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Archive: September 2003

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SEPTEMBER 27 - KABAYEVA WEARS THE WORLD CHAMPION CROWN ONCE AGAIN

The winner in 1999, and in 2001 before a doping infraction stripped her of the title, Russia’s Alina Kabayeva edged out the elegant Ukrainian Anna Bessonova for the gold 106.475 to 106.150. Kabeyeva’s Russian counterpart Irina Tchachina stepped on the podium again in Budapest claiming the overall bronze medal.

Canada’s Alexandra Orlando put together four solid routines in today’s individual all around competition, to move up seven places in the rankings on her way to capturing 16th place (88.70) in her first World Championships. Orlando was the top scorer in her group, and her scores (hoop 23.0, ball 21.2, clubs 23.9, ribbon 20.6) were enough to keep her among the best athletes in the World. With her strong finish, Orlando’s results may support her dreams of an Olympic berth with a wild card. The FIG committee will award the cards in a few months.

Orlando’s teammate Mary Sanders slipped a few places from qualification, but still managed an impressive tenth overall finish (91.80), the USA’s best-ever finish. This qualifies her a berth to Athens.

The group competition, which took place Friday, saw Russia add another gold medal to their total (50.325). The Russian group won the title ahead of Bulgaria (50.175) and Belarus (46.45). The top eight groups automatically earned spots in Athens; the remaining qualifiers were: Italy, Ukraine, Spain, China, and Greece.

The Canadian group equaled their result from the previous Worlds, coming in 12th (39.25). The group must therefore hope for a wild card, however with the Pan American Champions Brazil just missing qualifying by coming in 9th (41.80), the Canadian chances look slim. This is a great disappointment for the girls – everyone who put so much effort into this collaboration. However, the performances of all of the Canadian athletes throughout the event gives reason to be proud.


SEPTEMBER 25 - SANDERS CONTINUES TO SHINE IN BUDAPEST

Anna Bessonova (UKR) and Alina Kabeyeva (RUS) matched their gold medals from yesterday by winning the club and ribbon events, respectively. Bessonova also picked up a silver medal in ribbon, with Bulgaria’s Elisabeth Paysieva capturing the bronze. Irina Tchachina edged her Russian teammate Kabeyeva for the silver in clubs. Matching her 7th place finish in hoop from yesterday, former Canadian champ Mary Sanders (USA) continued to make her mark earning 7th again today in the club event. Sanders’ currently sits in 8th overall, and looks to be a shoe-in to qualify for Athens.

In the team event, Russia was the clear winner, almost ten points ahead of runner up Ukraine. Belarus claimed the bronze medal, ahead of Greece, who made a surprising leap in front of the strong team from Bulgaria. The top five countries qualify two gymnasts each to the Olympics in Athens. The next best ten individual gymnasts will battle for the remaining berths in the 2004 Games.

The Canadian team finished in 19th position. Individually, Alexandra Orlando had the best performance of group D with ribbon, earning a 21.925, on an apparatus that was giving the majority of the gymnasts’ trouble. She bettered her score with clubs receiving a 22.7. Orlando qualified to the Individual All-around final in 23rd position. Canadian athletes results for the day:

- Judy Berecz – (clubs) 17.15, (ribbon) 15.00
- Megan Hui – (clubs ) 17.475
- Yana Tzikaridze - (ribbon) 19.00

The group event will begin tomorrow, with the all around medal being awarded as well. The individual all around competition will take place on Saturday.


SEPTEMBER 24 - ORLANDO LEADS TEAM CANADA AT WORLDS

The first medals were awarded today at the RSG worlds in Budapest. Ukrainian standout Anna Bessonova and Russian fan favourite Alina Kabayeva each split the gold and silver in the hoop and ball events. Russian teammate Irina Tchachina captured the bronze in hoop with Belarus’ Inna Zhukova taking the bronze in ball. In the team event Russia holds the lead halfway through the competition, with the Ukraine and Belarus hot on their heals.

The Canadian team is in 18th position, while individually Alexandra Orlando leads the Canadian team with strong scores of 21.5 (hoop) and 22.175 (ball) to put her in 28th position. The other Canadian scores are as follows:

- Judit Berecz – 17.775 (hoop), 19.775 (ball)
- Yana Tzikaridze – 18.4 (hoop)
- Megan Hui – 18.9 (ball)

Former Canadian Champion Mary Sanders, now competing for the USA, broke into the European dominance earning an amazing 7th place in hoop. This is the first world’s final for any American gymnast, and Canadians should be proud of Sanders and coach Mimi Masleva, who also coaches Alexandra Orlando. Sanders currently sits in 12th place overall.


