The Russian National Championships are in full swing, with the first day of competition in the books. The all-around and team qualifications took place today in Penza, where World and Olympic gold medalist Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) walked away with her fourth national title. Mustafina scored a 59.566, nearly a point and a half higher than her fellow Moscow teammate in the silver position, Alla Sosnitskaya (58.067). 2012 Olympian Anastasia Grishina (56.467) rounded out the podium in bronze for a Moscow sweep of the medals.
Mustafina had the highest scores on balance beam and floor. Maintaining her reputation as the reigning world champion on beam, she delivered a solid beam set earning her a 15.4, the highest beam score of the year at any of the major international events. Mustafina earned a deduction on bars for hitting her feet on the mat, which took her out of the top three on what is usually her best event.
Sosnitskaya is a second year senior, and has not represented Russia on the world stage. She had a solid meet, hitting four for four routines. Her best event is floor, where she had the second highest score of the competition with a 14.833.
There were high hopes in the Russian camp that Grishina would really shine at this competition. While she managed to get on to the podium, her performance was not one that gives any confidence that 2014 will be a stronger year for her than she has shown in the past. Grishina has long been viewed as a talented gymnast who could really help round out Russia’s all-arounders for serious medal contention on the world stage. She has not yet been able to deliver that kind of performance, and many are hoping that this will be her year.
One of the most anticipated aspect of the championships was Olympic silver medalist Viktoria Komova’s return to competition after a year and a half absence. Komova competed on three events. Her best event was no surprise, scoring 14.900 on bars which put her as the third highest score on the event. She competed a simple and low valued vault, did not compete on floor, and had a rough beam routine earning only an 11.6.
Surprising everyone, World and Olympic team medalist Ksenia Afanasyeva decided to compete at the last moment to help her team qualify. She came out with the second highest vault score despite heavily taped ankles due to her lingering ankle injury. World and Olympic teammate Tatiana Nabieva, and reigning Russian National Champion was also a surprise in the competition as she had declared her retirement from gymnastics over social media at the end of 2013.
Other notable routines included Russia’s vaulting specialist 2012 Olympian Maria Paseka, who had the highest vault score of the competition, scoring a 15.033. First year senior Daria Spiridonova put up the highest bar’s score with a 15.133, while 2013 World team member Anna Rodionova came away with the second highest score at 15.06. Second year senior Polina Fedorova scored the second highest of the day on beam with a 14.500.
Tune in to Russian gymnastics on their website at sportgymrus.ru, where the remainder of the competition will be livestreamed. Available videos from today’s competition are linked or shown below.
Aliya Mustafina 59.566 (3 14.733 9 14.333 1 15.400 1 15.100)
Alla Sosnitskaya 58.067 (4 14.700 6 14.467 4 14.067 2 14.833)
Anastasia Grishina 156.467 (10 13.867 11 13.900 3 14.400 3 14.300)
Top Scores on:
Maria Paseka: 15.033
Ksenia Afanasyeva: 14.933
Aliya Mustafina: 14.733
Daria Spiridonova: 15.133
Anna Rodionova: 15.067 (routine not available, but here she is a few weeks ago at Cottbus)
Viktoria Komova: 14.900
Aliya Mustafina: 15.400
Polina Fedorova: 14.500