(image from ProSport)

Yesterday was the day we found out how the “nominative list” looks like. In other words since yesterday we have started to make predictions, calculations and to develop strategies for the team finals. What can be more “fascinating” i dare say... you have a team of 7, cut it to 6 (well it’s already cut in the nominative list but they can modify that whenever they want) and then “all” there’s left is to calculate which three gymnasts can obtain the highest marks for each apparatus. This sophisticated process involves making assessments on the gymnasts' chances to make faultless routines at a given moment (three-four weeks from now) and your personal taste in general.

I always make an excel table and I write on each column the apparatuses then I add three names under each, then I add the marks, the total per apparatus and then the total for the entire team and I get a fabulous result, something that my team has never seen under this code of points. And I’m satisfied. After a few minutes I realize that I wasn’t thinking clearly: how can I put Cerasela Patrascu as a certainty for the beam? She fell during the EF at the Nationals and at the last meet she wasn’t even among the top three Romanians. I say to myself: this team is not good. I have to calculate again! I do it, make many changes in the team, add the marks, the total and SURPRISE!! I GET THE SAME RESULT.

I will probably do this once in a couple of days until the worlds and I will never finalize my predictions. It must be really hard to be the head coach of a team. Well, at least they have the advantage to see the gymnasts every day while we will only see them at the podium training or even worse, during the qualifications.

All I can say is that I hope Bellu doesn’t do it like I do (AS IF I could compare myself to Bellu HAHAHA)!


and more videos: beam from Gymboost

Ana Porgras, Raluca Haidu and Cerasela Patrascu: does this sound like a high scoring beam rotation?
Raluca Haidu, with her pretty form and choreo, still has a lot of wobbles... the 8.95 she got for execution is too high.

or watch here.

As I have previously said, Cerasela Patrascu looks like a good option: she has good execution and consistency, the things Bellu likes most.

More videos can be found on Gymboost's channel.

Finally! Some videos from Schaffhausen

Videos from this week-end's meet have been uploaded, on JoeMueVid Youtube channel. So far most of them of the German girls but we have the Uneven Bars rotation by the Romanians.

This is Raluca Haidu - she really looks much better than last week:

or here

This is Gabi Dragoi who hit the high bar with her face but was able to continue the routine (!!). It looks bad, but what a champion!

or watch here

Ana Porgras:

or here

This is Cerasela Patrascu's routine. She looks stronger and stronger:

or watch here


Switzerland, Romania and Germany friendly meet results

via Romanian Gymnastics Federation.
Pitic came second in the All Around! that is really good for her! She probably did better on beam that at the nationals. Can't wait to see some videos!
1) Romania - 229.550
2) Germany - 214.400
3) Switzerland - 210.300

All Around:
1) Ana Porgras - 58.2
2) Raluca Haidu - 57.4
3) Diana Chelaru - 57.05
4) Ariella Kaeslin - 56.35
5) Cerasela Patrascu - 54.45

Bellu's statement:

It was a friendly competition after which we can not draw many conclusions yet. However, I noticed that the girls have won in the chapters ability and amplitude, and I refer especially to Ana Porgras, Diana Chelaru and Sandra Izbasa. At the same time, it can say that, although we did not have failures, things are not yet too bright. Obviously, in terms of competition here - for example, the vaulting table was not very good so mistakes are excusable, but we have to take into account that the arbitration standards are rigorous and very high everywhere. We will also bear in mind that the errors have been related to the finesse of execution: position, angle of the body and others. However, the marks here may be a milestone, but not a really significant one. It is also important that the girls have finished the competition in perfect health condition, and that generally it is more obvious where we can do improvements. In conclusion, we took part in a useful competition, which will give us some benchmarks, but our team knows very well that the World Championships in Rotterdam will be something else.


