Parallel to the Olympic Hopes Cup in Lieberec, Junior gymnasts also gathered this weekend in France for the International Tournament of Combs-la-Ville, featuring athletes from many European countries, such as Italy, Romania, Russia and France, but also girls from Egypt, Canada, South Korea and Australia.
In the Junior age group, Italy took the Gold in the team competition with a total of 113.100, followed by Switzerland in second with 106.000 and the Russian team from Dynamo Moscow in third with 105.400. In the all-around, 2003-born Giorgia Villa of Italy took yet another gold with 57.300 after four great performances of which the highlight was a fantastic DTY that scored 15.250, while teammate Asia D’Amato, also a 2003 baby, finished second with 55.800 after also showing a big DTY for a score just below 15, as well as strong bars, but slightly lower beam and floor. The Bronze medal went to Swiss Anina Wildi with 53.650 after good results on vault, bars and floor but some issues on beam, as well as generally lower difficulty that kept her away from the top two gymnasts. Beyond the podium finishers, the top 8 gymnasts were Elizaveta Kochetkova of Russia in fourth place with 53.150, Elisa Iorio of Italy in fifth with 52.800, Denisa Golgota of Romania in sixth with 52.500, Laura Iacob of Romania in seventh with 52.050 and Aglaé Adam-Cuvillier of France in eighth with 51.750.
In similar fashion to Ana Padurariu of Canada at Olympic Hopes, Villa also dominated event finals, winning all four possible gold medals with scores in the mid-14s on vault and bars, as well as high-13s on floor and beam. On vault she was followed by Yeo Seojung of South Korea in second and teammate D’Amato in third, while on bars silver went to Kochetkova despite her 6.2-difficulty routine and D’Amato took another bronze medal. On beam, Molly Fiorito Laplante of Canada finished second and D’Amato once again was third, and finally on floor Golgota took silver and Kochetkova got bronze.
On the Espoir age group, Italy matched their older teammates by also winning a Gold medal with a total of 103.600, while France got silver after a score of 100.450 and Switzerland got bronze with 98.000. In the all-around, 2005 baby Nelli Audi of Russia won the competition with a total of 51.550 after good performances on vault, beam and floor but major issues on bars where she didn’t managed to score higher than 11.350. In second place was Italy’s Clara Beccalossi with 51.250 also performing well in three events (vault, bars and floor) but having some issues on beam and in third was her teammate Alessia Federici with 50.950 after mistakes on bars and beam. The remaining top 8 were Eva Meder of France in fourth with 50.550, Sasha King of Australia in fifth with 50.050, Anastassia Pascu of Switzerland in sixth with 49.950, Giulia Controneo of Italy in seventh with 49.400 and Alizé Letrange of France in eighth with 48.950.
In event finals, Controneo won vault with an average of 13.450, followed by Audi in second and Letrange in third, while the bars title went to her teammate Beccalossi with 12.550, with silver going to Pascu and bronze to Meder, in what seems to have been a rough final with low difficulty and execution scores. On beam, Audi won Gold with a 13.800, with Meder and Federici in second and third, respectively, and lastly on floor Federici took the title with 13.100, while Audi took silver and Letrange took bronze.
As a whole, this competition showcased the current state of several Junior and Espoir teams and even though there were mistakes and non-perfect performances, these gymnasts are still very young, with some of them not even eligible for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and have plenty of time to improve on their execution, as well as upgrade their skills and get into the mindset of international competition. For the time being they just have to continue to practice the sport they love and hopefully big things will await them in the future.