Tuesday, March 21, 2017

AGF Trophy 2017 Concludes In Baku

After the qualifications last weekdays, the FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup called AGF Trophy or World Cup in Baku concluded over the weekend in its host country, Azerbaijan.

This is not the first time Baku has hosted huge gymnastics competitions for FIG, and this time a lot of Olympians have emerged victors in their respective apparatus signature. To start off, probably the oldest in the event and the one with the most experience under her belt—a record SEVEN Olympic Games!—was 41-year-old Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan who didn’t show any signs of slowing down.

In the qualifications and finals, the 1992 Olympic team gold medalist dominated the vault with an astounding performance, and this is done without even attempting the very difficult Produnova vault that she tried in last summer’s Rio. Second to Chusovitina on vault was Australia’s pride, another Olympian Emily Little, followed by the bronze medalist from Slovenia, Teja Belak.

Another experienced competitor was five-time Olympic medalist, Romania’s Catalina Ponor. Albeit leaving Rio without any shiny remembrance, the 29-year-old blasted her competitions on balance beam and floor in both the qualifications and finals without much struggles in this competition. She has boasted her skills in AGF Trophy as a preparation for the European Championships next month, which is going to be held in Romania after sixty years.

Silver and bronze on balance beam was Vasiliki Millousi of Greece and AUS’ Little respectively, whilst on the floor Little once again stole the silver, leaving the host country’s representative Marina Nekrasova with the bronze.

Amidst all these experienced artistic gymnasts, a newcomer has emerged victor as well. Ukraine’s Diana Varinska, a first-year senior in her first World Cup competition, bagged the gold in uneven bars by showing her lovely forms, giving life to the wonders that maybe Ukraine is going to rise in women’s gymnastics once again. Varinska left the silver and bronze to the two Australians, Rianna Mizzen and Georgia-Rose Brown respectively.

Men’s Finals Results

Of course, if the women’s division showed great strength, the men’s division leveled that as well. On the lead was, dubbed “Lord of the Rings” after proving to be the best in the apparatus all around the world in 2015, Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias who clinched the gold once again in his signature event. He is also aiming for the European Championships next month.

Petrounias’ win on the rings left the challengers from Japan (Kazuyuki Takeda) and Ukraine (Yevgen Yudenkov) with the silver and bronze respectively.

However, not all Olympians had the same fate as Petrounias. Although he was the 2012 Olympic champion, Hungary’s Krisztian Berki was defeated on the pommel horse as China’s Weng Hao bagged the gold, leaving him for silver. On the third was Croatia’s Filip Ude.

Hao’s teammates, Rongbing Liu and Youxiao He also took home the gold and silver respectively on the parallel bars, leaving Japan’s Shogo Nonomura for the bronze, showing that maybe China could win once again versus the Japanese on the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Elsewhere, another Japanese clinched gold at the horizontal bar, Naoto Hayasaka. He was followed by Anton Kovacevic from Croatia and Tomas Kuzmickas from Lithuania. At the vault, AUS’ Christopher Remkes finally got his gold after falling on the second in front of his home crowd in Melbourne last month. Belarusian Pavel Bulauski and France’s Zachari Hrimeche took the silver and the bronze respectively. Kuzmickas, who joined three event finals, was awarded once again by gold this time on the floor exercise, leaving Bulauski and Hayasaka on the remaining two spots.

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