January 14, 2009

China Wins AYOF Women's Team Final; Australia Disappoints

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!


  1. So Cui Jie, a great BB worker, only placed 3rd among this Chinese junior team? Mind-boggling.

    And I am impressed with this Japanese team as well.

  2. This competition was under the old code

  3. Really, Anonymous 2? Well, that would explain some of the scores. We did wonder.

    Why was the competition held under the old code, though? 2009 has begun. We know the year is young, and also that there have been important recent changes to the 2009 Code which would require some studying for the coaches and judges, but still...

  4. It was definitely under the old code. I read it on the Gymnastics Australia website. They made mention of it as being one of the last competitions under the old code.

  5. Yeah, we guess that makes sense. 15.85 would be nearly impossible to achieve under the new code, especially so ridiculously early in the season. We'll revise the post. Thanks, nade00!

  6. Mary-Anne unfortunately had an ankle injury..

  7. Do you know how bad the ankle injury was? She has had heaps of bad luck, and sat out for months with an elbow injury just recently.

  8. Although China has been good with their women, Great Britain dominated the Men's team and all-around final. Maybe the Chinese men's program isn't as invincible as I thought.

  9. Sorry, that was a mistake. The British men took the top three spots in the qualification, not the final.

  10. Yes, it was qualification, Cidlover. The all-around finals are still to be contested. :)

    Anonymous, we hope Mary-Anne Monckton will recover from that ankle injury soon!

  11. Mary-Anne is IMHO more of a Hollie & Trudy hybrid. She's suffered in the past of the tiny & powerful curse that Trudy did which meant not so great on bars but powerful elsewhere. She looks to have more AIS lines however which is certainly reminiscent of Hollie :)