The format of these games means that all apparatus finals take place on one day, as opposed to the usual two day spread of events. It’s a heavy schedule to have competed four days in a row, today’s finals closed out the artistic gymnastics competition at the World University Games for 2015.
Fresh from her fantastic AA victory yesterday, Kelly Simm returned to contest three of the four apparatus finals beginning with vault and bars in the first session, and concluding her championships with the floor final later in the day.
Kelly qualified in second place to the vault final behind recently crowned European champion and reigning Olympic bronze medalist Maria Paseka from Russia. Maria qualified with an Amanar and a laid out Podkopayeva 6.30 and 5.60 D score, Kelly qualified with a laid out Podkpayeva and a full twisting Yurchenko 5.60 and 5.0 D score. Would Maria upgrade her second vault to the Cheng, or would she feel she was safely far enough ahead of the rest of the field? Would Kelly try out her DTY again in competition, or stick with the single twist?
As it was, both opted to repeat their qualification vaults. Both gymnasts were a way ahead of the rest of the finalists in terms of D score, so successful completion of both vaults would secure the gold and silver medals respectively. The bronze medal would likely be a contest between Russia’s Daria Elizarova with two 5.00 DV vaults, and Malaysia’s Tan Ing Yueh starting from a 4.8 and a 5.2.
E score won the bronze for Daria, 14.1 for her beautiful piked front half, then 13.9 for a well executed full twisting Yurchenko.
Kelly upped her performance again, legs together in the turn, arms straight hitting the vault, lifting and turning off holding the position well through vertical. The pike down at the end which is the biggest area with room for improvement was, also better. Landing dead center with just a hop to the side, a great start. 14.533 and yet another highest score for this vault. Kelly matched her E score for her second vault, a lovely full twisting Yurchenko, a little unneeded pike down causing a jump back on landing. Kelly generates a lot of power and is capable of the double, so has the height to hold the shape through the vault into the landing. 13.933 for her second vault, and an average of 14.233 for silver.
Maria Paseka completed her Amanar, it’s not pretty going on to the vault by any means, legs apart, arms bent, she doesn’t pass through vertical, and there are also form faults throughout the flight off, legs apart, soft knees, closed hip, crossed feet ect. Saying all that, her Amanar this year really is much improved from her previous attemps over the last few years. I just struggle to see how the 9.10 E score was awarded considering that Daria Elizarova also recieved 9.1 E score for her beautiful first vault.
Using the laid out Podkapayeva as her second vault, Maria again had quite a few form issues, and incurred a 0.3 directional penalty on her landing. An 8.8 D score and 14.1 with the penalty was enough to hand her the title with 14.75 average.
I don’t dispute that Maria deserved the title, but comparing her E scores, especially to her countrywoman Elizarova, and the two identical vaults from Kelly and Maria being awarded close E scores, but being performed very differently, I feel perhaps that the gap shouldn’t have been as large as it was.
On to bars now, Kelly had qualified in 7th behind some excellent performances particularly from Russia’s Ekaterina Kramarenko, and Maria Paseka. Qualifiers 5-8 all scored 13.80, Kelly then upped her score to 14.333 in the AA, so was certainly capable of a podium place on this much improved piece. Kelly started superbly with a far better toe on full than yesterday meaning she could link it straight to the Komonva II. Great transitions with less leg separation on the Komova II and the Pak, and none at all on the Chow. The issue came on the ‘Simm’, Kelly having to tuck it over the bar as opposed to performing it pretty much flawlessly yesterday. 13.566 today, and 4th place.
Maria Paseka didn’t quite hit her full difficulty today, in qualifying she performed a 5.9 D score, and today 5.7, the difference being needing to add the extra toe on between the Pak and the Van Leeuwen losing her connection bonus. The rest of the routine was well performed, not quite as sharp as in qualifying, losing a couple of tenths on her E score, but enough to take the bronze medal.
Asuka Teramoto took silver with a strong if not hugely dynamic routine, she performed a nice Gienger between the bars, and a toe full to Jaeger. She fought well to save the handstand from the in bar stalder, her biggest deductions probably coming from late tuns on pirouetting elements. Nice high full out to finish, and 14.233
Ekaterina Kramarenko went through her routine superbly, well flighted transitions (just the leg separation on the Pak), turns on top of the bar, lovely high Jaeger, nailed full out and looking absolutely delighted as she finished, 14.80 from a 6.0 D score took the title by over half a mark.
Such a shame for Natsumi Sasada of Japan, top qualifier with 14.25, then an even better 14.5 in the AA on this piece, it was not to be today. Three falls including a missed foot on the change to ring leap which is always a horrible way to come off, meant the final was wide open. Natsumi will be back though, she’s a beautiful stylish beam worker as she demonstrated with the rest of her routine, continuing with admirable composure and quality.
A great third place for Portugal’s Felipa Martins, dynamic and soild two flicks to layout, and great flexiblity on the spin with just a little over rotation. She was a little tentative in places, lacking amplitude in her basic leaps, but hits a lovely split on her tour jete, and most importantly stayed on without major error. Having qualified AA in 3rd, but just missing out on a podium place, it was great to see Portugal’s trail blazer leave the championships with a bronze medal.
Russia’s Polina Fedorova was the only one of the top three qualifiers to maintain a medal position with a reasonably steady but careful performance finishing with a lovely two and a half twist landing her the silver medal. It didn’t come off today, but I like the idea of the free cartwheel to change ring connection for 0.2 bonus, and immediately thought of Georgia Mae Fenton as a gymnast who could potentially pull this tricky combo off beautifully.
Yu Mionbe qualified in fourth place with 13.8, and managed to up her performance level in the final as despite losing a tenth in D score, she upped her E score by 0.3 to take the title with 14.00. The opening roundoff straight to the sissone W jump is not only incredibly difficult, but superbly performed in terms of technique and amplitude. The sheep jump after the Onodi, and a slightly flat fee walkover were really the only weak parts of the routine, the rest of her work is well executed, although in terms of a whole routine, it is a little lacking in flow and quality choreography. Double pike to finish, chest a little low, but well landed and the gold was hers.
Finishing the competition on floor, Kelly qualified in second place to the final behind Polina Fedorova, and in front of Daria Elizarova both from Russia. It was always likely that the floor medals were going to go to these three gymnasts, Polina topped the qualifying, Daria topped the AA, and Kelly was second in both competitions on this piece.
In the end, Kelly took the bronze with her highest floor score of the games 13.966. The tiniest shuffle back on an excellent double straight, whip to full in much better on landing with a just small pace, lovely leaps, the one and a half to double tuck a tiny bit short causing a hop forward, then safely through the double pike to finish four days of competition with an excellent routine.
Daria won the battle of the E scores to take the silver. Starting with a 5.6 D as opposed to the 5.8 of her fellow medalists, she performs beautifully, selling her routine expressively, tumbling and leaping with minimal deductions. 14.133 for her highest floor score of the championship as well.
Polina started from the same D score as Kelly, a 5.8. In keeping with Russia’s recent floor traditions, she is a good spinner, but as she does on beam, Polina struggles a little with hitting her positions on her leaps. Her twisting is always round, and with good technique and execution. As we expect from the Russians, great carriage, movement, and presentation throughout the routine. 14.20 and the gold medal for Polina in the final event of the championships.
So Kelly returns home to begin the run up to world championship selection, with a great performance, a full set of medals, her highest AA total and several personal bests. Just about worth missing the training camp in Barcelona the rest of the GB WAG squad have been enjoying I would say!
Kelly talks about her experiences at the games here, a huge well done to her, and her coaches at Dynamo Keith and Debbie Richardson.