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Competition Reports

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 30 August 2019 07:30    PDF Print
Germany’s Rida Gains Confidence Through All-Around Bronze
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

First-year German senior Karim Rida told IG that his bronze medal-winning all-around performance at this month’s German Championships was as satisfying as it was unexpected.

“Third place was a real surprise for me,” said the 19-year-old Rida, whose all-around score of 81.60 points placed him third behind 28-year-old gold medalist Andreas Toba (83.10) and 31-year-old silver medalist Marcel Nguyen (82.35). “I was thinking about being in the top 10 perhaps, but then it happened and I got the bronze medal. It was a great feeling to stand on the winner’s podium beside the experienced athletes.”

Rida said his podium finish was the product of intense training in the lead-up to the competition.

“I trained very hard before the championships,” said Rida, who is coached by Robert Hirsch in Berlin. “It wasn’t always easy and it took a lot of effort, but I had a good feeling because my coach prepared me very well.”

Rida’s performance at the German Championships positions him well for this fall’s World Championships in Stuttgart and next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, but he has not burst into the German senior ranks as an unknown.

Rida placed first all-around at the 2017 German Junior Championships and second all-around at the 2018 German Junior Championships. Last year he was eighth all-around, second on parallel bars and eighth on floor exercise at the European Junior Championships in Glasgow.

Although Rida’s recent success has made him a strong candidate for Tokyo, he said he and his team must earn a Games berth through a solid performance in Stuttgart.

“We are still not thinking of the Olympic Games because first we have to qualify for them,” said Rida, a native of Eberswalde whose Moroccan father was born in Casablanca and whose mother is German. “Only if we will have passed the championships in Stuttgart we will know if we can take part in the Olympic Games. So a good result in Stuttgart is our next goal.”

To secure a spot on the German team in Stuttgart and hopefully Tokyo, Rida said he wants to demonstrate reliability and precision.

“I do not have much experience but I can improve my performances and try to clean up my exercises as well as possible,” he told IG. “I hope to show stable and well-done exercises, and I will train for this very hard.”

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 15 August 2019 07:28    PDF Print
Bhardwaj: ‘Balance, Diversity Are Keys To Longterm Success’
(6 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)

The July/August 2019 issue of International Gymnast includes an update on 2004 U.S. Olympic team captain Mohini Bhardwaj de Freitas, who told IG that a well-rounded lifestyle is key to longterm success in the sport.

“Rest days, sleep, rehab and diet are just as important as your training,” said Bhardwaj, who now competes in weightlifting and is gym director at OOA Gymnastics in Bend, Oregon. “Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to doing skills in gymnastics, so keep the pounding down to a minimum.”

Bhardwaj said gymnasts can and should enhance their gymnastics training by enjoying other forms of fitness.

“Do lots of cross-training,” she said. “Getting out of the gym is fun and any sort of training — yoga, spin class, weightlifting, hiking, paddle boarding, et cetera — are great ways to complement your gymnastics training without feeling burnt out.”

Read “Raising the Bar,” the complete update on Bhardwaj, in the July/August 2019 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or to order back issues, click here.

Written by Christian Ivanov    Sunday, 11 August 2019 17:54    PDF Print
Biles Wins Record Tying Sixth National Title
(6 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Simone Biles (World Champions Centre) posted a 59.85 on day two at the 2019 U.S. Championships held in Kansas City, MO to easily win her sixth national all-around title (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018). Her total score from both days of competition was 118.5.

Biles began the competition on beam with nearly perfect routine, but did not compete her double twisting double tuck dismount, which she had successfully debuted on day one (she dismounted with a ff-ff full twisting double tuck) 14.7/6.2. On floor she mounted with a triple twisting double tuck and landed it successfully, after she had put her hands down on it during day one’s competition. She posted a 15.1/6.7 for the routine. In addition to the all-around title, Biles claimed the gold medals on vault (Cheng and Amanar), beam and floor. With the win Biles tied Clara M. Schroth, who won her last title in 1952, as the only other U.S. woman to have won the all-around six times.

Finishing second was Sunisa Lee (Midwest) who scored 113.55 (56.65 on day two). Lee won the gold medal on uneven bars with a spectacular bar set including a Nabieva (toe on layout Tkatchev) to immediate Pak salto to Maloney to Bhardwaj (full twisting Pak salto); giant 1 ½ to piked Jaeger and full twisting double tuck. She scored 15.05/6.4 on day two.

Grace McCallum (Twin City Twisters) had an excellent second day of competition posting 56.95 (falls on bars and beam on day one) to earn the bronze with a 111.85. McCallum’s strongest event on day two was beam where she performed two clean wolf turns, side aerial to layout-layout and a double tuck dismount to score a 14.45/5.9.

Morgan Hurd (First State) was solid on day two of the competition to finish fourth with a 111.7 (56.65 second day). Fifth was Leanne Wong (GAGE) 111.25 (55.85 day two). Wong struggled with her landings on floor (piked double Arabian and 3 ½ twists), but showed impressive work on beam for 14.45 on day two. Thanks to hitting 8-for-8 Jordan Chiles (World Champions Centre) finished sixth.

Jade Carey (Arizona Sunrays), in third after day one, fell on her stalder Tkatchev on bars, which dropped her to seventh place at the end. Carey again impressed on vault (Cheng and Amanar) and floor (double twisting double layout, full twisting double layout, double twisting double tuck) where she finished in second place, only behind Biles.