Romanian National Team for the 2010 Worlds announced

Here are the seven that are going to be sent to Rotterdam:
Sandra Izbasa
Ana Porgras
Raluca Haidu
Cerasela Patrascu
Gabriela Dragoi
Diana Chelaru
Amelia Racea

The question remains: who's going to be the alternate. Bellu is the most excellent strategist out there... can't wait to find out who will he pick.
I would choose Gabriela Dragoi, I don't think she is ready yet.


Amelia Racea left out of the "friendly" meet with Switzerland and Germany

The 6 Romanian gymnasts that will compete this week-end are:
Sandra Izbasa
Ana Porgras
Diana Chelaru
Raluca Haidu
Cerasela Patrascu
Gabriela Dragoi

The coaches that will go with them: Octavian Bellu, Lucian Sandu, Lili Cosma and Marius Vintila

So... Amelia (along with Diana Trenca and Dana Andrei) stays home with Mariana Bitang. I bet she will work a bit more on balance beam these days.

Some pretty pictures from last week-end's meet

These lovely pics were taken by my friend Luiza.
Ksenia Semenova

Ksenia Afanasyeva

Alyia Mustafina

Anna Myzdrikova

Tanya Nabieva

Anna Dementyeva

the Spanish team

the two Swedish girls

time to chillax

...and yep! everybody got a little something in the end


Romanian Nationals 2010: Ana Porgras falls twice off the UB but wins BB

These are the medalists:

1) Sandra Izbasa
2) Raluca Haidu
3) Cerasela Patrascu
*the gymnasts were allowed to do both vaults with the same type of flight in the second phase
This is Cerasela's Yurchenko 1 1/2.

or watch it here

Uneven Bars
1) Amelia Racea
2) Cerasela Patrascu
3) Dana Andrei

Here is Amelia's set:

or watch it here

Balance Beam
1) Ana Porgras
2) Sandra Izbasa
3) Gabriela Dragoi

here is Gabriela's beam set:

or watch it on youtube

1) Sandra Izbasa
2) Ana Porgras
3) Diana Chelaru
This is Ana's routine:

You can also watch it here

A few conclusions after watching some of the routines, the slight state of irritation of Mariana Bitang after the contest and Ana Porgras's interview.
- Amelia Racea has ups and downs but her presence is kind of vital for the team; she can do a double twisting Yurchenko and has already won on UB twice over Ana Porgras
- Ana Porgras is getting better and better but she is a very fragile gymnast. They said she was going to take things slowly and she will only compete on only 2 events at the Worlds. This will not happen. She keeps getting better scores on floor than Diana Chelaru (a supposed specialist), so she will do floor on the TF, there's no doubt MOREOVER she keeps earning higher scores than Amelia Racea all around, so she will be used all around as well. It might be really sad to watch because at this pace she is not going to make it to 2011 Worlds
- Cerasela Patrascu is the third most valuable member of the team, after Ana Porgras and Sandra Izbasa (Yurchenko 1 1/2, High UB scores, high beam scores) - she has three solid events
- Gabriela Dragoi is starting to show some good balance beam work, I've heard her UB is not bad either (when she manages to stay on the apparatus)
- Diana Chelaru is stressed out; Octavian Bellu has an eye on her all the time and she feels the pressure. In today's VT finals she got a zero for her second vault because she did not get her steps right and she touched the table without actually attempting the jump. The uneven bars set looked really nasty, she fell off the balance beam. Her only decent routine was on floor.
- Raluca Haidu is still shaky: uneven bars is not good, vault seems to be getting better (well, at least unlike Amelia she is still doing the double twisting Yurchenko in competition), balance beam is quite terrible... I didn't see her floor though... maybe by focusing on vault and floor she can make it to the worlds
- Sandra Izbasa: her vault (Yurchenko 1 1/2) looks steady, the beam set (out of 5.7) is not pretty (and I'm being polite)- but we might just see her doing it in the TF at the worlds because she is very confident in everything she does. She actually said in an interview today that she feels comfortable on all the events, not only on floor. Her floor seems to be getting better and better as well so I'm expecting it to peak at the worlds.

