With two gold medals, the Netherlands was the most successful nation at the Osijek World Cup, which concluded Sunday in Osijek, Croatia.
Dutch gymnasts Noel van Klaveren (vault) and Sanne Wevers (beam) capitalized in finals at the last big meet before October’s World Championships, each setting themselves up well for success in Antwerp. The wonderfully creative Wevers mounted with a roundoff, Kotchetkova (full-twisting back handspring) and successfully completed a balanced routine that included front aerial to side aerial combination, a triple turn and her own named element the Wevers (a double turn with leg at horizontal.)
Van Klaveren, who won silver on vault at the European Championships this year, added an extra half twist to her second vault to win the event ahead of teammate Chantysha Netteb (Yurchenko 1.5 and Tsuk full). Jeffrey Wammes added a second silver for the Dutch on men’s floor.
If many of the “old guard” — gymnasts of noted success during the past four years — led the qualification round in Croatia, finals were a different story in Osijek. Venezuela’s Jessica Lopez, who qualified in first place on bars, beam and floor on Friday, managed to win only floor in finals (13.775), but she also took silver on beam (14.575) and bronze on bars (13.875) to become the most decorated gymnast of the competition.
Russia’s Ekaterina Kramarkenko, a 2008 Olympian who never stopped training but has seldom appeared in international competition since — topped the standings on bars (stalder full to Khorkina II, toe blind to Jaeger, stalder full to Pak, full twisting double tuck, great lines, 14.425), ahead of the Czech Republic’s Kristina Palesova (14.05).
Ukraine’s Kristyna Sankova came away with silver on floor (13.65) and bronze on balance beam (14.175).
Six gymnasts from six different nations representing three continents won the men’s events, including newcomer Kenzo Kaneko of Japan (floor, 15.1), Alberto Busnari of Italy (pommel horse, a monstrous 16.1), Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece (rings, 15.425), Ha Thanh Nguyen of Vietnam (vault, 15.013 average), Jossimar Calvo of Colombia (parallel bars, 15.625) and Bence Talas of Hungary (high bar, 14.825).
It was the first major victory for Talas, who was impressive at this year’s European Championships, as well as for Kaneko, who displayed great control on floor (Arabian double pike, triple full dismount.) Busnari, who will celebrate his 35th birthday during the World Championships, is already a veteran of four Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) but has just recently become more well known for his unique combos on his speciality, which right now includes three combinations of flairs to handstand back to flairs on horse.
World medalist hopeful Petrounias hung on to win rings over Frenchmen Samir Ait-Said and Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues, both medalists at this year’s Europeans. Ait-Said confessed to right shoulder trouble before the event. To get through his routine, “I gritted my teeth,” he told L’Equipe.
Axel Augis’s silver on parallel bars (15.525) brought the French medal count is Osijek to three. The medal is a nice resurgence for 22-year-old Augis, who led on parallel bars in qualifications at the 2008 Junior Europeans and then broke his ankle before the final.
Croatians Tomislav Markovic and Andrej Korosteljev shared bronze on floor (15.05). Epke Zonderland, the only Olympic champion competing in Osijek, led the high bar qualification but faltered in finals to finish fourth (14.525).
Related: Full results from the 2013 Osijek World Cup here.
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