May 20, 2015Following the Delegation Registration Process held between the organising committee of the European Games (BEGOC) and each National Olympic Committee (NOC), the gymnasts participating in Baku are known
Six gymnastics disciplines will compete at the inaugural European Games next month in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. It is a historic event : the first continental Games for Europe and the first time the 4 Olympic gymnastics disciplines (men’s artistic gymnastics, women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline) will combine with 2 non-Olympic disciplines (Acrobatic and Aerobic Gymnastics), held in the same venue, the National Gymnastics Arena, at the same time.
In Women’s Artistic Gymnastics the field is headlined by newly-crowned European all-around champion Giulia Steingruber (SUI) and will see the return to competition of Russian stars Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova. Also on the roster are Great Britain’s Rebecca Tunney, France’s Marine Brevet, Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz, Greece’s Vasiliki Millousi, The Netherlands’ Celine Van Gerner, Poland’s Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Romania’s Laura Jurca and Diana Bulimar, among many others.
Several big names are on the list for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics! 2015 European Champions Oleg Verniaiev (UKR, all-around and parallel bars), Marijo Moznik (CRO, high bar) and Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE, rings) will compete against Fabian Hambuechen (GER), who opted out of the European Championships to focus on this competition, and Azerbaijan’s medal hope Oleg Stepko. Russia sends a strong team of all-arounders: 2013 European Champion and 2015 runner-up David Belyavskiy, Nikolay Kuksenkov and Nikita Ignatyev. Great Britain sends a young and very talented team consisting of junior European Champions Frank Baines, Brinn Bevan and Nile Wilson. Competing without a team is Israel’s Alexander Shatilov, always a strong challenger on floor and high bar.
Rhythmic gymnastics sees the world’s best gymnasts take to the carpet, highlighted by the participation of European and World Champion Yana Kudryavtseva (RUS) and her teammate Margarita Mamun. Their way challengers will be the Belarussian duo of Melitina Staniouta and Ekaterina Halkina, Ukraine’s Ganna Rizatdinova, home star Marina Durunda (AZE) and Israel’s Neta Rivkin. For the group competition top teams like Russia, Belarus, Italy, Israel and Ukraine will fight for the gold.
In Acrobatic Gymnastics the top three teams from last year’s World Championships - Russia, Great Britain and Belgium - will be represented. Russia’s World Champion in mixed pair Marina Chernova will participate with her new partner Georgy Pataraya, being challenged by Ukraine’s Yelizaveta Vasylyga and Oleksandr Shpyn and Belgium’s Yana Vastavel and Solano Cassamajor, who were fourth at the last World Championships. Fresh from their participation in the final of Belgium’s Got Talent, the women’s group of Ineke Van Schoor, Julie Van Gelder and Kaat Dumarey, bronze medalists at the 2014 Worlds, is now focusing on Baku and will battle with the groups of Russia and Great Britain for the title.
In Aerobic Gymnastics the countries to beat will be Romania, Spain and France, where Aerobics has a long tradition. They are joined by teams from Azerbaijan, Italy, Russia, Ukraine etc. Romania is the current World Champion in mixed pair and groups, while France is vice-World Champion in groups. Russia’s World bronze medalists Dukhik Dzhanazian and Denis Solovev are on the roster of both the mixed pair and mixed group competition. The Spanish duo of Vicente Lli and Sara Moreno will also compete in both categories.
In Trampoline the gymnasts will compete in the Olympic individual competition and the non-Olympic synchro. Olympic silver medalist Dmitry Ushakov (RUS) will highlight the competition together with 2014 European Champions Uladzislau Hancharou and Hanna Harchonak (BLR), 2013 World synchro Champion and 2014 European silver medalist Kat Driscoll (GBR) and Tatsiana Piatrenia, fifth place at the 2012 Olympics. In synchro 2014 European Champion Yana Pavlova (RUS) will compete, partnering with Anna Kornetskaya, while silver medalists Maryna Kyiko and Nataliia Moskvina (UKR) and bronze medalists Marine Jurbert and Joëlle Vallez (FRA) are also on the roster. Men’s synchro Champion Mikhail Melnik (RUS) will team up with Ushakov. Runners-up Lukasz Tomaszewski and Bartlomiej Hes (POL) and bronze medalists Simon Progi and Nicholas Schori (SUI) guarantee a tough competition!
As usual the participants’ list is subject to last-minute changes!