This is how things look now, a month before the Worlds. We mustn't forget that these girls have started to train at full capacity, injury free, only a month ago so things can change slightly by then...

The Russians are almost ready for the Worlds

The friendly meet between Russia, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden was, as expected, dominated by the Russians. They have started the competition on floor. I must confess that they have really stolen the show from the beginning: great choices of music for all six athletes, beautiful choreography, topped by almost perfect execution. The most surprising of all was Ksenia Afanasyeva's routine who will probably be one of the three they will choose for the team finals.

or you can watch it here, on LuisaGym's channel

their floor routines were marked as follows:
Ksenia Semenova: 13.75 (5.3)
Ksenia Afanasyeva: 14.45 (5.9)
Anna Myzdrikova: 13.95 (5.6)
Alyia Mustafina: 14.55 (5.9)
Anna Dementyeva: 14.05 (5.7)
Tanya Nabieva: 14.2 (5.5)

The vault was a so and so rotation for the Russians: the great Amanar thrown by Mustafina, was overshadowed by Nabyieva's failure (she was quite upset afterwards). Anna Myzdrikova looks good but the others seem to have a bit of landing problems.

Ksenia Semenova 14.1 (5.3)
Anna Myzdrikova 13.85 (5.6)
Alyia Mustafina 15.9 (6.5)
Ksenia Afansyeva 14.6 (5.8)
Tatiana Nabieva 13.45 (5.8)
Anna Dementyeva 13.55 (5)

or you can watch it here.

On Uneven Bars, they looked ready, scarily so... Although during the warm-up Mustafina failed to catch the bar after one of the realase, she did not have any problems afterwards and she earned a 15.45 (well deserved). And when we thought we had seen everything, Nabieva showed up. It was a beautiful, spectacular routine and she was finally pleased.

or watch it here.
Ksenia Semenova: 14.35 (6)
Ksenia Afanasyeva: 14.35 (5.7)
E Kurbatova: 5.9 (14.8)
Alyia Mustafina: 15.45 (6.7)
Anna Dementyeva: 14.3 (5.7)
Tanya Nabieva: 15.8 (6.8)

The last rotation was the balance beam. That did NOT go well. I think that only Mustafina and Semenova managed to stay on the beam, but not without problems either. Mustafina's routine, out of a 5.6 earned her a 14.2 but I personally think the mark was a bit high. So were all the other marks on beam, as I saying there were some major errors: Ksenia Afanasyeva fell on her standing arabian, Anna Dementyeva fell after the layout combo, Tanya Nabyeva fell on a spin, which made Ekaterina Kurbatova haugh, it was funny to see the mean Khorkina type of laughter at her teammate's mishap... she was trying to hide it though probably not to distract Nabyeva attention.

or you can watch it here.

Ksenia Semenova: 14.5 (5.8)
Ksenia Afanasyeva: 14.1 (6)
Anna Myzdrikova: 13.6 (5.3)
Alyia Mustafina: 14.2 (5.6)
Anna Dementyeva: 13.95 (6.1)
Tanya Nabieva: 13.2 (5.7)

A few words about each gymnast:
Mustafina must be the next all around World champion. She has the diffculty, the execution and the grace we want any all around champion to have. She only has one weaker event, the balance beam, but I would say that the Amanar vault makes up for any minor problems she may encounter on beam.

Ksenia Afanasyeva is really in great shape. She looks good on all the events so I bet she will be the second all around contender for the Russians at the 2010 Worlds. She has managed to regain all that beautiful floor work and is trying to upgrade her difficulty on beam.

Ksenia Semenova looks very well although she does not have same level of difficulty as her teammates I mentioned before. She has good execution on all the events but compared to 2007-2008 her uneven bars set looks much more laboured. I think we should "forgive" her for that because she is now almost as tall and heavy as Anna Myzdrykova, it must be really difficult to re-adjust, especially on bars.

