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Nine Nations Golden at Varna World Cup
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Gymnasts from nine nations were golden Saturday as the 2015 World Challenger Cup concluded in Varna, Bulgaria. Pictured: Azerbaijan's Oleg Stepko was the most successful gymnast in Varna, winning one gold and two silvers in finals.

Gymnasts from nine nations were golden Saturday as the 2015 World Challenger Cup concluded in Varna, Bulgaria.

Gymnasts from 23 nations traveled to the Black Sea city of Varna, site of the 1974 World Championships. The medals were well spread out among the gymnasts and both disciplines, with a total of 17 nations winning medals (nine nations in the women's competition and 12 in the men's competition).


Alexander Batinkov (Bulgaria) won the silver on high bar.

Azerbaijan's Oleg Stepko, a 2012 Olympian under the Ukrainian flag, was the most successful individual, winning the gold medal on parallel bars and silver medals on pommel horse and vault. He qualified for every final except for still rings.

Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina, who turns 40 years old next month, continued to astonish with an easy victory on vault. The six-time Olympian vaulted a very clean layout handspring front with a full and a Tsukahara 1 1/2 to take the title ahead of Slovenia's Teja Belak and European champion Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland.

North Korea's Kang Yong Mi showed beautiful form to win the gold on uneven bars (inside-Stalder blind to el-grip full to piked Jaeger; piked Tkatchev; Tkatchev-Pak; double layout). Top qualifier Youna Dufournet of France won the silver; she hit the first part of her packed routine (Maloney-half; toe-blind to Jaeger; toe-on piked Tkatchev-Pak; Maloney to back uprise pirouette) only to nearly fall on a crooked giant-full) before her double layout dismount.

Käslin, 17, had the top marks on balance beam and floor exercise. On balance beam, she edged Vietnamese Olympian Phan Thị Hà Thanh by one tenth, 13.850-13.750. A further half-tenth behind, Asian Games champion Kim Un Hyang (North Korea) tied ultra veteran with the third best score. On Thursday, the 39-year-old Chusovitina topped the qualification on vault and also qualified to the uneven bars final.

The stylish Phan Thị Hà Thanh (Vietnam) won balance beam over Asian Games champion Kim Un Hyang North Korea's). Switzerland's Ilaria Käslin, the top qualifier, won the bronze on beam and followed it with the gold on floor exercise. Panama's Isabella Amado (second) and Peru's Mariana Chiarella (third) both made the long trip worthwhile with their first World Cup medals.

In the men's competition, five of the six top qualifiers repeated their first-place ranking in finals, with high bar the only event with a different outcome.

Croatia's Tomislav Marković, who was fourth on floor exercise at the previous World Cup events in Doha and Ljubljana, won the gold Saturday. France was the only country to take two titles, as specialists Cyril Tommasone (pommel horse) and Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues (still rings) both claimed gold.

Belarusian Pavel Bulavsky notched his best result to date with the gold medal on vault (handspring double front and very clean Tsukahara double pike). Stepko took second behind Bulavsky with an easy Tsukahara double tuck and handspring double front. The former Ukrainian team member followed with a gold medal on parallel bars.

Bulgaria's Alexander Batinkov caught Pegan and Kolman releases to end the competition on a high note for the host country by taking the silver medal on high bar behind Argentina's Nicolas Cordoba. Top qualifier James Hall (Great Britain) claimed bronze.

The Varna event was the fourth of six FIG World Challenge Cups planned for this year. The series continues May 21-24 in Anadia and concludes Sept. 17-20 in Osijek.

2015 FIG Challenger Cup
May 9, Varna, Bulgaria

Women's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Oksana Chusovitina5.58.96714.46714.650
5.89.03314.833
2.Teja Belak5.38.83314.13314.250
5.39.06714.367
3.Giulia Steingruber5.08.93313.93314.050
5.09.16714.167
4.Tjaša Kysselef5.08.80013.80013.850
5.08.90013.900
5.Jessica Diacci5.08.86713.86713.467
4.48.66713.067
6.Albena Zlatkova5.08.66713.66713.367
4.48.7670.113.067
7.Dilnoza Abdusalimova4.08.46712.467
5.08.70013.70013.084
8.Isabella Amado 4.48.6670.312.76712.550
4.67.73312.333
9.Tutya Yılmaz5.08.50013.5006.750
0.0000.000

