Despite the fight between the 2016 Olympic qualifiers, the next generation of Gymnastics stars still stood out and clinched several spots on the podiums at the Anadia World Challenge Cup, which took place this weekend in Portugal.
The successful competitors from Anadia came from eight different nations representing all five continents, a geographical spread not commonly seen in World Cup events. They ranged from experienced professional athletes such as the Men’s Floor champion, Alexander Shatilov of Israel, who claimed the first World medal in Gymnastics for his country in 2009, to Australia’s Rianna Mizzen and Flavia Saraiva of Brazil, who won the titles on Uneven Bars (Mizzen), and Balance Beam and Floor competition (Saraiva). Both of them were born in 1999, which proves that both are undoubtedly a part of the new generation.
Despite the fact that not all the winners of this World Challenge Cup will advance to the 2016 Rio Olympics this August, in Anadia they gave a foretaste of what is to come in the future.
Brazil Takes Home Two Golds
With less than 40 days to go before the qualified athletes advance to the 2016 Olympic Games, Saraiva and Rebeca Andrade of Brazil successfully took the top and second spot, respectively, of both the Balance Beam and Floor competitions against the international competitors, highlighting the dominance of the Brazilian athletes.
Cuba’s Marcia Vidiaux, who is proceeding to Rio this summer, took the gold on Vault, placing ahead Mexico’s Alexa Moreno, a former World finalist in the event.
Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari, whose early exit from the World Championships last year created doubts as to whether she is prepared for the 2016 Olympics, clinched bronze on the Floor Exercise, her best event. Among the newcomers, China’s Lyu Jiaqi, a former junior standout, obtained bronze medals on Uneven Bars and Balance Beam.
China Shines in Men’s Competition
China, spurred by young gymnasts Cen Yu, the champion on Vault, and the new Pommel Horse champion Weng Hao, was the only country to obtain two golds in the Men’s competition in Anadia. Despite them not being included in the Chinese men’s team that will compete in Rio, both still managed to enjoy spectacular debuts at World Cup competitions earlier this year.
The other titles were won by specialist from various nations: Shatilov on Floor, France’s Samir Ait-Said on Rings, Azerbaijan’s Oleg Stepko on Parallel Bars, and Colombia’s Jossimar Calvo on High Bar.
Japan, the longtime rival of China in artistic gymnastics, won medals in four of the six men’s events. Wataru Tanigawa obtained the silver on the Floor Exercise and bronze on Vault. Kazuyuki Takeda acquired the silver on Rings.
The final World Challenge Cup before the 2016 Olympic Games will take place in Mersin, Turkey on July1-3, 2016.
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