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Archive: October 2002

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Melanie Tham


The final trials for Ontario's 2003 Canada Winter Games team took place this past weekend at Gemini Gymnastics in Oshawa. Competing for Ontario will be Julie-Ann Passy, Melanie Tham, Melanie Banville, Lori Hamilton, Jennifer Charlebois, Cara Pomeroy, and Kristen Coleman. Full results will likely be available on OGF within the next few days.

Check out Gymn.ca's photo gallery for photographs from the competition.


Alexander Jeltkov
photo courtesy Grace Chiu

Montreal's Alexander Jeltkov continued Canada's medal tally today at the Glasglow Grand Prix, tying for gold on high bar with Russian superstar Alexei Bondarenko, with a score of 9.650. The pair clipped high bar specialist Aljaz Pegan of Slovenia by a slight 0.05 margin.

Kyle Shewfelt, of Calgary, once again showed his prowess on vault, winning the silver medal with a score of 9.55, just shy of gold medallist Marian Dragalescu of Romania, who won with a 9.712. China's Li Xiaoping won gold medal on parallel bars with the highest score of the entire competition, a 9.80.

Today's competition marks a tremendously successful outing for the Canadian men, in this the final stop of the World Cup circuit. The World Cup finals take place November 30 - December 01.

Gymn.ca will provide the overall Grand Prix standings as soon as same become available.


Kyle Shewfelt
photo courtesy Grace Chiu

Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt claimed his first-ever World Cup gold medal earlier today when he took first place on the floor exercise at the Glasgow Grand Prix. Shewfelt, 20, secured the victory with a score of 9.750, defeating runner-up Ioan Suciu of Romania by 0.075 points. Robert Gal of Hungary placed third, while Montreal's Alexander Jeltkov tied Spain's Alejandro Barrenechea for fourth with a score of 9.350. Defending world champion Marian Dragulescu of Romania placed sixth.

The victory was a breakthrough for Shewfelt, and helped cement his growing international reputation before the upcoming World Championships for Individual Apparatus in Hungary, where he is expected to be a medal threat on both floor and vault. Shewfelt's top finish also clinched him a berth in next month's World Cup final, where he will enter the competition as the sixth-ranked floor exercise competitor. In 2002 World Cup events, Shewfelt previously placed third on floor at the Cottbus Cup in March, and sixth at last week's World Cup stop in France. At the 2000 World Cup finals, which were also held in Glasgow, Shewfelt won the silver on the floor exercise, Canada's first-ever medal in the World Cup finals.

Grand Prix competition continues tomorrow with the men's vault, parallel bars, and high bar finals. Heading into the vault final, Shewfelt stands seventh in World Cup points and will be looking for a strong effort to earn his second berth to the finals in Stuttgart.


Kyle Shewfelt has qualified in first place in the floor exercise at Glasgow, the last World Cup stop of the 2001/2002 season. Shewfelt topped the heavy international field with a score of 9.775. In sixth place with a score of 9.425, Shewfelt also qualified for the finals in the vault. Alexander Jeltkov has qualified to the floor exercise final as well with a score of 9.325, which places him in 4th position. David Kikuchi narrowly missed making the finals on his specialty event, the rings, where he scored 9.30.


Sasha Jeltkov entered high bar finals having scored a huge 9.500 in the qualification round. In finals he picked up a bronze medal, his 9.225 bested only by Paul Hamm (USA) and Igor Cassina (ITA), who scored 9.612 and 9.538, respectively.

Kyle Shewfelt also earned a bronze for Canada today. He improved on vault today, moving up into bronze position (9.482) to grab his fifth career World Cup medal. On vault he performed a 2 1/2 twisting Yurchenko and a double-twisting Tsukahara. Shewfelt had a more difficult time on floor exercise. Qualifying in second, he landed short on a whip to 2 1/2 to layout front to front 1 3/4. He also put his down on a double-double dismount, to score 8.800 for sixth place.

Amelie Plante fell on her Def, scoring 8.163 and also placing sixth. Romania's Oana Petrovschi won bars, followed by Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS), and Tatiana Zharganova (BLR).

Shewfelt and Jeltkov compete next weekend in Glasgow, Scotland. Plante will stay in France to compete with Gymnix teammates Stephanie Gadbois and Stephanie De Lima at the Massilia Cup, in Marseilles.