Uneven Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Kang Yong Mi6.07.76713.767
2.Youna Dufournet6.27.50013.700
3.Giulia Steingruber5.77.16712.867
4.Lisa Ecker4.87.93312.733
5.Yelena Rega5.27.23312.433
6.Valentina Rashkova5.07.36712.367
7.Demet Mutlu4.46.66711.067
8.Oksana Chusovitina2.27.3674.05.567

Balance Beam FinalDENDScore
1.Phan Thị Hà Thanh6.08.20014.200
2.Kim Un Hyang5.97.96713.867
3.Ilaria Käslin5.68.13313.733
4.Oksana Chusovitina5.58.13313.633
5.Tutya Yılmaz5.87.73313.533
6.Isabella Amado5.57.73313.233
7.Lisa Ecker4.77.96712.667
8.Ralitsa Mileva5.54.8000.110.200

Women's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Ilaria Käslin5.48.2670.313.367
2.Isabella Amado5.28.13313.333
3.Mariana Chiarella5.28.0000.113.100
4.Phan Thị Hà Thanh5.67.5670.312.867
5.Lisa Ecker4.77.80012.500
6.Tutya Yılmaz5.27.4330.212.433
7.Jessica Diacci5.07.4670.112.367
8.Katriel de los Angeles5.26.73311.933

Men's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Tomislav Marković6.28.63314.833
2.James Hall6.28.46714.667
3.Žiga Šilc5.98.73314.633
4.Dimitar Dimitrov6.38.26714.567
5.Artem Dolgopyat6.47.86714.267
6.Ferhat Arıcan6.08.16714.167
7.Petro Pakhnyuk6.47.40013.800
8.Oleg Stepko5.97.60013.500
9.Vitālijs Kardašovs5.47.83313.233

Pommel Horse FinalDENDScore
1.Cyril Tommasone7.08.53315.533
2.Oleg Stepko6.48.70015.100
3.Dmitrijs Trefilovs6.28.50014.700
4.Ferhat Arıcan6.38.36714.667
5.Ahmed Aldayani6.08.20014.200
6.Eyal Glazer5.38.66713.967
7.Sašo Bertoncelj6.27.43313.633
8.Marios Georgiou5.87.43313.233

Still Rings FinalDENDScore
1.Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues6.68.60015.200
2.Azizbek Kudratullayev6.48.66715.067
2.Ibrahim Colak6.68.46715.067
4.Dang Nam6.78.23314.933
5.Federico Molinari6.78.20014.900
6.Oleg Stepko6.57.96714.467
7.Irodotos Georgallas6.18.16714.267
8.Regulo Carmona6.66.50013.100

Men's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Pavel Bulavsky5.69.23314.83315.050
6.09.26715.267
2.Oleg Stepko5.69.10014.70014.750
5.69.20014.800
3.Le Thanh Tung6.09.16715.16714.700
5.68.7330.114.233
4.Dang Nam5.69.13314.73314.500
5.29.06714.267
5.Andrey Medvedev5.69.16714.76714.367
6.08.0670.113.967
6.Ri Se Gwang6.48.03314.43314.283
6.47.73314.133
7.Ferhat Arıcan5.68.5000.313.800
5.29.03314.23314.017
8.Ahmet Onder5.67.7330.313.03313.650
5.29.06714.267

Parallel Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Oleg Stepko6.88.80015.600
2.Ferhat Arıcan6.68.73315.333
3.Ahmet Onder6.48.70015.100
4.Vasily Mikhalitsyn6.18.90015.000
5.Ashley Watson6.58.40014.900
6.Julien Gobaux6.28.46714.667
7.Hyok Han Jong6.67.56714.167
8.Marios Georgiou5.88.26714.067

High Bar FinalDENDScore
1.Nicolas Cordoba6.38.56714.867
2.Alexander Batinkov6.18.40014.500
3.James Hall5.78.60014.300
4.Oleg Stepko5.88.43314.233
5.Ahmet Onder5.98.16714.067
6.Petro Pakhnyuk5.78.33314.033
7.Ashley Watson6.37.43313.733
8.Hyok Han Jong6.56.96713.467
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