nils Haller
Michael Meier
Simon Nützi
Martin Argalas
Slavomir Michnak
Samuel Piasecky
Suhail Alkurdi
Amer Attar
Fadi Bahlawan
Feras Bahlawan
Nikolai Kuksenkov
Vitaly Nakonechny
Igor Radivilov
Oleg Stepko
Alexander Vorobyov
Adrian De Los Angeles
Glen Ishino
David Sender
 
Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 18 April 2012 09:35    PDF Print
Romania, Russia in Final Warm Up for Europeans
(14 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



With three weeks to go before the European championships, France, Great Britain, Romania, Russia and Switzerland will take part in friendly meets this weekend. Pictured: Mira Boumejmajen is part of the French squad that welcomes Romania for a dual meet on Saturday.

With three weeks to go before the women's European championships in Brussels, five squads will test their mettle in friendly matchups this weekend.

Russia, the defending European champion, is sending its "A" team to take on Great Britain and Switzerland on Friday in Lindenhof, Zürich. World championship gold medalist Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova lead the squad, which also includes new star Anastasia Grishina and European all-around champion Anna Dementyeva. Maria Paseka and Anastasia Sidorova — both of whom have Amanar vaults but also recent injuries — will get much-needed competitive experience.

Swiss standouts include Olympic qualifier Giulia Steingruber — a contender for the vault title in Brussels — and Nadia Mülhauser, Switzerland's alternate entrant to the 2012 Olympic Games. The British squad includes Nicole Hibbert, Jocelyn Hunt and Niamh Rippin, all members of the history-making British team that took silver at the 2010 European championships.

World floor exercise champion Ksenia Afanasyeva will be absent to rest a small leg injury sustained at last month's Russian championships in Penza, where she was first on balance beam and second all-around behind Mustafina. Afanasyeva said she is hoping to return in time for the Europeans, May 9-13 in Brussels. This year's event is for team and individual apparatus for seniors, and team, all-around and apparatus for juniors.

"I really hope to recover, to have time to prepare and make an impact [in Brussels]," Afanasyeva told a Russian news agency on Wednesday. "Without this tournament it will be very hard to get to the Olympics. The selection of the team goes through several stages - the Russian championships that we just had, followed by the European championships and Russian Cup."

Afanasyeva, who graced the cover of International Gymnast magazine in January/February of this year, said all-arounders Grishina, Komova and Mustafina now form the core of Russia's team.

"I can't say who the team leader is, because now there are three strong gymnasts on the team," Afanasyeva said. "They are all strong in their own ways, so they are all leaders. These three girls are very strong all-around, while I have a strong floor exercise.... [in the time remaining until the Games], I'll try to bring it up to the maximum - there's a lot of work ahead."

On Saturday, France will welcome junior and senior squads from Romania for a dual meet in the northwestern city of Cholet. World medalist Youna Doufournet headlines the French lineup, which will go head-to-head with Romania's top team: Diana Bulimar, Diana Chelaru, Raluca Haidu, Larisa Iordache, Sandra Izbasa, Catalina Ponor, and Amelia Racea.

Izbasa, who missed the 2011 Worlds with a sore Achilles' tendon, is training for the all-around again, said coach Octavian Bellu.

"Sandra is training normally on all four events," Bellu told a Romanian newspaper. "As this European championships is not for the individual all-around, we will decide shortly before the competition which events Sandra will compete."

Though several nations will challenge for medals in Brussels, Russian remains the team to beat, Bellu said.

"Basically there is no change in this regard," he said. "It's clear that Russia will be our biggest adversary."

2012 Switzerland vs. Great Britain vs. Russia
April 20, Lindenhof, Zürich, Switzerland

Competitors
Caterina Barloggio
Jessica Diacci
Sarina Gerber
Sara Metzger
Nadia Mülhauser
Giulia Steingruber
Nicole Hibbert
Jocelyn Hunt
Charlotte Lindsley
Laura Mitchell
Niamh Rippin
Kelly Simm
Anna Dementyeva
Anastasia Grishina
Viktoria Komova
Aliya Mustafina
Maria Paseka
Anastasia Sidorova
Coaches
Keith Richardson
Nick Ruddock
Alexander Alexandrov
Yevgeny Grebenkin
Valentina Rodionenko
Gennady Yelfimov
Fabien Martin
Sznezsana Jordanov
Zoltan Jordanov

