The 2015 Italian Championships were held from September 26 to September 27 in Turin and they are one of the competitions that will determine the athletes who will represent Italy at the upcoming world championships in Glasgow.
The lovely Tea Ugrin surprised us all by winning the All Around title over her more experienced teammates like Carlotta Ferlito and Erika Fasana. She doesn’t have the highest start values out there, but she took advantage of other athletes’ mistakes and she stayed clean and consistent when everyone around her was making mistakes. Her full twisting yurchenko on vault was very nicely performed, her bars and beam were solid and clean and she delivered one of the best floor routines of her entire career, nailing her tucked full in and her triple full. Ugrin was a stand out junior, who missed her first senior year due to injuries. She has had some ups and downs in 2015 but she was Italy’s top athlete at the European Games, where she performed beautifully, and now, she is the country’s national All Around champion. She was not on their worlds nominative team but after how well she has done this weekend, this will probably change.
The All Around silver medalist was 18-years-old Elisa Meneghini, who missed last year’s world championships because of a back injury. She started her competition with a solid uneven bars set but then, she fell on her side somi on balance beam, which is an event that has given her a fair amount of trouble this year. Fortunately, she was able to recover from that mistake and hit an excellent floor routine, landing all of her very difficult tumbling passes with only small hopes. On vault, she performed a yurchenko 1.5 and even though she bent her knees during the last half twist, she had a good landing that was enough to secure a silver medal.
Erika Fasana, who was probably the top contender for the All Around title, ended up in the third place after not having the competition she would have hoped for. Her double twisting yurchenko on vault was not as high and clean as it has been in the past but it still gives her a significant advantage over most of her competitors, so she was leading the competition after the first rotation. She didn’t have any major problems on the uneven bars, which is one of her weakest events but she fell on balance beam, where she only scored a 12.350. Her floor routine was fantastic and it included fabulous tumbling but the damage had already been done.
World team member Lara Mori, who is coming back from an injury, finished in the fourth place after delivering solid scores in the middle 13s on every event. She didn’t have any major errors but she wasn’t as sharp as she could have been and she doesn’t have the highest start values in the country so she didn’t manage to reach the podium. In fifth place, we have her Nanning teammate Martina Rizzeli, who had a disappointing fall on her best event, the uneven bars while also struggling on balance beam, which has always been her weakness. However, she landed her double twisting yurchenko on vault and besides a step out of bounds, she hit a strong floor routine, proving that she can help the Italian team on those two events.
Golden League AA champion, Carlotta Ferlito had a very disappointing performance during the first day of competition. She started with a disastrous uneven bars routine, falling on her opening stalder full and sitting down her dismount. Her maloney + bail combination was good and her jaeger was nice and high but she only earned a 12.4 after her mistakes. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to recover from this rough performance and she also had major problems on balance beam. She touched the apparatus after her back tuck, she had a major wobble during a simple full turn and she only dismounted with a layout. She stuck her triple twist and she performed an excellent floor routine but this wasn’t enough to make up for her previous errors. On vault, she performed a rather messy 1.5 twisting yurchenko with a big step on the landing.
Fan favorite Enus Mariani had falls on her two best events, the uneven bars and the balance beam. Considering that those are the apparatuses where she could potentially contribute on the team, it’s easy to understand that this performance does not help her chances to go to Glasgow.
Thankfully, the athletes performed much better during the event finals, where we saw some very impressive routines. Vault has always been Italy’s weakness so the final on this event was not spectacular. Junior Sofia Busato, who is definitely one to watch for Rio, earned the gold medal with a powerful double twisting yurchenko and a layout tsukahara. The veteran Adriana Crisci earned the silver medal. It’s crazy to think that Italy’s top two vaulters have an age difference of almost 20 years but this is the case right now and Adriana deserves everyone’s respect and admiration for staying in the sport for so long. The bronze medalist was Desiree Carofiglio, who also is a Rio eligible junior. Federica Macrì, who performed a nice half on front tuck off and a beautiful full twisting yurchenko, was in the fourth place.
