We’re already into April (2018 is flying by!), so let’s take a brief look at happenings in European gymnastics in March.
The month got off to a sad start with Claudia Fragapane announcing that she had ruptured her Achilles tendon in training and therefore would not be participating in the Commonwealth Games or any other competitions for the foreseeable future.
While many gymnasts were out with injury, with some pulling out over the course of the competition, the British Championships was as fun as ever, with Kelly Simm and Brinn Bevan being crowned all around champions in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans.
The first Italian Serie A of the year was held in Arezzo, with Giorgia Villa winning the WAG all around, followed by twins Asia and Alice D’Amato, all three gymnasts from the club Brixia Breschia.
The Stuttgart World Cup took place in mid-March, with David Belyavsky of Russia taking gold, followed by Akash Modi of the USA and Yusuke Tanaka of Japan in MAG. The WAG title was taken by China’s Zhang Jin, with Elisabeth Seitz of Germany and Jordan Chiles of the USA taking silver and bronze respectively.
The DTB Pokal took place the same weekend in Stuttgart, with four teams of female gymnasts thrashing it out in pursuit of a team gold medal. Belgium were the winners, following a spectacular performance from their five team members, but Switzerland fought hard to claim the silver and Japan took home the bronze, with home team Germany finishing outside the medals. In the men’s competition, Russia took the gold, Brazil the silver and Japan the bronze, with Spain coming in fourth, despite Nestor Abad getting the highest all around scores in the competition.
While the biggest WAG names were at Stuttgart the same weekend, the Baku World Cup still had plenty of action to watch, with Oksana Chusovitina winning the vault final and claiming a bronze on beam. Croatia’s Ana Derek took the floor title with a beautiful and clean routine and Yana Fedorova of Ukraine snagged a bronze on the uneven bars. The MAG field was much more competitive and big names there included Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands, who took the high bar title and Eleftherios Petrounias from Greece, who got gold on the rings.
The Doha World Cup also took place in March, with a strong WAG field here, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina taking gold on vault here too and European vault champion Coline Devillard of France taking home the bronze. Belgium’s Nina Derwael won the uneven bars title, with the highest bars score of the year so far, with Uliana Perebinosova of Russia taking silver and France’s Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos claiming bronze. The beam field was also very strong, with Melanie DJDS, Marine Boyer and Nina Derwael coming first, second and third respectively. The floor final saw a three-way tie for gold, with Belgium’s Axelle Klinckaert, Italy’s Elisa Meneghini and Kim Su Jong of North Korea all on the middle of the podium.
Another highlight in March was the Birmingham World Cup. Home favourite Amy Tinkler was injured in warm-up and forced to pull out (it was later confirmed she would also miss the Commonwealth Games) so the pressure was on for teammate Alice Kinsella, who put up a great fight to claim the bronze. The USA’s Margzetta Frazier, in her first major international competition, came in second, and it all finally came together for Russia’s Angelina Melnikova, who gave some beautiful performances to get the gold medal. In the MAG, Japan’s Shogo Nonomura got gold, Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy had to settle for silver after a mistake on high bar and Britain’s James Hall came in third.