SEPTEMBER 23 - RHYTHMIC GYMNASTS GEAR UP FOR WORLDS

The 2003 World Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics begins tomorrow in Budapest. The competition will serve to crown the champion in both individual and group competition, as well as qualify athletes/countries for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Canada sends a relatively young and inexperienced team of individuals; however, despite being the first world championships for all four individual competitors, the girls have recently returned from successful results at important international competitions. National Champion Alexandra Orlando (ON) has a lot of confidence coming off of her triple silver medal performance at the Pan American Games. She has also proven herself in Europe placing 7th at the Levski Cup and 18th at the Zaragoza World Cup. Megan Hui (BC), Judit Berecz (AB), and Yana Tzikaridze (PQ) join Orlando as the Canadian team, who combine to perform twelve routines (with the top 10 scores counting towards the team final).

The Canadian group features five athletes competing together in two routines (5 ribbons, 3 hoops-2 balls). Canada not only has excellent results (2nd place at the Pan American Games) but a strong team including Olympian Emilie Livingston (ON), Roxana Cervantes (BC), Irina Funtikova (ON), Pamela Jewell (ON), Sarah Stock (ON) and Rachel Cossar (ON). At the last Worlds in New Orleans the team placed an excellent 12th overall, however they have high hopes of being among the top 8 teams in order to earn a berth to Athens.

The Canadian Individuals are in Group D, which means they will compete last tomorrow for Hoop and Ball, but first for Clubs and Ribbon on Thursday. The group competition will begin Friday, with Canada competing their Ribbon routine, followed by Hoop and Ball on Saturday. In a new format, awards will be given out each day, which should make for a very exciting competition.

Keep posted to Gymn.ca for reports on the Canadians in action, or check out the official web site. Group photos are available at http://www.virtualprez.pair.com/nationalgroup/news.htm


Ward at the 2002 Retro Boogie

SEPTEMBER 15 - WARD GAINS EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN

One of the most prestigious meets on the junior international elite calendar is the International Japan Junior competition, and Cambridge Kips' Madison Ward competed this past weekend at the 2003 edition. She placed ninth in the AA portion, qualifying to vault and floor event finals. Madison vaulted a Yurchenko full in finals (8.925) for 6th place, and threw a full-in (fall) and triple twist on floor, finishing with a double pike (8.050) for 8th place.

Leading the field was Australia's Monette Russo, fresh off Australia's historic bronze team medal at the 2003 World Championships. Russo and Germany's Heike Gunne were the only two competitors in Yokohoma who are age eligible to compete at next year's Olympics in Athens. Russo won the all-around competition, and enjoyed a near sweep of event final medals (all but vault). Second place in the AA went to Ukraine's Olga Scherbatykh, who visited Canada last March for the Bluewater and Gymnix competitions. Rounding out the AA medallists was Japan's own Ide Kasumi.

Full results are available at the Japanese Gymnastics Federation Web site: Women's AA and women's EF.


Danielle Hicks
2003 Pan Am/
World Team trials

SEPTEMBER 14 - HICKS HEADS TO ARIZONA

Danielle Hicks of ASF Gymnastics has given the University of Arizona a verbal committment to compete with their team, commencing September 2004. Fellow Canadians Abby Pearson and Aubrey Taylor also attend the university. Arizona was Hicks first choice NCAA university and she is "absolutely thrilled and excited," according to mother Brenda.

The official signing of the National Letter of Intent takes place November 2nd, a day that cannot arrive too quickly for the ecstatic Hicks. Hicks deems the Arizona coaches as "wonderful" and the school as "perfect." In addition, Hicks said that she loves the girls on the team and that pictures and videos of the campus simply do not do it any justice. While on her official visit, Hicks watched training sessions and cannot wait to be a part of this "awesome team". After meeting with the athletic director, the head of the science department, and an academic advisor, Hicks made the decision to persue a B.Sc. in Physiological Science.

Recently, a few of the top gymnasts from the United States have committed to competing NCAA in the fall of 2004. World teammates Tasha Schwikert and Terin Humphrey will be attending UCLA and the University of Alabama, respectively, while National team member Katie Heenan is heading to the University of Georgia.



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