MyKayla Skinner (Desert Lights) and Trinity Thomas (University of Florida) finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Skinner competed well her Cheng and Amanar on vault to take the bronze medal on the event but had a fall on back handspring tuck full on beam, while Thomas had an excellent day minus a fall on her Biles (double layout half out) on floor. Tenth was Kara Eaker (GAGE). Riley McCusker (MG Elite), who was in fourth place after the first day, scratched the competition after the second rotation due to a reported illness. For full results click here.

The senior U.S. national team was announced at the end of the competition and included eleven gymnasts: Biles, Lee, McCallum, Hurd, Wong, Chiles, Carey, Skinner, Thomas, Eaker and McCusker.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Christian Ivanov    Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:16    PDF Print
Kayla DiCello Wins U.S. Junior Nationals
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Kayla DiCello (Hill’s) claimed the Junior Women’s U.S. National title in Kansas City, MO. DiCello posted a 56.7 on day two of competition to total 112.7, and overtake Konnor McClain (Revolution), who posted 112.6 (56.1 on day two). Along the way DiCello, who was second at last year’s nationals, won the gold medals on vault and floor. She posted the top vault scores on both days 14.7 and 14.8 for her Yurchenko double twist. On floor DiCello stuck her opening tumbling pass full twisting double layout, and her dismount pass double tuck to post a 14.1 on day two, the only gymnast to break 14.0 on the event.

McClain, who had the lead after day one, was content with the result. “I’m happy with the second place. Going into the competition my goal was to make the junior national team.” she reflected after the meet. McClain, fifth place finisher at the 2018 nationals, won the beam title (standing Arabian, ff-ff layout two feet, standing full, ff-ff double pike) posting 14.3 on day one, and 14.2 on day two.

Olivia Greaves (MG Elite) walked away with the bronze medal scoring 55.7 on day one and 55.15 on day two. Greaves took the bar title with her well executed bar set (stalder full to stalder Shaposhnikova half, piked Jaeger, stalder piked Tkatchev to Pak salto, Maloney half, full twisting double tuck). Skye Blakely (WOGA) repeated her result from a year ago by taking the fourth place with a total of 109.85. Sydney Barros (Texas Dreams) posted 109.8 for the fifth place, while Ciena Alipio (West Valley) was sixth with 107.3. For full results click here.

The members of the 2109 junior national team were announced after the competition: DiCello, McClain, Greaves, Blakely, Barros, Alipio, Anya Pilgrim (Hill’s), Lilly Lippeatt (Cincinnati), eMjae Frazier (Parkettes) and Sophia Butler (Discover).

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Christian Ivanov    Saturday, 10 August 2019 22:08    PDF Print
Mikulak Dominates U.S. Championships, Claims Sixth Title
(2 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)

Sam Mikulak (USOPTC) easily defended his all-around title at the 2019 U.S. Championships held in Kansa City, MO. On day two of the competition Mikulak once again dominated the event posting 87.4 in the all-around to capture his sixth national all-around title (13, 14, 15, 16, 18). His two-day total was 174.15, which was 5.55 higher then the runner up in the competition Yul Moldauer (Oklahoma).

Mikulak was impressive throughout the entire two-day competition and in addition to the all-around title he secured four of the six individual event gold medals (floor, pommel horse, p-bars and high bar). On the second day the 26 year-old upgraded on two of the events performing a Makuts in his p-bar routine 15.3/6.5, and a Liukin (full twisting Tkatchev) in his already complex high bar set for a 14.5/6.6. With his sixth title Mikulak ties for the second most in history with Makoto Sakamoto (last title in 1970), and he is one title behind Alfred Jochim (last title 1933) who has seven.

For a second year in a row Moldauer finished second behind Mikulak posting a total of 168.6, (84.6 on day two). The only major issue for the 2017 champion came on his high bar routine where he caught his Kovacs close and had to bend his arms on the giant afterwards. Moldauer finished the competition with a strong floor routine sticking most of his tumbling passes for 14.7/5.8. By hitting 12-for-12 Akash Modi (Stanford) proved his consistency and earned the bronze medal with a total of 168.25 (84.3 on day two).

Shane Wiskus (Minnesota) finished fourth posting a total of 167.6 (83.65 second day). On day two, in his high bar set Wiskus was far away on his Cassina release move, but managed to hold onto the bar with one hand, resulting in a dramatic one arm giant catch, he posted 13.1 for the routine. Thanks to a well-executed Kasamatsu 1 ½ twist Wiskus took the vault title in the competition. With a balanced performance throughout both days Trevor Howard (Ohio State) finished fifth with a 164.9 (82.65 day two). Much stronger second day of the competition helped Allan Bower (Oklahoma) climb from tenth to sixth place in the all-around scoring 163.65 (83.0 day two). Donnell Whittenburg (USOPTC) and Sean Melton (Ohio State) rounded out the top eight. Alex Diab (Illinois) won the rings title with a combined score of 29.35 (14.75 on day two). For full results click here.

Post the medal ceremony USA Gymnastics announced the 2019 Senior Men’s National Team, which included the top six finishers: Bower, Howard, Mikulak, Modi, Moldauer and Wiskus.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.


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