The first results of the first international competition of 2009, the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, are in, and they're as follows...
Women's team competition (juniors only)
1. China 169.825
2. Japan 167.725
3. Great Britain 161.800
4. Australia A 158.400
5. Australia B 150.025
6. Malaysia 142.100
7. New Zealand 141.300
As expected, the Chinese girls (featured in this post) won the team competition, thanks mostly to an excellent performance on beam: 14.90 for Cui Jie, 14.95 for Wu Liufang, and a great 15.85 for Tan Sixin. We hope somebody will post videos of these routines soon!
Not surprisingly, China's top scorer over four events was Cui Jie, who garnered a fine 57.35. On top of her 14.90 on beam, Cui earned a 14.80 on vault. Wu and Tan scored in the 13s on the other events. The final Chinese competitor, Fu Bo, only competed on vault (13.60).
Japan put in a strong performance for the silver. Their top scorer, Natsumi Sasada (who outscored Cui Jie over four events, 57.675-57.350), put in three 14+ scores: 14.85 on vault, 14.50 on bars, and 14.35 on beam. Her teammates Yoshino Taniguchi (14.25 on bars and 14.15 on beam) and Yukimi Ueda (14.05 on vault) also raked in some high scores. As far as we know, none of these gymnasts are on YouTube yet, so we can't tell you anything about them, other than that it seems that Japan's future is in safe hands!
Great Britain pipped two Australian teams for the bronze, thanks mostly to Nicole Hibbert's 14.15 on bars and Danusia Francis's 14.000 on floor. Nicole Hibbert was Britain's overall top scorer (54.65).
Britain's Nicole Hibbert (photo: Jasmin Schneebeli-Wochner/Gymbox)
The two Australian teams placed fourth and fifth, respectively, mainly because of weak performances on bars (their highest score on the event was a dismal 12.85). It's clear that Australia will have to focus on bars if it is to be a contender for medals in the next quad - scores in the 11s and 12s are not going to do much for the team.
Australia's top score was a 14.70 for Emily Little's vault. Little also scored a 14.20 on beam, while Britt Greeley added another 14+ score for the home team with a 14.05 on vault. Over four events, Greeley was Australia's top scorer (53.975). Little was second with a 53.750, which included an abysmal 11.90 on bars.
Australia's Britt Greeley (photo: Stefan Wurzer/Gymnasticsunited)
Natalia Joura's (Dasha's younger sister) international debut didn't go entirely as planned. Joura Junior obtained 13+ scores on three events (some of Australia's higher scores), but had to count a 9.15 on bars, the lowest score in the competition. We're not sure what happened there...
Australian national junior champion Mary-Anne Monckton, who has been compared to Hollie Dykes (we don't know about you, but that comparison certainly has us excited!) scratched from the competition, presumably due to a last-minute injury.
Team results can be found here. Individual results are here.
The AYOF has its own video channel on YouTube here. With a bit of luck there will be some gymnastics footage there soon!