Clockwise from top: Alice Kinsella, Megan Parker, Maisie Methuen, Taeja James, Lucy Stanhope,
The 2016 European junior and senior championships take place in Bern Switzerland, with the women’s events beginning on Wednesday 1st of June with the junior qualifying event, and concluding Sunday 5th of June with junior and senior apparatus finals. For information about the junior team, see here:
For the juniors, the championship is held every two years, with the qualification event acting as the team final, as well as qualification for the AA and apparatus finals.
Qualification/Team Final Tuesday 01/06/16 17:00 – 19:10 UK time
Starting on beam, the British juniors will compete in the 4th subdivision alongside Russia, Romania, Italy, and France who will along with our gymnasts, likely put up the strongest fight for the medals. The Russian team is strong, and coming into the competition with the highest D scores, and highest total scores this year so far, but looking other scores, Romania, France, Italy, and Great Britain are fairly evenly matched over a three scores counting on each piece format, so should Russia hit, the fight for silver and bronze will be interesting.
AA Final Friday 03/06/16 18:00 – 19:30 UK Time
Two spots per country are available in the AA competition provided the gymnasts finish in the top 24 in qualification. The likelihood is that Great Britain will qualify two gymnasts, until we see who competes AA though it is impossible to say who. Russia’s Anastasia Illiankova and Uliana Perebinosova will be the favourites for the title having both scored over 57 this year, this was a Russian nationals though,, and scored can sometimes be a little higher than they are internationally. Illiankova has scored over 55 with a fall internationally this year though, so is capable of a 56+ score with a clean competition.
There is then a small group of gymnasts from Great Britain, France, Romania, and Italy which includes Maisie Methuen and Alice Kinsella who have scored high 54’s with room to improve. Maisie and Alice could both do very well here, both have the potential to realistically score 55 plus, something only the Russian gymnasts have managed far, the competition for the AA medals should be exciting.
Apparatus Finals Sunday 05/06/16 13:30- 16:20 UK Time
The British juniors will be hoping to qualify as many gymnasts as possible to the apparatus finals, again two spots per country available. In 2014, the British team qualified for seven out of a possible eight spots, the latest generation will be looking to emulate them.
On vault Russia’s Uliana Perebinosova and Elena Ermina , Romania’s Denisa Golgota, and Italy’s Martina Maggio have both competed double twisting Yurchenkos in 2016. After these two, most gymnasts are competing the full twisting Yurchenko, or the equally valued handspring pike front half . Maisie Methuen has been very clean on vault this year, so will be hoping to be up there fighting for the medals. Taeja James has shown the highest difficulty so far this year other than those with the double twisting Yurchenko, should she vault cleanly, she could also earn a place in the final.
Russia is likely to dominate bars, with Illiankova having scored over 15 at Russian nationals, and Perebinosova 14.633. Both scored lower internationally earlier in the year, but still earned mid 14’s, so if both hit their routines, they are simply uncatchable on this piece. Lauren Charpy of France has scored 14.150, but Maisie Methuen has scored 13.933, so isn’t far behind there.
Beam as any gymnastics fan knows is impossible to predict. Favourites miss finals for falling in qualification, and finals are often such a hit and miss event, that is impossible to to make any sort of reasonable guess as to the outcome here. Russia as ever will be strong, their gymnasts having scored high 14’s at Russian Nationals, young Vavrvara Zubova is particularly impressive. Romania continues their tradition of strong beam workers, and the French team can also impress. beam will be an interesting final should everyone hit, but that’s a big should!
On floor I have only seen one European score over 14 in international competition, and that was Romania’s Olivia Cimpian at Gymnix. Olivia was unfortunately injured in the recent ROM-FRA friendly, but thankfully it seems not to badly, as she is listed on the Romanian team. Maisie has scored 13.75, and upgraded since then, so again potential to do very well on this piece. Alice can also score in the high 13’s, and took the bronze at the International Gymnix earlier in the year behind two American juniors, and Olivia Cimpian. There are several gymnasts around Europe with high 13’s, so again whoever can put out their best routine and hit cleanly will take the medals.
It’s going to be a very interesting competition, on paper it looks as though if the Russian gymnasts hit they could well most of the gold medals available, but of course they have to hit. There are also a lot of other medals up for grabs, and should our young Brits be at their best, they are very capable of taking them!
At the moment there is no BBC coverage planned of the junior events which is a shame. The live feed from UEG and eurovision sports I have been told also won’t stream the juniors. If this changes I will of course update, and should a feed become available I will tweet it and post it on the Facebook page, so keep an eye out.
I will also tweet scores and results as the competition happens, as well as any information about routines coming from those in the arena. There may be a live periscope feed, so again keep an eye on the twitter account as I’ll link to any that come up.
Often we do not get footage from the junior Europeans which is a huge shame as there is so much exciting gymnastics to watch, and so many people want to see those heading for senior teams in the next couple of years. There are often videos after the event though, and of course I will post any with my report of the competition.
Good luck gymnasts and coaches!