The uneven bars finals started with junior European champion Enus Mariani repeating the exact same mistake she had during the AA finals and falling on her opening pirouette. After that she performed a maloney + bail combination, a high jaeger and a lovely ricna before dismounting with a double layout. Her lines and swing are absolutely beautiful and she could definitely help Italy on this event so it’s sad to see her struggling to hit her routine. The highest qualifier, Giada Grissetti, who was competing for Switzerland until last year, showed a promising routine. She started with a maloney + bail + stalder full combination and she showed fantastic flexibility during her stalders. Her release was a jaeger and she performed a gorgeous endo right into a double front dismount. Her performance was enough for a silver medal and she definitely has the potential to help Italy on this event in the future. Next up was Lara Mori, who contributed on this event at last year’s world championships. She hit an impressive stalder full + ricna combination, a ray and a bail to handstand. She hesitated a bit during her endo half, like she usually does, but she had no problems with her double layout dismount. Her swing is a bit labored but she can definitely help the team on this event. Erika Fasana had an other disappointment during this final. Her opening toe on full + maloney + giant full combination was fantastic, but then, she fell on her church. The rest of her routine, which included a ray, a bail to handstand and a high double layout dismount, was very nice, but she could obviously not challenge for a medal with a fall. Of course, we all have to acknowledge that Erika has shown tremendous improvement on this event and from now on, she can only improve. Then, Tea Ugrin hit a solid routine which included a maloney + bail combination, an inbar full into a gienger and a full in dismount. Her inbar full was a bit late, she had a legs separation during her gienger, a slight hesitation during a forward giant and she took a step on her dismount so her execution score wasn’t high enough for her to fight for the podium. However, she is quite lovely on this event and she is an other athlete who could potentially be part of Italy’s line up here. European bars finalist Giorgia Campana won the bronze medal. She could have challenged for the silver or the gold but her ono 1/2 was very late, costing her valuable tenths. However, her ono + jaeger combination was very nice and she landed her double layout dismount without any problems. The gold medal went to Martina Rizzeli who did not originally qualify to the finals after a fall during qualifications. However, she had the chance to compete when her teammate, Sofia Busato withdrew and she really made the most of it. She will never be the cleanest gymnast out there, but I think her form her improved a bit and she performed difficult combinations like a ricna + pak and a maloney + bail before dismounting with a full in. She has the highest start value in Italy on this event and this is enough to make her a lock for the worlds team.
At the beam finals, the standard was set high from the very beginning, when world team member Lavinia Marongiu hit an excellent routine. She performed a side aerial, a switch leap + ring leap combination and a side somi without any balance checks and her onodi was absolutely lovely. She was a big wobble on her front aerial but her flight series (bhs + loso + loso) was very solid. Her double tuck dismount was a bit low but her form was excellent. She really is beautiful to watch on this event, but she can’t really contribute anywhere else and she’s not the most consistent athlete out there, and that hurts her chances to go to worlds. The next athlete, Desiree Carofiglio hesitated a bit during her front aerial + jumps combination but she nailed her back handspring + layout and her sheep jump. However, she then split the beam during her switch ring. It looked like a painful fall but she managed to recover well from it and she finished her routine with a gorgeous gainer layout dismount. Giada Grisetti had a very similar mistake with Carofiglio, since she missed her foot and had a painful fall after her switch ring. Then, she also crushed her double tuck dismount so it definitely wasn’t her day. Despite those errors, I think she shows great potential on this event. She had great extension throughout her back handsprings + layout flight series, she performed a beautiful onodi and she hit her splits effortlessly. I really like her style and her flexibility and I could see her being in the mix next year. European medalist Carlotta Ferlito wasn’t affected by her teammates’ mistakes and she proved that she still is Italy’s best on this event. She started with her beautiful handstand mount and she connected her front aerial into a sheep jump without the slightest hesitation. She had no trouble with her side aerial, her switch leap + back tuck and her switch ring, and even though her “layout” is short and questionable, she landed it very well. She took a step back on her double pike, but I would take that dismount over her messy 2.5 any day. She earned the gold medal for this performance with a massive 14.8 score. The next athlete was Tea Ugrin who had qualified first into the finals. She really is a lovely gymnast with clean execution on this event. She executes all her aerials with straight knees and pointed toes and she performs multiple difficult dance elements beautifully. She wobbled during her switch ring and her johnson but the rest of her routine was solid and she finished with an excellent double tuck dismount, finishing only 0.050 tenths away from the podium. Giorgia Campana has one of the most interesting routines of the Italian team. She is the only member of the team who performs a kochetkova and she does it very well indeed. Her back handsprings into a layout step out were solid and she nailed her front aerial but she wobbled on her ring leap and her side somi. Her dismount was only a double twist and she took a big step backwards so she wasn’t able to challenge for a medal. Then, it was time for Elisa Meneghini to prove that she can hit on this event. Beam actually used to be her best apparatus, but she has barely hit any routines since she came back from her injury. In fact, a fall on her side somi during the all Around finals cost her the All Around title. She started with a solid back handspring + back handspring + layout step out combination and then she had a tiny wobble during her full turn. She had an other big balance check after her front aerial but her sheep jump, her side somi and her side aerial were pretty much perfect. She finished her routine with one of the highest double pikes we’ve seen and she nearly stuck the landing. This was enough to give her the third highest score of the day. The last athlete of the final was Lara Mori, who was one of the most consistent and impressive athletes of the entire competition. She wobbled on her Y turn and her switch half was a bit short. However, her back handspring into two layout step outs combination was absolutely beautiful, her switch ring was solid and her 2.5 dismount was absolutely fabulous, so she won a well deserved silver medal.
