Rio Test Event. The Romanian MAG team in third before the final subdivision

The Romanian Artistic Gymnastics Men´s Team Photo: Marian Dragulescu Official Facebook

The Romanian Artistic Gymnastics Men´s Team
Photo: Marian Dragulescu Official Facebook

Any elite gymnast is already very familiar with the pressure surrounding any big event but the Rio Test Event increases that pressure threefold for Romanian Artistic Gymnastics. Both Romanian teams get one more chance to qualify for the Olympics. One competition, one final opportunity to book the tickets back to Rio this summer (otherwise, three Romanians would compete at the Games, one WAG and one MAG gymnast selected by the Romanian Federation plus Marian Drăgulescu, who already qualified last year by winning silver in the vault final).

The men got to compete first at this test event, coaches Ioan Suciu, Ștefan Gal and Vasile Vug selecting Marian Drăgulescu, Andrei Muntean, Marius Berbecar, Vlad Cotuna, Cristian Bățagă and Andrei Ursache for this competition (with Laurențiu Nistor as a reserve). Romania competed in the second subdivision, together with the Spanish and French teams and a series of gymnasts looking to qualify individually. Germany had already competed in the first subdivision, posting a tremendous 350 point total which basically guaranteed their ticket to Rio.

Romania started well on floor, with scores in the 14s which made up the best total on the apparatus thus far. Drăgulescu, of course, posted the highest floor score, a 14.900, which will probably take him to the event final as well. Romania would add up 2 more points on floor than what they scored in Glasgow last year. Pommel horse was next, one of the most problematic events for the Romanians. Andrei Ursache, the national champion on this apparatus and team mate Cristian Bățagă managed routines in the 14s and Romania would score a total of 55 points, one point higher than what they had managed in Glasgow. They could have fared better here had Vlad executed well his routine but he made up for it immediately with a 14.500 on rings. It was Andrei Muntean, a specialist on this apparatus, who posted the highest score here (and the sixth highest score on rings in the competition at that time, a 14.733) and Romania would add up another 57 points before going into their 2 strongest events. They were flawless on vault, with four scores over 14 (including 3 Tsukahara 2 1/2) and a 15.266 Drăgulescu vault from the man himself. Their total here was only outdone by Spain.

Before the last two events, Romania was in second, two points behind Germany which was clearly ahead of the rest of the pack (Romania would have need another 120 points to go in first, for example). The team needed perfect routines from European silver medalist on the event, Marius Berbecar and Andrei Muntean, another specialist here. All the teams which had competed thus far had posted 58 points or more and France, which was also competing very well, was practically tied with Romania after four rotations (230.752 to 230.985). The Romanians did post a 58 total here with the help of a 15.1 from Andrei but could have done better had Marius scored higher than a 14, his usual range being in the mid 15s. At the end of this rotation France was trailing Romania by 1.5 points, though. The last rotation was nailbiting, with both teams competing clean routines until the end but France did post higher scores on rings compared to the Romanian scores on high bar. They managed to close the gap and finish 2 points ahead, in second.

344.148 points and third place for the Romanian team in the intermediate ranking with Ukraine, the Netherlands and Belgium to go in the final subdivision.

Intermediate results after Subdivision 2

Intermediate results after Subdivision 2

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