Friday, September 18, 2009

Desert Gymnastics..... DOHA WORLD CUP

(Jiang Yuyuan last year)

Many of you will remember that last year, the 2nd Doha World Cup was held in Qatar.  The only desert cup attracted many big names due to it's reasonable proximity to the Beijing games, attracting gymnasts delegations who wanted to test out their routines or their gymnasts power to perform.  Many of the Chines Olympic team were there, as well as Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Ludmilla Grebenkova (Ezhova), Anna Pavlova, Oksana Chusovitina, Kim Bui, Adela Sajn, Kristina Goryunova and many more.

(Last year's vault podium)

Competing in a desert place like Doha must have been a fascinating experience.  I particularly remember Carol Angela Orchard saying in an interview last year, that when she was planning she and Elyse's last year in competition together, she wanted to make it as exciting and interesting as she could.  Because of this, she had to include a trip to the middle east!  In fact, Elyse did terrifcally in Doha, placing second on beam, squeezed happily between Yuyuan and Linlin!

Well, this year's Doha World Cup kicks off in ten days.  The line up is not so impressive considering how close it is to the Worlds dates.  But here is a list of some of the gymnast who are on the definitive list to compete;

Hu Yuhong (CHN)
Sui Li (CHN)
Tina Erceg (CRO)
Youna Dufournet (FRA)
Pauline Morel (FRA)
Anja Brinker (GER)
Victoria Tsalalidou (GRE)
Vasiliki Milousi (GRE)
Marta Pihan- Kulesza (POL)
Adela Sajn (SLO)
Sasa Golob (SLO)

This is by no means the entire list, but it includes many of the gymnasts who we saw compete in Milan this year.  Chusovitina was on it, but I am guessing, what with injury, we won't be seeing her there.  I am looking forward to seeing Vasiliki Millousi compete at Worlds.  For those of you who remember, she was the Greek gymnast who qualified first for beam at the Euros this year but unfortunately crumbled in the event finals.  She has a lovely beam routine. Watch it HERE

(Vasiliki Milousi)

So, I wonder if this competition might be another China sweep, with Sui Lu at the helm?  Though perhaps if Youna Dufournet is on she can be something of a challenge.

(competition venue)

While this competition might not be considered huge, it is a great place for those middle-ranked Europeans girls to test themselves and each other a bit, and it is also a wonderful opportunity for some middle east gymnasts, such as Qatars lone female entrant Al Jazi- Habshi.  Another junior gymnast, 14-year-old Shaden Wahdan will demonstrate her talents in the non-competitive category.

(Doha Press Conference Yesterday)

The Qatar women are trained by a Romanian coach, Camelia Selariu, who is hoping that the Doha Cup will provide excellent exposure for her gymnasts  She told the Gulf Times "The high quality of the field will help us in anlysing the performance of Al Jazi in particular as she still recovering from a knee operation conducted a year ago."  Another aim for the Qatar gymnasts in competing in a cup such as this is to help their nation to achieve podium rankings in the Pan Arab games.

New federation rules and codes will be in use at this event.

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