Sunday, September 20, 2009


So, it seems Ukraine have named their Worlds team.

Anastasia Koval
Yana Denyanchuk
Marina Sergeynko
Dariya Zgoba

It is interesting to see that for one, the almost impossibly bendy Dariya Zgoba is still among us.  Zgoba is known for her strong bar work, her insane (what some commentators claimed was almost to the detriment of her form and strength) flexibility and her slight case of the Ukrainina 'headcase' bug when it comes to the big meets.  She has been out with an injury for some time, but is clearly back to keep the Ukrainians reputation for good bar work up and out there.

I don't think there is a single person out there who is surprised that little Yana Demyanchuk is on this team after her surprise nabbing of the European beam championships from under Romanian, Russian and Greek noses.  I hope she is in good form and impresses still.

I, for one, am a little surprised to see Anastasia Koval on the team.  This is mostly because she seemed so woeful at the Euros this year.  But that was some time ago.  She is a talented gymnast and perhaps she is back in form after a bad week in Milan.  At the Ukraine Nats she whooped everyone, including Demyanchuk's butt on beam, and generally did well all around, coming second to Demyanchuk.

I have to confess I know nothing about Marina Sergienko at all.  All I really know is that she won vault at the Ukraine Nationals this year so she may be included for her strength on that event considering that vault is said to be the easiest finals field to penetrate at the moment.

The reserve for this team is Valentina Holenkova.  I must admit I was just a little surprised to not see her name among the team members.  Many of you would remember that I oft-cited her during the Milan competition as one of my favorites.  But I am a realist and I know she wasn't that impressive there.
Holenkova kind of represents what is wrong with Ukrainian gymnastics (aside from having next to no money and a serious lack of coaching talent.) of late.

Valentina emerged as a very talented young junior who looked set to do very well for herself after kicking butt in several junior contests, then she just seemed to stagnate.  Though she has the lovely form and presence the Ukrainians are renowned for, she also lived up to national form by choking a little in event finals.

She also barely lifted her difficulty levels as a senior and has/had a floor routine so babyish it should have been discarded a long time ago, particularly when she started to become the slightly willowy (for a gymnast) girl she has become.  These are the sort of things the coaches should have been on to from the outset  Why wasn't she improving?  And even if the talent pool was so shallow in Ukraine that Holenkova's relatively simple gymnastics was the best they could do, they could have at least noticed she'd entered puberty and done away with the kiddie floor routine and the inane music.  They may have done that later this year, but it should have already happened before Euros.

Anyway, I am sorry to see her not there, because I still do love to watch her pretty gymnastics, but I also hope it means Ukraine has strengthened if they don't need her any more.

But then of course, she may be injured.  Who knows?

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