The Belgian Gymnastics Federation has finally released the complete results of the Challenge International tournament, which was held in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert last week and on which we reported earlier here. Click here to see the results.
There were two 15+ scores in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, both for Romanian super talent Larisa Iordache. Her very lively floor exercise, featuring an amazing 2.5 twist-punch front-punch front combo and a super fast triple turn, garnered a 15.10. She also received a 15.05 for her fast and difficult beam set, which came with a 6.3 A score but was subject to many small deductions. Iordache is still somewhat imprecise in her movements, but once she gets stable (she will - she's Romanian), she'll be hard to beat on both floor and beam. She also has a decent bars routine - when she hits, which she didn't in Belgium. However, her vault (currently a layout Yurchenko) needs some work.
Corrie Lothrop, the best vaulter at the Challenge International competition (photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)
The top score on vault, 14.75, was awarded to AA winner Corrie Lothrop, who showed a solid 1.5-twisting Yurchenko with a small hop on the landing (click here to see it). Lothrop's teammate, AA silver medalist Olivia Courtney, scored the highest mark on bars, 14.85, for a powerful set featuring a toe-on Shaposhnikova, toe-on-full to Gienger, Jaeger and full-in dismount (shown here).
Six gymnasts received B scores of 9.00 or higher, all on vault or floor: Corrie Lothrop (9.25 on vault); Amanda Jetter (9.15 on floor and 9.00 on vault); Larisa Iordache (9.20 on floor and 9.15 on vault); Lieke Wevers (9.10 on vault and 9.00 on floor); Jocelyn Kraan (9.00 on floor); and Marieke Herteleer (9.15 on vault). Olivia Courtney's execution scores never exceeded 8.95, but high start values helped her clinch the silver medal.
Romanian gymnasts Patricia Tiron and Mihaela David had a very rough time on bars, scoring 9.25 and 8.60, respectively (A and B scores combined). Tiron had many form breaks, no releases, and a bad fall on her dismount. David came off twice on handstand skills, had bent knees throughout her routine, didn't do any releases, and had bad handstands even by Romanian standards. She'll need an awful lot of work ever to become remotely competitive on bars. The third Romanian, Ana Maria Baicu, had much better form, but lacked interesting elements and fell on her double pike dismount. The only Romanian to show a decent bars routine in Belgium was Larisa Iordache, who fell on her Tkatchev-Pak combo but showed good form, decent handstands and two releases.
Over on beam, Lieke Wevers proved that her sister Sanne isn't the only one in the family who has a knack for turns. Lieke's elegant beam routine features three (!) different turns, including a double one. She'll probably have to ditch a couple of them under the new code, and add more acrobatic difficulty instead, but still, she's beautiful to watch on beam. Click here to check out her routine.
Lieke Wevers (photo: Jasmin Schneebeli-Wochner/Gymbox)
On floor, the three Americans and Iordache were the only competitors to show difficult routines. Olivia Courtney fell on her third pass, a double Arabian, but other than that, her tumbling was excellent and very mature. Amanda Jetter and Corrie Lothrop also showed typically American routines, with solid acrobatic skills but so-so dance. In terms of choreography, the Challenge International tournament proved once again that some of the most interesting floor exercises are being shown by minor gymnastics countries. Holland's Lieke Wevers probably had the best and most expressive choreography of the competition, shown here. If she can upgrade her tumbling passes (she's still recovering from an injury which sidelined her for a while), Wevers will be a great gymnast to watch on floor. For her part, Belgium's Monica Dejardin needs more flexibility and amplitude, but she showed some expressive and unusual dance. Her teammate Kim Van Limbergen performed an elegant routine to ballet-like music (seen here).
YouTube users Dutchfan33 and gymcat67 have by now uploaded pretty much the entire competition between them. Check it out!