February 13, 2009

Belorussians Superior at Antonina Koshel Cup

This week an international competition took place in Minsk, Belarus, where gymnasts from the host nation took on guests from Ukraine, Lithuania and Israel. Belorussian sports site Sportpanorama posted a report of sorts, which we have translated for you.

We don't know exactly who the Ukrainian gymnasts competing in Minsk were (the report doesn't pay much attention to them), but it sounds like they were comprehensively defeated by the Belorussians. Of course, the latter had the home turf advantage, and the Ukrainians likely didn't send their best team, but even so, we think these competition results are further proof that Belarus may be on the way back. We're expecting decent results from them this year.

And for those of you who despair of the lack of two-vault gymnasts in women's gymnastics and believe things are better in men's gymnastics: have a look at what the article says about the men's vault final in Minsk. Ouch. Now that's worrying.

Anyhow, here's the article. Results can be found at the bottom. With a bit of luck, some videos will surface on YouTube as well. We'd like to see some videos of the Belorussian girls' new routines...

A Clean Sheet

Traditionally our gymnasts open the new season with the Antonina Koshel International Gymnastics Tournament. In 2009 the competition, which this time is not only the first of the year but also of the Olympic cycle, is taking place for the fifth time already.

Our strongest gymnasts, along with guests from Israel, Ukraine and Lithuania, entered the podium in the sports complex on Kalinovsky Street in Minsk. There could have have been more foreign athletes, but not everyone is ready for competitive activity in February.

This tournament is the opportunity for the Belorussians to test themselves, to try things out and to demonstrate to the viewers the routines with which they will be participating in the major events of the year, the European and World Championships. The gymnasts received good food for thought and could see the condition they are in, what form they were capable of, what worked, what didn't and what they need to work on more seriously.

This time the competition, which usually takes place over three days, was compressed into two. On Wednesday the gymnasts competed in the all-around. Let us remember that for two years in a row, no one was equal to Dimitry Savitsky. Last year he scored 91 points, over 8 points more than his closest persecutor, Alexander Pristavko. That time our best all-arounder went the distance evenly, without any errors. This time he was unable to repeat his success. But how could it have been otherwise when Dimitry started on only 3 out of 6 apparatus! Under those circumstances, it is understandable that you can't expect anything in the all-around.

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Dimitry Savitsky (photo: Getty Images)

Alexander Tsarevich competed on three apparatus; Dimitry Kasperovich, Igor Kozlov, Vladimir Yermakov and Denis Savenkov each competed on two. And then Denis, after falling painfully right at the beginning of the floor exercise, did not continue his routine. All this gave second-tier gymnasts the chance to force their way up. Pavel Bulavsky was best able to prove himself, ahead of Alexander Demchichin and Artem Bykov.

Viktoria Makshtareva was first among the women, beating Anastasia Marachkovskaya by the smallest of margins. Let us note the fourth and fifth places of the 15-year-olds, Halina Ivanets and Alena Hurhach.

The apparatus finals took place yesterday. On floor no one was equal to the famous Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov. Pavel Bulavsky was second, while third place went to the youngest male participant of the tournament, 15-year-old Aleksey Kusherik.

Alexander Tsarevich performed the best routine on pommel horse. Dimitry Savitsky and Vladimir Yermakov were also raised up on the pedestal of honor. Dimitry won his only gold medal of the tournament for his ring routine, where he received one of the highest scores of the day: 15.050. (Only Alexander Tsarevich earned a higher score, on bars: 15.100.) Vladimir Yermakov was second on bars, Pavel Bulavsky was third. As far as bars was concerned, Dimitry Kasperovich was the toughest competition for Alexander, but the first place went to the Minsk gymnast. Kyrill Gorovets placed third.

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Dimitry Kasperovich (photo: Getty Images)

Lastly on high bar,one of the most spectacular apparatus, once more no one was equal to Alexander Tsarevitch. Here Dimitry Savitsky dropped out of the ranks of contenders after two falls in a row during flight elements. As a result, the silver went to Artem Bykov.

There were no medals awarded for vault because on the first day only two gymnasts in all performed the two vaults necessary to reach the final.

In the women's competition Anastasia Marachkovskaya won two of the highest kinds of medals. The Minsk gymnast left all fellow competitors behind in the vault and beam competitions. Second on vault was Anastasia Zaitseva, a gymnast from the 1994 age group. Third was the experienced Nadezhda Visotskaya. Halina Ivanets and the very young 12-year-old Anastasia Ozarshinskaya won places on the pedestal for beam. No one equaled Halina Ivanets on uneven bars, but her toughest competitors were Viktoria Makshtareva and Lilia Hoang. Finally Alina Sotnikova won on floor. Also distinguishing themselves: Nadezhda Visotskaya and Veronika Zhdanovich.

"I liked the second day of the competition better than the first", Antonina Koshel told the SP Correspondent. "The athletes performed in a much more together way. They showed their potential, so that it was impossible not to be happy. Anyway, as this tournament is the first of the year, the gymnasts' execution cannot be ideal. But now the coaches could see all the shortcomings which they need to work on eliminating. There is still time – the closest important event is the European Championships in April."

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Vault and beam winner Anastasia Marachkovskaya
(Photo: Bernhard Schwall/Gymfan)

Men

All-Around
1. P. Bulavsky (Minsk) 81.700
2. A. Demchichin (Gomel) 79.000
3. A. Bykov (Vitebsk) 78.700

Apparatus Finals

Floor Exercise
1. A. Shatilov (Israel) 14.700
2. P. Bulavsky 14.200
3. A. Kushnerik (Brest) 13.850

Pommel Horse
1. A. Tsarevich (Minsk) 14.800
2. D. Savitsky (Gomel) 14.100
3. V. Yermakov (Gomel) 13.500

Still Rings
1. D. Savitsky 15.050
2. V. Yermakov 14.800
3. P. Bulavsky 14.300

Parallel Bars
1. A. Tsarevich 15.100
2. D. Kasperovich (Minsk Region) 14.950
3. K. Gorovets (Minsk) 13.600

High Bar
1. A. Tsarevich 14.200
2. A. Bykov 13.800
3. Y. Izmaidenov (Lithuania) 13.300

Women

All-Around
1. V. Makshtareva (Vitebsk) 51.800
2. A. Marachkovskaya (Minsk) 51.300
3. A. Lunkan (Ukraine) 50.850

Apparatus Finals
Vault
1. A. Marachkovskaya 14.365
2. A. Zaitseva (Vitebsk) 13.488
3. N. Visotskaya (Grodno) 13.400

Uneven Bars
1. H. Ivanets (Baranovichi) 13.475
2. V. Makshtareva 12.575
3. L. Hoang (Pinsk) 12.525

Balance Beam
1. A. Marachkovskaya 13.800
2. H. Ivanets 13.425
3. A. Ozarshinskaya (Baranovichi) 12.875

Floor
1. A. Sotnikova (Vitebsk) 13.525
2. N. Visotskaya 13.300
3. V. Zdanovich (Vitebsk) 12.625

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