Tanya Nabieva: seems to be on a constant fight with herself and the apparatuses and the rest of the world. And she has almost managed to win everything. I seriously doubt she will land the Amanar in time for the Worlds, but hey, she has had the same war with the uneven bars as well and we saw what happened.

Anna Dementyeva: the baby of the team, will probably be their contender for a medal on beam this year. She has great lines, nice execution, everything she does looks flawless and the BB mishap really looked a more of a lack of confidence than a real problem.

Anna Myzdrikova: she has managed to regain almost all the 2009 floor magic, her pretty decent vault may land her a spot in the team but probably we will only see her in qualifications.

Ekaterina Kurbatova: we did not see much of her actually... she will probably be only an alternate at the worlds. Yesterday she looked like the grounded kid, a bit bitter, trying not to smile too much, although there was not much pressure on her and she could have just relaxed.

All in all, watching the Russians competing is the perfect Saturday afternoon for any gymnastics fan. I want to thank my friend Luiza for having me with her there. She has recoded almost all the routines of the Russians so watch out for those on her youtube channel.

Netherlands vs Russia vs Spain vs Sweden -

It was a wonderful meet for the Russians. More stories and clips coming up...

or you can watch it here.


Local newspapers love the gymnasts

or so it seems, by the number of articles about the upcoming Nationals. These pictures are from Arena Banateana . If you visit the newspaper's website, you can hear Sandra Izbasa encouraging people to come and watch them this weekend.

Sandra - reading Prosport (is it her interview?)

Ana Porgras (very pretty)

Raluca, Amelia and Larisa -
I really want to see those girls hitting some beam routines asap

there are many more pictures


First training in Resita

(Ana Porgras, Diana Trenca, Diana Chelaru and probably Cerasela Patrascu)
(Cerasela Patrascu)
These pictures have been published in the on line issue of the newspaper Adevarul de Resita. For more pictures, you can visit their website.

Romanian National team: 9 seniors plus one Olympic hope

The Romanian gymnasts are now in Resita where they are preparing for the Nationals that will take place in the end of this week.


Romania will have this year no less than 9 healthy seniors competing at the Nationals. I have found a very nice pictures on a local radio's website with the current Romanian Olympic team:

Sandra Izbasa
Gabriela Dragoi
Cerasela Patrascu
Dana Andrei
Amelia Racea
Ana Porgras
Diana Trenca
Diana Chelaru
Larisa Iordache
Raluca Haidu

What amazes me the most, besides the number of healthy seniors that will compete at the nationals this year (compared to Cera, Gabi, Ana, Ana, Diana - last year) is the fact that Larisa Iordache is now training with the national team. At 14, Larisa is one of the most promising gymnasts for 2012. Bellu has always said he is interested in what happens in 2012 more than in what happens now... he seem to be acting accordingly.


Mariana Bitang on Ghent results, Amelia Racea and Rotterdam

(picture from GSP)

With only a month before the World Championships in Rotterdam, the Romanias had a more than decent contest at Ghent world cup, being present on the podium on all four events and winning two of them. Moreover, the three medallist were all coming back after injury.

Mariana Bitang declared, according to an article I found in GSP "The girls did their job but there is still a lot to work on". About the only Romanian present in Ghent who did not win a medal, Amelia Racea, she said "She's going through a difficult period, which is puberty. She has sudden growth spurts and, with this, her center of gravity".

The article also mentions that Before the World Championships, Romanian gymnasts will compete in the National Championships (17-19 September) and will also have a friendly meeting with Germany(and Switzerland). The two technicians (Bellu and Bitang) have chosen, for their first major competition since the return to the national team, not to be present in the competition area, so they will remain in the stands. The girls will have on their side the coaches they have known for a longer period. Although they considered not to go to The Netherlands, in the end they decided to join the team. "Probably we will go, but we will remain in the shadow" said Mariana Bitang. This was what happened in Ghent as well when Octavian Bellu was there but Lucian Sandu assisted the gymnasts during the competition.

