Romanian superstar Catalina Ponor won two of the four gold medals up for grabs as the Doha World Cup concluded Friday in Qatar.
Performing to “Requiem for a Dream,” a new piece of music for her this year, the triple Olympic gold medalist from the 2004 Olympic Games, nailed four difficult tumbling passes (double layout, two whips to full in pike, triple full and double pike) and remained mostly wobble free on balance beam (switch ring; roundoff, layout to two feet; Onodi, bhs, layout to two feet; front aerial, bhs, layout; switch leap to Kotchetkova; double pike; 15.3/6.5.)
In an interview following the meet, Ponor said that she was pleased with her competition, especially as it is in preparation for May’s European Championships. “But I need to practice more, to work more, to be the best at the Olympic Games,” she added.
Romania’s Diana Bulimar, whose dance and tumbling seemed reminiscent of Ponor’s, threw a complicated and energetic routine (double layout; 1.5 twist to double pike; full in pike; double tuck; 14.725/5.8) to finish one rung below her teammate on the podium.
A rejuvinated-looking Jiang Yuyuan also performed a new routine on floor (1.5 to 2.5 twist; double tuck; triple full; double pike; 14.0/5.4) that showed more personality and playfulness than any she’s had since 2008. Jiang does not appear to be in top Olympic shape yet, though it seems safe to say that with the medals she earned in Doha (floor bronze Friday and bars bronze Thursday) she’s certainly in contention to make China’s five-person team this summer.
Ashleigh Brennan of Australia and Poland’s Marta Pihan-Kulesza filled in the podium on beam, while Beth Tweddle showed off a 6.9 difficulty routine on bars to easily take the title on that event (1.175). Germany’s Lisa Hill, one of the world’s most overlooked good barworkers, finished third.
World vault finalist Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland won her best event (Rudi and Tsuk full; 14.662 average), followed by Germany’s Nadine Jarosch and Teja Belak of Slovenia, both of whom opened with Yurchenko 1.5s.
The Chinese men dominated the men’s competition in Doha, walking away with five of the six gold medals up for grabs. Two of those golds went to triple Olympic gold medalist Zou Kai, for his super difficult routines on floor and high bar. Zou’s high bar routine, with an unprecedented 7.9 D-score wowed the audience with its unusual skills (his opening combo was Tak half, layout Tkatchev, Rybalko, layout Jaeger; later in the routine he did an Endo-Healy to full twisting layout Jaeger). He received 16.075 for the routine.
Liao Qiuhua, Du Wei and Guo Weiyang won the titles on rings, vault and parallel bars, respectively, with Guo also adding bronze on high bar.
Slovenia’s Saso Bertoncelj, the champion on pommel horse, was the only male gymnast atop the podium not representing China. Liao finished second, followed by World pommel horse silver medalist Cyril Tommasone of France. Tommasone’s countryman, France’s Yann Cucherat, had a great day as well, winning silvers on parallel bars and high bar, his best events. Danny Rodrigues added a fourth medal for France with bronze on rings.
Armenia’s Artur Davtyan and Davtyan Vahagn, both noted for excellent execution, won silvers on vault and rings, respectively, while Croatia’s Tomislav Markovic and Romania’s Vlad Cotuna were the silver and bronze medalists on floor.
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