Aside from the Olympians getting back into the field of competition after the end of the Olympic cycle, the up and coming Juniors also had some important competitions this week to show the world what they’re capable of and in some cases how they’re ready to completely take over their countries’ Senior teams as soon as they turn 16.
The Olympic Hopes Cup took place in Lieberec, Czech Republic from November 3rd through to November 5th and had participants from all over the world, from Canada to Australia to South Africa or to Norway. It started out with the men’s competition on November 3rd where the Canadian team took the Gold with a total of 314.00, followed by Hungary in second place with 310.90 and France in third with 307.80. In the all-around, William Emard of Canada finished on top with a final score of 78.70 despite some lower scores on pommels and high, though he was able to make up for that with high-13s and low-14s on the other four events, taking home the most desired medal. In second place, just a tenth behind Emard, was Poland’s Pawel Kaskow with 78.60 despite his much lower difficulty (4.3-4.5) on all the events. Nonetheless, Kaskow had great performances everywhere, receiving some of the highest execution scores of the meet and would have certainly beat William for the top spot if his D-scores were just a bit higher. In bronze medal position was another Canadian, this time 2002-born Ioannis Chronopoulos with 78.45 after solid routines everywhere but pommels where his execution was a bit lower. Despite his young age, Chronopoulos managed to keep up with the older boys and his difficulty matched or even surpassed that of many of his older rivals, showing tons of promise for the future. Rounding up the top 8 were Krisztofer Meszaros of Hungary and Evgeny Siminiuc of Canada tied for fourth place with 78.40, Anthony Tawfik of Canada in sixth with 78.35, Benedek Tomcsányi of Hungary in seventh with 77.95 and Quentin Begue of France in eighth with 77.60.
The next day, November 4th, it was time for the girls to get into action with their own competition, where Canada easily won the Gold medal by over ten points with a final score of 219.20, followed by Great Britain in second with 208.55 and Czech Republic in third with 199.85. In the all-around, Ana Padurariu of Canada reigned supreme with over two points ahead of the silver medalist after hitting every routine and receiving all four scores above 14. This score puts her right up there with Canada’s top Seniors and she still has two more years to mature and evolve in the sport before reaching the Senior ranks, so if she keeps the momentum and doesn’t suffer any major injuries, she could become one of the best gymnasts in their entire History. In second place was 2003-born Amelie Morgan of Great Britain with 55.100 despite her somewhat lower difficulty in the low-5s range, once again thanks to near perfect execution everywhere that actually surpassed Padurariu’s and allowed her to get into the fight for the medals. The Bronze medal went to another Canadian, this time around Jade Chrobok with 54.300 after getting all scores in the 13s due to some issues on bars and beam that kept her from reaching a better result. Outside the podium were three more Canadians: Victoria Jurca in fourth with 53.350, Sophie Marois in fifth with 52.850 and Haley de Jong in sixth with 52.450, followed by Taeja James of Great Britain in seventh with 51.200 and Jade Vella-Wright of Australia in eighth with 50.950.
Event Finals took place on Saturday, November 5th, with Tom Masia of France taking the Gold on floor with 13.900, followed by teammate Begue in second and Czech Daniel Ponížil in third, while on pommel horse Tawfik managed a 14.250 for the top spot, with Meszaros in second and Kaskow in third. On rings, all-around gold medalist William won another Gold medal with 13.700, joined on the podium by Krisztián Balázs of Hungary in second and Kaskow in third, before moving on to win once again on vault with an average of 14.300, followed by Ondřej Kalný of the Czech Republic in second and Ioannis in third. Next on parallel bars, Balázs took the Gold with a score of 13.400, followed by French gymnasts Mathys Corbule in second and Begue in third, and also won the high bar final with 13.150, while Kacper Garnczarek of Poland finished second and Ioannis got another Bronze for his collection.
On the women’s side, Padurariu continued to prove why she is probably the most promising Junior that Canada ever had and completely swept all the Gold medals, once again posting scores above 14 on all the events. On vault she was followed by teammate Jurca in second and Hungary’s Sára Péter, while on bars Valle-Wright took silver and Hungarian Nora Feher took bronze. On beam, Chrobok finished second and James finished third, and finally on floor Padurariu’s win was followed by Lucie Jiříková of the Czech Republic in second place and Morgan in third.
Full results here