Event final contenders for European Games

The event finals of the first European Games are scheduled for June 20th. Only the top six athletes from qualifications will qualify to each final and only one athlete per country is allowed to compete.

Vault is probably going to be the least exciting final since very few of the athletes competing are capable of two vaults and even fewer have good difficulty on this event. Former European champion and world finalist Giulia Steingruber (SUI start value: 12) is hoping to win the gold medal she missed at Montpellier. And since no Russian seems to feel like pulling an amanar out of nowhere this time, I would be very surprised if she didn’t achieve that. Commonwealth Games finalist, Kelly Simm (GBR, 11,2) and first year senior Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS 11,4) will also have a fantastic chance to leave Baku with a medal. This is also the event final where the host country has the best chance to qualify to with Marina Nekrasova (AZE 8,8). Other athletes who are in contention for the final are: Leah Griesser (GER 8.8) Norma Robertsdottir (ISL 10.1) Katarzyna Jurkowska (POL 10,3) Vaida Zitineviciute (LTU 9.0)  Paula Plichta (POL 10,2) Noemi Makra* (HUN 10,0) Ana Perez Campos (ESP 9,6) Jasmin Mader (AUT 9,6) Diana Jerofejeva (LAT 9,0)

Thankfully, things get much more interesting on bars. Russia, which is represented by a world champion, an Olympic champion and a YOG champion, would be very disappointed not to leave Baku with a gold medal on this event. Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS 5.8) is one of the strongest bars workers of the competition but she’ll have a hard time qualifying to finals over her teammates. Aliya Mustafina (RUS 6.4) has not competed in 2015 so far, but if there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that she’ll appear with a fantastic bars routine while Viktoria Komova’s routines (RUS 6.4) are always poetry in motion. Germany sends an Olympic and a world finalist on this event, and is going to be a strong challenge. They are represented by Sophie Scheder (GER 6.4, potential 6.5) who is hoping to win high scores with her gorgeous lines and her complicated inbar work and Elisabeth Seitz (GER 6.6) who performs some of the most difficult combinations in the competition. Of course, we should keep in mind that only one gymnast from those countries is allowed to qualify. This opens the door for athletes like Lieke Wevers (NED 5,8) who could get big scores if she finally lands her dismount and Celine Van Gerner (NED 5.3) who is one of the cleanest bars workers will see. They could be joined by the much improved Kelly Simm (GBR 6.1), who is performing an original piked Galante and European finalists Giorgia Campana (ITA 5.7) and Giulia Steingruber (SUI 5.7). I wouldn’t underestimate home crowd favorite Kristina Pravdina (AZE 5,5), the lovely Noemi Makra (HUN 5.9) or the beautiful, but terribly inconsistent Andreea Iridon (ROM 5.7). Other athletes who could be in the mix are Marine Brevet (FRA 5.6) Valentine Pikul (FRA 5.7),  Charlie Fellows (GBR 5.6), Tea Ugrin (ITA 5.9), Alessia Leolini (ITA 5.7),  Lisa Top (NED 5.6), Lisa Verschueren (BEL 5,5) and Claudia Colom (ESP 5,8)

Beam is always the most unpredictable event and this time is no exception. The biggest European stars on this event (Iordache, Munteanu and Kharenkova) will unfortunately not be in Baku but this doesn’t mean the competition won’t be exciting. The Russians are once again top medal contenders.  Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS 6.6) comes into the competition with the most difficult skill being done in the world, a layout full and a massive start value. World and Olympic finalist, Viktoria Komova (RUS 5,9) will be hoping to show more difficulty than she did at Russian Nationals and finally win a major medal on this event and 2013 world champion Aliya Mustafina (RUS) will try to prove that she still is the best in the world. They’ll be challenged by Commonwealth bronze medalist Georgina Hockenhull (GBR 5.8), Mediterranean Games champion Giorgia Campana (ITA 5.8) and junior European medalist Andreea Iridon (ROM 5.7) who has one of the most artistic and original programs we’ll see. With only one gymnast per country allowed in the finals, Greece’s Vasiliki Millousi (GRE 6.1) never had a better chance to achieve her lifelong dream and win a European medal for her country. That would definitely be a great redemption after a disappointing fall that cost her a potential medal at Montpellier. Kelly Simm (GBR 6.1) debuted a routine full of difficult, but questionable skills and combinations earlier this year while the French ladies, Marine Brevet (FRA 5.8) and Anne Kuhm (FRA 5.6) both have world class start values and lovely style. The Dutch athletes Lieke Wevers (NED 5.7) and Celine Van Gerner (NED 5.5) will be showing the most impressive dance elements of the competition. Katarzyna Jurkowska (POL 5,6) has gorgeous lines and flexibility, and does her Steingruber dismount better than Giulia herself and Gaelle Mys (BEL 5.7) showed an incredible and difficult routine at Ghent. Other gymnasts who could qualify into beam finals are Elisabeth Seitz (Germany 5.7) Sophie Scheder (GER 5.6) Tea Ugrin (ITA 5.9) Lisa Verschueren (BEL 5.6) Laura Jurca (ROM 5.5) Silvia Zarzu (ROM 5.5) Giulia Steingruber (SUI 5.9) Jessica Diacci (SUI 5.5) Sankova Krystina (UKR 5.9) Tutya Yilmaz (TUR 5.7) Kristina Pravdina (AZE) Dorina Boczogo (HUN 5,4) Noemi Makra (HUN 5.7)  and Tzuf Feldon (ISR 5,4)

Unfortunately, we don’t have much depth on floor. World finalist and European medalist, Giulia Steingruber (SUI 6.0) is once again the top contender thanks to her incredibly powerful tumbling while  Kelly Simm (GBR 5.8), who does a spectacular whip + full in combination is hoping to challenge her. Lisa Top (NED 5.8), the only athlete who is performing a Dos Santos in Baku, is going to be Netherlands’ best hope while Laura Jurca (ROM 5.7) will try to continue Romania’s long tradition on this event. World cup champion Dorina Boczogo (HUN) has powerful tumbling and choreography and her teammate Noemi Makra (HUN) has always been fantastic on floor. Of course, we shouldn’t count the Russian’s out, especially since Seda Tutkhalyan (RUS 6.0) now performs a spectacular whip + whip + piked full in combination and Aliya Mustafina… well, is Aliya Mustafina. Then, we have a few athletes who are not great tumblers but still manage to have competitive start values by performing difficult dance elements. The perfect example is the gorgeous Lieke Wevers (NED 5.5), who performs her spins better than anyone else in the competition, the delightful Gaelle Mys (BEL 5.6) and the creator of the ring jump 1/1, Katarzyna Jurkowska (POL 5.3). Other athletes we could possibly see in the finals are Leah Griesser (GER 5.5) Silvia Zarzu (ROM 5.5)  Ana Perez Campos (ESP 5.5) Sankova Krystina (UKR 5.4)  Kysla Angelina (UKR 5.3)  and Sasa Golob (SLO 5,4)

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