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Competition Reports
Competition Reports

Written by Admin    Friday, 04 January 2019 07:40    PDF Print
Vasiliki Millousi: 'I'm Full Of Gymnastics'
(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

Three-time Greek Olympian Vasiliki Millousi felt out of her element as a contestant on the television show “Nomads” last year, but the experience made her tougher for gymnastics and life in general.

The 34-year-old Millousi said she was forced to push her physical and mental limits throughout her three-month stint on the show, as she and athletes from various sports faced off in grueling survival contests.

“It was a really unique experience for me, because I was used to being an athlete,” she said. “My life includes healthy food and healthy living, and everything was different there — no food, no power. And with no power you had to compete every day.”

Millousi, who announced her retirement in Doha, said overcoming the taxing challenges of “Nomads” empowered her. “Afterwards I was a really stronger person, and it helps me for gymnastics, too,” she said. “It helped me psychologically to see competition like a game, and to enjoy it more. I’m full of gymnastics. It’s my life and I love it.”

This story appears in the January/February 2019 issue of International Gymnast.

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Written by Admin    Friday, 28 December 2018 08:49    PDF Print
Ri Se Gwang: 'It's The Spirit That I Will Be The Champion'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Perhaps signaling a new level of comfort and openness with international media, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Ri Se Gwang spoke cheerfully through an equally friendly interpreter on the strategy that helped him win his third vault title at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

“I had no special thing,” said the 33-year-old Ri with a wry smile. “I was only focusing on my execution, to complete both vaults successfully. Every element I execute is not an easy one. They are very difficult, but I had full confidence that I could execute these difficult elements easily.”

Ri, the 2016 Rio Olympic vault champion, trounced the field in D-scores alone; his eponymous pair of vaults each carried a D-score of 6.0, whereas the highest D-score of any other finalist was 5.6. Ri said inventing and successfully performing such skills is easy, considering his internal drive.

“It’s the spirit that I will be the champion of the world,” he said.

Ri also won the gold on vault at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, China, and the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Stories From Doha” (11 of them) will appear in the January/February 2019 issue on International Gymnast.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Admin    Wednesday, 26 December 2018 07:36    PDF Print
Tjasa Kysselef: 'Every Result Makes Me Want More'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

For Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysselef, 14th place on vault in qualifications at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, was a personal triumph.

“I’m aware of my start values so I know I can’t get into the final,” said Kysselef, who won five vault medals at World or Challenge Cup meets earlier in the year. “This is the best World Championships result of my career. I’m so proud of myself because I have some issues, like injuries, that are an obstacle for me because of pain. So I have struggled a lot. I did all-around, which I couldn’t imagine I could do, and on vault I did an amazing personal result.”

The 25-year-old Kysselef said performances such as those she managed in Doha remind her of why she continues, and drive her toward higher D-scores and further challenges.

“If you stand in the same place all the time, you don’t want to do it anymore if something doesn’t push you on,” she said. “Every result that I make, and especially this one, makes me want more. So I want to do more twists and even better vaults. Gymnastics is my home, so this is what’s pushing me on. I have people around me that want the best for me and always tell me I’m too good to quit. But it’s in me. I have this inside, so I think that’s enough.”

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by dwight normile    Friday, 14 December 2018 10:21    PDF Print
Artur Dalaloyan: 'I Can't Believe It Yet'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

There were so many critical points in the men’s all-around final at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The first was the tie between the defending champion from 2017 Worlds in Montreal, Xiao Ruoteng of China, and Russian Artur Dalaloyan (87.598). Dalaloyan, 22, won with the five highest E-scores.

Said Dalaloyan: “I can’t believe it yet. I need to to probably go to my hotel, take a deep breath and realize that yes, I won this championship.”

Dalaloyan was the first Russian to win a world all-around title since Nikolai Kryukov won the title at the 1999 Worlds in Tianjin, China. Kryukov previously had coached Dalaloyan on the junior national team.

The next critical turn of events had to do with Ukrainian Oleg Vernyayev, who after three events (rings, vault and parallel bars), had a massive 1.532 lead over Xiao. But on high bar, he went the wrong way on a Takemoto and touched down on his dismount, a double-twisting double layout.

The final blow hit Sam Mikulak deep in his gut. The five-time U.S. champion was on fire through five events, and could have claimed a medal, but on high bar he caught too close on a Kolman, which required a severely piked giant to get over the top. The next trick sealed his fate, which dropped him to fifth place.

“Having my grip slip on a Tkatchev-half was not the way I would ever thought this to go down,” he said.

Said Russian Nitika Nagornyy, who placed third, “Simply, Sam Mikulak made a mistake and gave me a chance, and I took advantage of it. …If I was fourth, I don’t know what I would have done—maybe run back to Russia by foot.”

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Dalaloyan. Kryukov was one of the coaches who guided him through his tumultuous career.

“I remember how he was in my youth team, and how I took him to the Japanese Junior International,” Kryukov said. “I remember saying to him, ‘Look what they are doing, the Chinese and Japanese gymnasts. Look, this is possible! But he still couldn’t believe in himself.”

The lack of confidence resulted in inconsistent performances, and he went through a rebellious period in his teens that finally resulted the 15-year-old being expelled from the national team for disciplinary reasons.

“I really understood a simple thing: I need gymnastics,” Dalaloyan said. “I did not do things the way professional athletes should do. When you are 18 or 19 years old, it is difficult to lock yourself in the gym and only train. I wanted to have fun, dance with girls, go for walks and much more.”

Dalaloyan was not selected for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Two years later he won the golds in the all-around and on floor, the vault silver and the bronze on parallel bars.

That’s quite a turnaround.

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Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 12 December 2018 08:01    PDF Print
Sweden's Castles: 'I've Tried Not To Overthink It'
(8 votes, average 4.38 out of 5)

A series of flashbacks from the 2018 World Championships in Doha.

English-born Swedish gymnast Jessica Castles enjoyed a homecoming of sorts in Doha.

Castles, the daughter of a Swedish mother and an English father, began her gymnastics career at age 3 in Doha. She lived and trained there for nine years before moving back to England at age 12. Her father continues to reside there, where he works in the construction industry.

“I’m here mainly to get the experience, and try to perform my routines as best I can,” Castles said. “I’ve tried not to think about it too much, or overthink it..”

The 16-year-old Castles said the choice to pursue Swedish representation, based on her dual citizenship, came with relative ease.

“I didn’t really struggle with it that much, because I’ve always felt quite Swedish,” said Castles, who finished 47th all-around in qualifications in Doha. “My mother has always kept Swedish traditions in our family.”

IG’s John Crumlish was chief editor/reporter for the News Service at the 2018 World Gymnastics Championships.

Castles is featured as the center poster in the November 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine; read complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships in the December 2018 issue.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 


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