Romanian Rhythmic gymnasts attend the Moscow Grand Prix

Alice David

Alice David

               One of the most important Rhythmic gymnastics competitions at the beginning of the season is the Moscow Grand Prix. This event manages to bring together some of the top gymnasts in the world, who get to perform their new routines for the first time this year. 2016 is even more important as most of these gymnasts are preparing to secure a spot for the Olympics either at home (qualified countries will choose their gymnasts internally) or at the Rio test event (six individual spots only). Aleksandra Soldatova, Margarita Mamun or Melitina Staniouta are just some of the European or World medalists present at the event, which saw 6 Russians competing, all of them placing in the top 15 (only two gymnasts per country can compete at a mejor event, though). Romania was reprezented by Ana Luiza Filiorianu, who competed very well on Friday to earn two over 17 scores for her performances with hoop (17.216) and ball (17.000). At the end of the day, she was 15th in the All-around standings. Today, Luiza came close to reaching that same level with her ribbon routine, scoring a 16.750 but clubs let her down and pushed her back to 19th at the end of the competition (16.050). Despite this hiccup, the routine is still one of the most enjoyable we’ve ever seen from her. You can watch it in the playlist below, together with the rest of her Moscow performances.

The two following months will be decisive, both for Luiza and Alexandra Piscupescu, in their preparation for the Test Event, the final chance at qualification for the Olympics, which will be held at the end of April in Rio. Only 6 gymnasts will receive their tickets for the Games here and Romania’s last try was not a favorable experience for Alexandra Piscupescu, who barely missed out on the London Olympics, generating a huge scandal in the process (Cyprus got the spot instead). In the first two competitions of this season, Luiza showed she can be one of the candidates for those 6 spots, improving her level compared to last year, her first as a senior. She will have to be perfect in Rio, though, if she is to secure that ticket. Alexandra Piscupescu has not yet competed this season.

The Juniors also had their place at this competition. As with every other Grand Prix or World Cup, Juniors get to compete in a parallel event, this time named after the 2004 Olympic Champion, Alina Kabaeva. Denisa Mailat, Alice David (both from the Olimpia Club in Bucharest), Sonia Ichim (CSM Arad) and Alexandra Calinov (a former member of the same Bucharest club, who now lives in Russia and had not competed for Romania for some time) represented Romania in the Junior team event. Denisa and Alice competed on Friday with hoop and rope while Sonia and Alexandra performed today with ball and clubs. The team placed tenth. The routine of the day comes from Sonia, who scored a 15,150 for her beautiful ball routine, also captured in the below playlist from the competition.

This post is also available in: Romanian