2012 France vs. Romania
April 21, Cholet, France

Competitors
Mira BoumejmajenSenior
Manon CormorecheSenior
Clara Della VedovaSenior
Youna DoufournetSenior
Anne KuhmSenior
Valentine SabatouSenior
Sophia SerseriSenior
Diana BulimarSenior
Diana ChelaruSenior
Raluca HaiduSenior
Larisa IordacheSenior
Sandra IzbasaSenior
Catalina PonorSenior
Amelia RaceaSenior
Clara ChambellantJunior
Emeline MagniantJunior
Claire MartinJunior
Amelie PauffertJunior
Valentine PikulJunior
Maelys PlessisJunior
Louise VanhilleJunior
Miriam AribasoiuJunior
Andreea MunteanuJunior
Stefania StanilaJunior
Diana TeodoruJunior
Paula TudoracheJunior
Silvia ZarzuJunior
Coaches
Eric Demay
Cecile Demay
Mariana Bitang
Octavian Bellu
Lucian Sandu
Francois De St. Martin
Ning Xiaolian
Marie Colson
Cristian Moldovan
Lacramioara Moldovan
Alexandru Militaru
Adriana Vinerean
 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 17 April 2012 18:59    PDF Print
Swiss Star Steingruber Steadies For Olympic Debut
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After winning vault at last month's FIG Challenger Cup in Doha, Swiss gymnast Giulia Steingruber told IG she is building momentum toward next month's European championships in Brussels and this summer's Olympic Games in London.


Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland)

"It was a great feeling and gave me a lot of motivation," said Steingruber of her performance in Doha, where she also placed fifth on balance beam and seventh on uneven bars.

Steingruber is scheduled to compete Friday in Lindenhof, when the Swiss women will host a tri-meet with Great Britain and Russia. She said she is building momentum toward the upcoming women's European championships, May 9-13 in Brussels.

"After that I will stabilize my routines, and maybe I will learn one or two elements more," she said.

Steingruber, who turned 18 on March 24, has replaced Swiss superstar Ariella Käslin as her country's leading female gymnast. She finished sixth on vault and ninth all-around at last spring's European championships in Berlin, and fifth on vault and 16th all-around at last fall's world championships in Tokyo.

"(The Swiss public) supports me very well in this area," says Steingruber of expectations for her to reach the status of Käslin, the three-time Swiss Sportswoman of the Year who retired in 2011. "I will do it my own way. Ariella had her successes. I have to do it myself."

Known for her vaulting strength, Steingruber said she wants to produce strong all-around results. At the second Olympic qualifying event, held in January in London, Steingruber finished first all-around among individuals competing without a full team.

"I always train the same amount on all apparatuses," she told IG. "On vault maybe a bit more, but the focus is certainly on all four apparatuses."

Read "A New Hit for the Swiss," a profile on Steingruber when she was a junior gymnast, in the December 2009 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.

External Link: Giulia Steingruber's Official Website

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 17 April 2012 00:11    PDF Print
Five-Medal Haul Boosts Bouallegue's Confidence
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After winning two gold and three silver medals at last week's African championships in Tunis, Wajdi Bouallegue of Tunisia told IG that success in front of his home crowd has boosted his confidence for this summer's Olympic Games.


Wajdi Bouallegue (Tunisia)

"I'm very happy with the floor and vault gold medals because many fans were expecting me to be the in the pole position, so I thank them for their immense support," said Bouallegue, who has won the African title on floor exercise six times since 2000. "Secondly I demonstrated that I'm the king of floor in the history of the African continent. I'm really proud."

Bouallegue, who placed second all-around to Egypt's Mohammed El Saharty in Tunis, said competing well there was also a source of validation as he prepares for his second Olympic start in London.

"I had a strong feeling to honor my country," said the 30-year-old Bouallegue, who competed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and is the only Tunisian gymnast qualified for London. "For Tunisians, I was confident because I have always been an example of a serious gymnast for them, so it was my job to prove that I deserve this honorific place. It was not easy but I am working hard for that, especially in this Olympic year."

Bouallegue said he is now shifting his aim to London, where he intends to make a strong impact on floor exercise, his best event. He has won several World Cup medals on the event, including the title at the 2007 Ghent World Cup.

"The London Olympics is absolutely a different job," he told IG. "I will focus on my floor exercise routine. I feel really confident about that, and I look to be ready to take part in the floor final."

Read "Tenacious Tunisian," an in-depth interview with Bouallegue, in the March 2012 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.

 


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