The Canadian team had a very successful showing at today's qualifying round at the French International, held in Bercy, France. Alberta's Kyle Shewfelt excelled on his two best events, floor exercise and vault. He finished second on the former (9.488) and fourth on the latter (9.456), easily qualifying himself for both finals.

Quebec's Alexander Jeltkov qualified for finals on his best event, the high bar, with a solid 9.50 score. Jeltkov also competed on floor exercise (19th - 8.675), and parallel bars (27th - 8.175). Nova Scotia's David Kikuchi earned 9.075 on pommel horse, good enough for 8th place. Only the top 6 qualify to finals at the French International - not the usual 8 as per other competitions - so he will just miss out on this opportunity. Kikuchi, also known for his strong rings work, finished 14th on that apparatus with a solid 9.163 score.

For the women, Quebec's Amélie Plante qualified for finals in the uneven bars, earning an 8.9 score, good enough for a fourth place finish. She also finished 12th in balance beam qualifying (8.2) and 18th on FX (8.45). The event finals take place tomorrow. Results and some routine descriptions are available at IG online and the French Federation's Web site.


photo courtesy
Don Johnson

Bluewater's Melanie Rocca will travel to Europe to compete in two invitational meets this November. According to her coach, David Brubaker, Rocca, 15, will compete at both the Siska International in Slovenia on November 1 and 2, and at a competition in Luxembourg the following weekend. The meets will be Rocca's first international events since she finished fifth with the Canadian junior team, 13th all-around, and sixth on floor exercise at the Pacific Alliance Championships in May.

At the Siska event, Rocca will be joined by Canadian teammates Jennifer Simbhudas, Teri Gibson, and Melanie Tham. She and coach Brubaker will travel to Luxembourg on their own. Rocca is reportedly in the process of upgrading her routines in preparation for December's Elite Canada meet, which will be held in Gatineau, Quebec, from December 4-8.


Calgary's Grant Golding qualified for three event finals yesterday at the Hungarian International in Debrecen, Hungary, host city for the upcoming individual world championships. Golding qualified for the finals on the pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars, and showed new routines on the last two events according to coach Tony Smith. Golding's Calgary teammate Scott Lang qualified for finals on the vault, and Saskatchewan's Rhett Stinson made finals on rings and parallel bars. This is Stinson's first international competition since undergoing knee surgery last year.

Apparatus finals were scheduled to take place this morning, and gymn.ca will provide more results when they become available.


1997 Canadian National Champion, Sarah Deegan, now 21, has resumed training at Gemini Gymnastics under the tutelage of Elena Davydova following a four-year lapse. Deegan, a member of the 8th place Canadian team, as well as an all-around finalist at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, is training with the hope of obtaining a scholarship to an American university and furthering her studies there. Currently in her third year of Dentism in Toronto, Deegan also finds time in her busy schedule to work at her father's dental office.

Known by many as the Natalia Yurchenko of Canadian gymnastics because of her elegance and long lines, Deegan has already relearned many of the skills that placed her among the world's best in the late 1990's. On uneven bars, Deegan is working on giants and a Jaegar release move, and on balance beam, she has already mastered a round off, layout mount onto the beam, a flip flop, layout and a switch leap to immediate aerial walkover. Vault and floor exercise are coming along somewhat slower, mostly due to sore ankles. Still, Deegan is vaulting a piked Yurchenko and twists cleanly on the floor exercise.

Deegan told Gymn.ca that she is "loving the sport again" and "really enjoying her training". Gymn.ca wishes Deegan the best of luck with her future endeavors in the sport and beyond.


Junior National team member Katherine Fairhurst of Oshawa, ON moved from Gemini Gymnastics to Sport Seneca shortly after the Commonwealth Games in August. The move was made, in part, because of problems with local high schools not being able to accommodate Fairhurst's busy training schedule.

"I miss Elena (Davydova) so much!" Fairhurst told Gymn.ca last Sunday at World Trials. Asked whether she is adjusting to her new gym, Fairhurst replied "Oh, yes! The coaches are great and I'm making lots of new friends." Fairhurst indicated that she is working on new elements for the upcoming season, including a new series on balance beam which renders her start value at a whopping 10.3!


