Angelina Melnikova is the 2017 European champion on floor. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

The 2017 Russian Cup was held from 21 to 27 August in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Olympian Angelina Melnikova, who sat second after the qualification round, won the all around title, with an impressive 57.650. Second was European bars silver medallist Elena Eremina, who, after a spectacular qualification round (57.900), had trouble on vault and settled for silver with a 56.100. Third was a resurgent Maria Kharenkova with a 55.475.

Angelina Melnikova had an impressive competition, scoring over 14 on all apparatuses. She scored a good 14.325 for a solid DTY with a hop back, a 14.075 on beam for a slightly shaky routine, an impressive but inflated 14.425 on floor (she stepped out of bounds on her double Arabian and fell out of her Memmel), and an excellent 14.825 on bars for a routine with only minor mistakes.

Behind her, Elena Eremina went for her DTY, but fell on it for lack of height and block for a poor 12.850. The rest of the competition, however, was solid. Eremina posted a 14.700 on bars, a 14.300 on beam and a 14.250 on floor. Both Melnikova and Eremina seem to be locks for the Russian World team and have the potential to challenge for an all around medal.

Maria Kharenkova came back from the dead with a fantastic performance, especially on beam, where she posted the highest score of the competition, a 15.150. She also excelled on floor with a 14.125. She however struggled a bit on the other apparatuses. She scored a 13.650 on vault for only a FTY, and a 12.550 on bars, where she had form errors throughout and very short handstands. I doubt her beam set is worthy of a spot on the Russian team, but who knows, Valentina Rodionenko is unpredictable as weather…

Fourth was Eleonora Afanasyeva with a 53.850, fifth Viktoria Trykina with a 53.600, sixth Polina Fedorova with a 53.150, seventh was Uliana Perebinosova with a 52.300 and only eighth was Russian champion Natalia Kapitonova with a 51.675.

Angelina Melnikova, Gymnovosti reports, was pleased with her performance, and, she argued, she feels she is regaining her confidence after a tough beginning of season. ‘For me, this win is very important because the previous competitions I had [this year] didn’t go very well for me’, said Melnikova. ‘There was this feeling sometimes that I just couldn’t get my things together, but here, at the Russian Cup, I started feeling confident in myself, that I can focus, can perform the elements and can fight. And if I go to Worlds, I will feel more confident there.’

Concerning her chances of a medal at the World championships, Melnikova said she will do her best: ‘I’m not thinking in advance whether I’ll be able to win or not. There’s always a chance and I need to fight for it, the goal is always the same and I have to strive for it.’

Melnikova and Eremina were both named to the provisional World championships team, alongside Olympian Maria Paseka and bars specialist Anastasia Ilyankova. They all seem to be still making a strong case for themselves. Melnikova and Eremina are both 2017 European medallists (Melnikova won gold on floor and Eremina silver on bars) and went one-two in the all around yesterday; Paseka won bronze on vault at the Universiade, but proved to have an even higher potential, scoring a 15.000 for her Amanar in qualifications; and Ilyankova qualified for the uneven bars final at the Russian Cup with a good 14.700. Will Maria Kharenkova or Daria Spiridonova be able to upset the roster?

Article by Talitha Ilacqua


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