Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Raluca Haidu

So, this week it is time for the Romania vs Great Britain meet which will be held in Ipswich, England.  The Romanians have named their team.  GBR has not, though they have claimed they will send a different team to each of the friendlies they are competing in this month (other against Switzerland)

This particular 'friendly' meet has a lot riding on it in the lead-up to the Rotterdam Worlds in a couple of months.  What exactly is riding on it?

Well for starters, ego is at stake for both nations.

Beckie Downie
For Great Britain, who have proved they have some excellent team potential, they are, in some ways, defending the silver they basically snatched out of Romanian hands in Birmingham earlier this year.  For Great Britain, they need to show that this wasn't a one-off good contest, but a new trend for the nation.  They have had the potential for a while, particularly with the AA strength of Beckie Downie, the start scores of Tweddle, and the infusion of junior talent, particularly in the leg events coming from Francis and Hibbert.  Their trouble has been consistency, particularly in Downie's case, where she has had myriad opportunities to prove herself, but tend to let the pressure get to her.
That said, these days the talent is there, the depth is there, the confidence of coming off a win is there.  If the consistency is there, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
If, as I imagine, they pit their stronger team against Romania and their weaker against Switzerland- they may just beat Romania.

For Romania, there is much at stake.  First, and most basically, like GB needs to prove it was more than a lucky day, Romania need to prove that dropping into the bronze spot was just a blip in the radar of an injured, youthful team.  Of course, the other issue at stake is that B&B now want to prove that their re-entry back into coaching positions is going lift the standard of Romania in international competition again. 
Of course, as we have seen, they are by no means sending their strongest, most experienced team.  This, however, will make it all the more interesting......

Tweddle's enormous difficulty helps!

In terms of how important this contest is on an international scale, it will contribute to some mental ranking in our minds going into Rotterdam, that is for sure.  It will also do much to create reputations in judges minds going in.  If one thing history has proved to us, if the judges think a one country is better than the others, it will certainly be reflected in their scores. 
If, as I believe might be the case, first to third place will be a battle between the US, China and Russia, ostensibly that leaves GB and Romania battling for a fourth spot, which isn't the most exciting or happy scenarios for the two nations.  That said, one thing we know about gymnastics is that anything can happen- particularly at this point of the quad.  And even if it is a battle for fourth, being a major threat to the bubble nations can't hurt either at this point in an Olympic quad.

I, for one, am very excited to see what is going to happen....

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