I know it’s reaching that time of the quad when all anybody can think about is the Olympics but believe it or not there are other competitions happening around the world. One of them is the Osijek World Challenge Cup which took place from Thursday, April 28th through Sunday, May 1st 2016. Quite an impressive field came to the Croatian city to compete and great gymnastics was on display.
Following qualification on Thursday and Friday, 8 gymnasts qualified into each final apart from vault that saw 9 gymnasts compete as Croatia was allowed enter their athlete who finished 9th in qualifications.
Both men and women competed for individual event finals. On the womens side the queen of Osijek was most certainly crowned. Ms. Ellie Downie, the 16 year old sister of 2008 Olympian and fellow World Championships bronze medalist, Becky Downie took home all 4 event titles. Ellie performed two extremely clean vaults to take the gold medal on that event. Whilst not having the highest amount of difficulty on the event in terms of other vaulters around the world, she had the highest difficulty on the event at this competition and combined this difficulty with extremely clean form in the air.
On bars, after a few of the top contenders including British teammate Ruby Harrold and Russian Natalia Kapitonova made mistakes, the door was left open for Downie who showed her tremendous power and displayed an aggressive routine that earned her the gold on an event that is usually not her best.
WAG UB podium
On beam, Ellie once again showed her tremendous power and was calm and solid on every move. Her execution was great and every move was completed with amazing amplitude. She topped off her routine with a stuck dismount and came out on top in a beam final that was honestly more enjoyable than the World Championships beam final last year in Glasgow.
There was only two falls in the beam final, with both of them coming from one competitor , Yana Horokhova of the Ukraine who really stood out despite having two falls. The first year senior shows a lot of promise for the future of Ukranian gymnastics, a programme which has struggled in recent years. She has exquisite execution with toe point to die for and combines this with difficult skills, performed beautifully as she simply floats in the air. She made up for her mistakes on the balance beam on the floor exercise where she managed to grab a bronze medal performing a darling routine which got the crowd clapping along and made evryone, even Yana smile.
Seda Tutkhalyan of Russia took bronze in the hotly contested balance beam final and her Russian teammate, Maria Kharenkova took the silver. Kharenkova in particular really impressed . she displayed a positively beautiful routine, floating high above the beam on her leaps and and landing solidly on almost every skill. Her Russian counterpart, Seda elicited a squeal from me when she landed her dismount as we know she can be great on beam however has had difficulty in the past with hitting her routine when in competition. To see both Russian women hit their balance beam routines was great and we got to see how truly great they are.
Other notable mentions on balance beam should go to Rose Woo of Canada who hit an excellent routine but just lost out on a medal and ended in 4th most likely due to some form issues particularly on her flight series and a some leaps. However her routine is difficult and she proved she can hit it in competition which bodes well for her Olympic prospects. Also Carolyne Pedro of Brazil displayed her gorgeous lines on the event but just had a little trouble with wobbles.
On floor exercise, once again Ellie Downie showed her power in a new floor exercise routine for 2016. The Russian, Natalia Kapitonova earned a second medal with a silver on the floor exercise, displaying a beautiful routine with cleanly executed tumbling and as I mentioned, little Horokhova of Ukraine took the bronze which made everyone smile, I’m sure.
Overall the competition made Ellie DownieS Olympic prospects seem undeniable. Her all around score when all four event are added up was a huge 59.125, which rivals the best in the world. Couple this with almost a 15.000 on balance beam, I think it is fair to say that if Ellie Downie is healthy , she is most certainly an Olympain. Of course, it must be noted that even Ellie herself looked surprised at her scores when they were announced so they must be taken with a grain of salt, however to dominate the completion the way she did was truly impressive and it would be a crime if we didn’t see her in Rio.
Full results are as follows:
- Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.850
- Tjasa Kysselef (SLO) 14.200
- Rose Woo (CAN) 13.638
- Kirsten Beckett (RSA) 13.538
- Emma Kajic (CRO) 13.463
- Sofie Braaten (NOR) 13.050
- Helody Cyrenne (CAN) 13.000
- Dora Szekely (HUN) 12.888
- Jelena Stamenkovic (SRB) 12.813
*All average of two vaults
- Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.675
- Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS) 14.525
- Natalia Kapitonova (RUS) 14.450
- Rose Woo (CAN) 13.725
- Ruby Harrold (GBR) 13.425
- Carolyne Pedro (BRA) 11.800
- Dorina Boeczoego (HUN) 10.775
- Tzuf Feldon (ISR) 10.375
- Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.950
- Maria Kharenkova (RUS) 14.925
- Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS) 14.650
- Rose Woo (CAN) 14.150
- Adela Sajn (SLO) 13.925
- Ruby Harrold (GBR) 13.275
- Caroline Pedro (BRA) 12.950
- Yana Horokhova (UKR) 11.975
- Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.525
- Natalia Kapitonova (RUS) 14.100
- Yana Horokhova (UKR) 13.850
- Paula Andrea Mejias Rodriguez (PUR) 13.675
- Ruby Harrold (GBR) 13.675
- Carolyne Pedro (BRA) 13.625
- Dorina Boeczoego (HUN) 13.500
- Kirsten Beckett (RSA) 13.325