Tuesday, 9 July 2013

RUSSIAN GLORY

2013 Universiade All Around Final

Today saw the All Around Final of the Universiade, with the Russians hoping to repeat qualifying and end the day in 1st and 2nd. Aliya Mustafina posted the highest qualifying score, followed by Kseniia Afanaseva and both were looking for the top of the podium. Also fighting for the medals were Elsa Garcia (Mexico), Elsabeth Black (Canada), Yu Minobe (Japan) and Kim Bui (Germany) who qualified 3rd-6th respectively.

In the end it was, as expected, the two Russians who took the top two spots. Aliya Mustafina took the title from Kseniia Afanaseva by over a point, despite a fall on beam. Her excellent work, other than this uncharacteristic fall, and her fantastic bars routine (which scored 15.200), was enough to keep her in the lead with an overall total of 57.900. Kseniia also produced some beautiful work to take the Silver, including a stunning floor routine which scored a massive 15.000.

It was Germany's Kim Bui who managed to keep herself together and take the final podium position with steady routines and good scores throughout. Her team mate, Lisa Hill, improved greatly on her qualifying score to finish the day in 5th place.

Things did not go so well for everyone though. Yu Minobe had problems on her vault, putting her hand down on landing and ended the competition down in 9th. For Elsa Garcia there were problems on bars and on floor. She fell on bars on her jaeger and after two almost perfect tumbles on floor, she almost sat down on her third pass and fell out of her double Arabian, her final tumble. This meant a 7th place finish, so disappointing after qualifying up in third. Elsabeth Black managed to take 4th place, just missing the final podium spot, despite putting her hands down on her second tumbling pass on floor. It was such a shame as she had had a brilliant competition right up to her final piece and the rest of her floor work was beautiful.

Making a great improvement on her qualifying score was GB's Hannah Whelan, who upped her position from 9th highest qualifier to a 6th place finish today. She posted steady scores on bars and floor, despite a couple of errors, including two out of bounds on her floor exercise. Her vault, just a full twisting Yurchenko, was beautifully executed and her beam (which I am so upset we didn't get to see) scored a massive 14.100. Overall it was a good day for Hannah and shows that we can expect much from her in the coming months.

For me, the highlights of the day were Kseniia Afanaseva's floor routine and Aliya Mustafina's bars. These two girls really were worthy of the top spots and showed exactly why they are at the forefront of Russian gymnastics.

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