A few days ago we posted a story about the Antonina Koshel Cup in Minsk, Belarus, where the Belorussian athletes appeared to do very well, taking nearly all the medals. Well, the Belorussian federation just posted the detailed results (in Russian), and they confirmed our suspicion that the Koshel Cup was in fact a huge Belorussian intrasquad meet with a handful of foreign athletes on hand to make it seem like an international event. Ukraine only sent two athletes, Anastasia Lunkan (3rd AA) and Natalia Gavrilovich (6th AA), both born in 1994. Israel sent four male gymnasts, three of whom contributed one routine each (one of them was Alexander Shatilov, whose floor exercise is a welcome addition to any meet). That appears to have been the extent of the foreign input in Minsk. No wonder the Belorussians seemed so superior...
Anastasia Marachkovskaya, a contender for the vault gold in Milan
(Photo: Bernhard Schwall/Gymfan)
A look at the scores also confirmed that the women's meet was Anastasia Marachkovskaya's to win or lose. She had the highest start values on three events (5.2 FX, 5.4 BB, 5.8 V - guess she threw the double-twisting Yurchenko then), and scored quite well on all three events, only to lose the gold on bars, where some disaster must have befallen her (2.9 difficulty value, 10.15 total score). Halina Ivanets, who impressed some people at last year's Junior Europeans with her clean lines, also performed fairly difficult routines in Minsk (5.5 UB, 5.4 BB, 5.0 FX), but an 11.20 on floor prevented her from medaling. By contrast, the winner, Viktoria Makshtareva, performed far less difficult routines (three of her difficulty values were in the mid-4s), but stayed mostly error-free, proving that it is still possible in modern gymnastics to win with low-difficulty routines, provided your rivals stuff up.
Generally, the routines performed in Minsk looked quite easy on paper. Seven gymnasts performed bar routines with 5+ difficulty values; on the other events only three or four gymnasts exceeded 5 points.
Sadly, it appears that all the girls on Belarus's promising Junior Europeans squad were born in 1994, which means they're age-ineligible for senior competitions until next year. However, it's safe to say that the future doesn't look too dreary for Belorussian women's gymnastics.