The first Serie A (Italian club championships) competition took place in Pavia last weekend, and the most exciting thing about it would have to be Vanessa Ferrari's return to the scene. The 2006 world champion competed not on one or two events, as expected, but on three (all but floor), and did a pretty solid job for someone who has been out of action for a long time, scoring 14.15 on vault (Yurchenko-full), 13.45 on bars, and 14.50 on beam (the highest score of the competition). In so doing, she led her team, Brixia, to an easy victory in the first competition of the season (main rival Lissone finished second, 5.25 behind Brixia). We'll be interested to see when Ferrari will start competing floor again, and whether she will in fact make the team which will defend Italy's honor at the European Championships in Milan. She certainly outscored a few of her rivals for a spot on the team on Sunday.
Vanessa Ferrari has some reason to smile again
Photo: Sing Lo/Comaneci Salto)
While Ferrari's return to competition was good news for the Italian women's team, there was some bad news as well. European Championships hopeful Andrea La Spada (representing the home team, Pavia) reportedly broke the thumb of her right hand while doing a round-off double twist in training. She will have to wear a cast for 25 days, although she hopes to have it removed before the 25 days are up. La Spada hopes to compete at the Europeans, even if she's not 100% ready. In yesterday's club competition she was replaced by Belgium's Aagje Vanwalleghem, who, interestingly, was not chosen to compete on what is arguably her best event, vault, competing bars and beam only. Even more interestingly, the other foreigner in the women's Serie A (in this case, the A2, i.e. the second league), Romanian Raluca Haidu, only competed on what is generally perceived to be a weak event for Romanian juniors, bars. Huh?
Other noteworthy news from Pavia would have to include the fact that veteran Monica Bergamelli did not compete, thus reinforcing those retirement rumors (Brixia was represented by Ferrari, Galante, Fasana, and Carnessali instead), and that vault specialist Carlotta Giovannini earned the highest B score of the day, 9.25, on her strongest event, albeit for an easy vault: a layout Yurchenko (difficulty 4.4). Is the European silver medalist returning from injury as well?
Carlotta Giovannini vaulted a layout Yurchenko... (photo: AFP/Getty Images)
In the men's competition, Meda (the powerhouse team represented by Igor Cassina, Andrea Coppolino, Matteo Morandi, and Matteo Angioletti) scored an easy victory over Livorno. Highlights included Cassina's somewhat watered-down 15.55 horizontal bar routine (Kovacs instead of Cassina) and two more 15+ scores on rings by Angioletti and Morandi. Other noteworthy scores of the day included Enrico Pozzi's 15.25 on floor and Jordan Jovchev's 15.25 on rings (obviously).
Complete results of Weekend 1 of the Serie A can be found here. Hopefully some YouTube videos will soon surface as well.