Sofia Busato, who will turn senior just in time for the Rio Olympics was the first athlete to perform at the floor finals. She hadn’t originally qualified, but Martina Rizzeli withdrew from the finals and she got to compete. She started her routine with an almost stuck full in and she nailed her 2.5 twists and her double pike. There are some great moments during her choreography and those tumbling passes seem to be easy for her so I definitely have high expectations from her on this event. Floor was the only event where Enus Mariani made the finals and thankfully, she managed to hit her routine. She doesn’t have any difficult tumbling passes but her double tuck and her double pike are both high and clean. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about her double twist, which reminds me of Mustafina’s triple full. As a junior, Enus was one of the most artistic and unique athletes in the world on this event but even though she is using the same music and choreography she had in 2013, the quality of her performance is just not the same. She doesn’t have the same sparkle and the same fire in her eyes she did back then and she doesn’t draw you into the performance in the same way that she did. Her music and her ending pose are absolutely beautiful though. Unlike Enus, Lara Mori had fabulous energy during her floor routine. She is a powerful tumbler, capable of a tucked full in, a triple twist, a double tuck and a double pike. Her triple was short and she barely got it around but her double saltos were all nicely performed. Her choreography is fun and entertaining and she’s not afraid to smile and to make eye contact with the judges and the audience. In my opinion, she is the best performer of the Italian team right now. Elisa Meneghini was also a joy to watch. She had the most difficult tumbling of the competition but she made everything look easy. Her double layout was well controlled, her full in was clean and her two whips into a double tuck combination was as exciting as always. She is a good performer and I definitely enjoyed watching her but I wish she had a bit more choreography in her routine. Difficult tumbling was also performed by Carlotta Ferlito who has upgraded her first pass into a tucked full in. Her landings were very solid but her triple twist is rather messy. She also showed great flexibility during her leaps and she attempted a Mustafina turn which wasn’t as good as in the All Around Finals. In terms of artistry, this is probably the best routine she has had during her career. Cartotta was always a crowd pleaser, who loved to perform to the crowd but this is the first time that her routine is choreographed so well. Tea Ugrin had a long day after performing to every single event final besides vault and it looks like this affected her performance. She just looked tired, she fell on her opening tucked full in and she was quite short on her triple. Her double tuck dismount was lovely but overall her EF routine can’t compare to the one she performed during the All Around finals. Her dance elements were as gorgeous as ever though. She got her double L turn all the way around, her switch ring was simply stunning and she has one of the best ferraris I have ever seen. I absolutely adore her toe point and her classical balletic style and I’m sure she can handle much more complicated choreography. Veteran, Federica Macri was next up and she showed all her experience and her power during her routine. She started with a powerful full in, she controlled her double pike well and she stuck her double tuck, receiving a big applause from the crowd. I was really impressed by how high and well controlled her tumbling passes were. World and European finalist Erika Fasana was the highest qualifier and the absolute favorite for the title and she did not disappoint. She has watered down her tumbling, probably because she doesn’t want to put too much pressure of body, but even without her full difficulty she still is Italy’s best floor worker. Her double layout was as powerful as ever, her full in was high and clean and her double pike seemed effortless. She also performed her memmel and her ferrari very well. She won the gold medal with a 14.7
The Italian athletes will have one more chance to prove themselves before the Glasgow world championships, at the upcoming Novara Cup.