Amelie Plante and Ashley Peckett have been selected to Canada's women's team for the upcoming 2002 World Apparatus Championships. Both were members of Canada's 2001 World Championships delegation.

A renewed Plante looked excellent in competition today, nailing a new 9.9 SV bars routine in the morning. She caught her Def and also performed a new sequence of free hip-full immediate giant-full immediate giant 1 1/2 to Gienger, a shoot over handstand, and a double layout dismount. More commentary about today's trials can be found here (morning portion) and here (afternoon portion).

The F.I.G. permits a maximum of four female athletes per country, with no alternates. Canada's two remaining spots may be earned based on performances at upcoming meets. Expected to be in top contention for these spots are Kate Richardson, Jholeen Ponce, and Jennifer Simbhudas. The 2002 World Apparatus Championships take place November 18-25 in Debrecen, Hungary.


On September 29, 2002, Bluewater Gymnastics Club's brand new facility hosted the first trials for selection to Ontario's 2003 Canada Winter Games team. Topping the field was Mississauga's Melanie Tham (36.60), followed closely by Sport Seneca's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (36.475), and Ottawa's Melanie Banville (36.45).

Click here to view photos from the competition, and here for commentary of top performances.


Jennifer Simbhudas

Canada's women's team for the upcoming individual world championships in Derbecen, Hungary, will be finalized following a selection meet this week-end at the Gemini Gymnastics Club in Oshawa, Ontario.

Expected participants include 2001 world team members Amélie Plante of Gymnix (bars, beam, and floor), Jennifer Simbhudas of Winstonettes (vault and beam), and Ashley Peckett of Mississauga (vault, beam, and floor); national vault champion Jholeen Ponce of Panthers (who will also compete on the balance beam), and national team member Teri Gibson of Mississauga (floor).

Recently crowned Commonwealth Games all-around champion Kate Richardson, currently a freshman at UCLA, will not be participating in this week-end's selection activity, but is still being considered for team selection on vault, bars, and beam. Richardson hopes to compete at the world championships, should it be academically feasible.

Unfortunately, injuries will prevent Commmonwealth bronze medallists Danielle Hicks (Gemini) and Vanessa Meloche (Seneca) from vying for a team berth, while Ottawa's Heather Purnell (Ottawa) is opting to train new skills and routines for next season in lieu of trying for the Debrecen team.

Gymnasts were invited to the selection activity based on their results from earlier this season. Any FIG age eligible gymnast (those born in 1986 or earlier) who medalled on an individual event at the Pacific Alliance Championships, Canadian Championships, or Commonwealth Games, received an invitation to compete for a spot on the world team on the event in which she medalled. Gymnasts wishing to qualify for other events (or other gymnasts not previously invited) were eligible to qualify through various screening events held across the country. A total of four gymnasts will be named to the world championship team, with no more than two competing on each individual event.

Two sessions of competition will take place at Gemini on Sunday, October 6th, with the first to begin at 9:45 am, and the second at 4:45. Both sessions are scheduled to last just over one hour, and tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 for one session (or $8 for both sessions) for adults, $3 for one session (or $5 for two sessions for children 12 and under), while children 5 and under will be admitted for free. The Gemini Gymnastics Club is located at 1000 Stevenson Road North in Oshawa, Ontario.


This November, Hungary plays host to the 2002 World Championships for Individual Apparatus. Originally scheduled to take place in the capital city of Budapest, plans fell apart when the proposed stadium caught fire and burned to the ground. With no other venue suitable to host an event of this magnitude, rumours of moving the event were afloat. Madrid, Spain is said to have offered to host the event. In the end, the event was moved to Debrecen (pop. 218,000), seat of the interim Hungarian government during WWII.

This October, three gymnasts from Western Canada will travel to Debrecen for the Hungarian International. Federations hosting major events will often hold a test event, and this year's Hungarian International will serve as the test event for the upcoming Worlds. Leading the group to the Hungarian International is Grant Golding, Canada's top all-arounder at the 2001 World Championships (22nd AA). He'll be joined by fellow Calgarian Scott Lang and Rhett Stinson of Saskatoon.

Canada's official men's team for the upcoming Worlds will be determined following the men's Elite Canada, scheduled for November 1-2 in Montreal. Four men will be selected.

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