(picture from GSP)

The entire article in Gazeta Sporturilor.

Sandra Izbasa - A new beginning

(Mediafax via ProSport)
This is the translation of an interview by Mirela Basescu, from Prosport:

How was the first competition?
With many emotions (laugs). It was a contest in which I took it over from the beginning, a new start.

Did you expect to win?
Not really. Anybody wants to win, naturally, but I knew it was going to be difficult. I went there to see where I stand. This first place is only a small step in a stage of verification.

How did you get the strength to come back?
From everybody's support, from the trust and the desire to show that such an injury is not always the end.

Do you still think about the injury?
I try to get over it because it was a difficult time. The most difficult part has passed but I still have a lot of work to do.

Mr. Bellu went to Ghent with you...
Yes, he encouraged us all the time, gave us instructions, tried, through his words, to scatter the nerves.

Will you present the same floor routine at the Worlds as well?
Most of it yes. Only by then I will have had more repetitions, so more confidence.

What's next?
The Nationals in Resita where I will compete on three events: vault, beam and floor.

You can read the original article here.


Sandra Izbasa - presents new floor routine - Ghent Qualifications

final score : 13.9 (with a D score of 5.8)
or watch here.

Ana Porgras Beam - Ghent World Cup qualifications

score: 14.825 (with a D score of 6.1)
or watch it here.


Ana Porgras - Gent Qualifications

14.35 (D score of 6.1)
you can also watch it here.


and... even more about Ghent and the Romanian national team(via Prosport)

Octavian Bellu is pleased for now: Sandra Izbasa is fully recovered and the gymnasts are physically ok, in the past 2-3 weeks all of them have been training... "they are working at different levels of their potential, but it's good that they are training". And this is interesting too: "I am more interested in what they do in two years, I'm less concerned about the present".
The coach also said that he wants to know more about each gymnast and he needs contests for that: "I need to know if they are nervous, if they are scared, how they get motivated, how they act under pressure. All girls are great at training but the competition is something else".

The team for the worlds will be decided after the next three contests:
Ghent World Cup
Romanian Nationals
Friendly meet with Germany and Switzerland

Read the entire article in ProSport.

Cera and Gabi really mean business

(image from Prosport)
wooooow Cerasela Patrascu and Gabi Dragoi are training 4 apparatuses. This is what Octavian Bellu says in this press release (on Fangymnastics via Romanian Gymnastics Federation).
I would have never hoped to see them in such a good shape, training on all four events.

I've read before that for a gymnast to make the team, the essential condition was for her to be able to contribute on at least three events. The next step is to see Gabi and Cera competing at Euros in Berlin, if not at the upcoming Worlds. I know that their D scores are not as good as the other's for the moment... but they are both good at uneven bars and balance beam which are the best rewarded events, both of them being capable of routines with high difficulty (around 6.0) . The team that could use two gymnasts like that.


Raluca Haidu Montage

The quality is not very good but Pitic's little face is always worth watching. Nice job!

By Gr33nkiw
You can also watch it on

Ghent World Cup - complete list of participants

There are many many reasons to watch the world cup this week-end. Among the most interesting presences besides the Romanians Amelia Racea, Ana Porgras, Sandra Izbasa, Diana Chelaru we will also see Ariella Kaeslin, Yang Yilin, Jessica Lopez, Wu Liufang etc.

The complete list of participants can be found here.


Will Sui Lu be the 2010 BB World Champion?

She has the right D score and great execution:

At the latest Chinese Nationals Sui Lu has won 3 gold medals: AA, BB and FX.
(from International Gymnast website): "I think my performance was normal, because these two events (balance beam and floor exercise) have always been my strengths," said Sui, an alternate to China's 2008 Olympic team. "The goal was for these two golds — only the all-around victory was a surprise."
This is her routine from the Floor finals:

You may also watch the mentioned routines and many more on youtube, on rkwy1212's channel