Sunday, March 12, 2017

Maile O’Keefe, United States, Win International Gymnix Junior Cup

The US Team: Maile O'Keefe, Gabby Perea, Emma Malabuyo and Sunisa Lee. Photograph: Kim Zmeskal/Instagram

The 2017 International Gymnix Junior Cup took place on Saturday, 11 March, in Montreal, Canada. This year the Cup hosted five nations, the United States, Italy, Russia, Japan and Canada, which all brought some of their best junior athletes.

The United States won the team competition (166.603), ahead of Italy (164.083) and Russia (157.407). Fourth was Canada (153.721), fifth Japan (152.537), sixth East Canada (147.438) and seventh West Canada (143.469). The Italian team particularly impressed, topping the USA both on vault (44.001 to 43.801) and the uneven bars (41.868 to 41.501). The US won the other two events, beam (39.967) and floor (41.334).

The all around title was won by the 2016 U.S. junior champion Maile O’Keefe on her international debut. O’Keefe scored an excellent 55.934. She posted the highest score on beam, a huge 14.600, and tied for best score on floor (13.800). She also scored a very good 14.634 on vault for a double-twisting Yurchenko, and a 12.900 on bars.

Second was U.S. Gabby Perea, with an overall score of 55.700. Perea won bars (14.400) and tied for best score on floor with O’Keefe (13.800). She also scored a 14.400 on vault and a 13.100 on beam.

Third was Italy’s new sensation Giorgia Villa (55.502), who posted the second best score on vault (14.734) and the third highest score on beam (13.343). She was fifth both on bars (13.767) and floor (13.567).

Fourth was U.S. Emma Malabuyo (54.135), followed by three Italians: Asia D’Amato (53.934), Eliza Iorio (53.902) and Asia’s twin Alice D’Amato (53.668). The first Russian, Daria Belousova, was only eighth, with a score of 53.268.

The vault title was won by U.S. Emma Malabuyo (14.767), followed by Giorgia Villa (14.734) and Asia D’Amato (14.667).

Bars was won U.S. Gabby Perea (14.400), ahead of Italy’s Eliza Iorio (14.234) and Canada’s Ana Padurariu (14.134).

First on beam was Maile O’Keefe (14.600), followed by Japan’s Soyoka Hanawa (13.934) and Italy’s Giorgia Villa (13.434).

Finally, Gabby Perea and Maile O’Keefe tied for first place on floor (13.800). Third was their teammate Emma Malabuyo (13.734).

If the United States proved to still have plenty of depth and talent in their junior ranks, Italy was the most impressive team. Italy is currently investing a lot of money in its junior gymnasts for Tokyo 2020, and the first results are already here. The young Italians recently spent  a couple of weeks training in the United States at Texas Dreams with Kim Zmeskal, an experience that has clearly increased their depth and confidence. The young Russian team did not have the best of days, but the gymnasts looked stunning in training, especially on beam. Overall, the level of the competition was outstanding and we look forward to seeing more of these juniors very soon!

Full results here, courtesy of FloGymnastics.

By Talitha Ilacqua
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Maile O’Keefe, United States, Win International Gymnix Junior Cup Reviewed by Talitha Ilacqua on 8:09 AM Rating: 5 The US Team: Maile O'Keefe, Gabby Perea, Emma Malabuyo and Sunisa Lee. Photograph: Kim Zmeskal/Instagram The 2017 International G...

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