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By Caroline.

Caroline who is a free-lance writer for the French Gymnastics Federation magazine attended the 2001 Massilia Cup. Here is her report. (The photos of the meet are coming soon!)
(Special thanks to Melanie Green (U.k.) who did the translation).

The Massilia Gym Cup: A replay of the world championships.
Less than one month after the 2001 World Championships at Ghent, it was the turn of the city of Marseille to play host to some of the world's finest gymnasts. The event? The henceforth famous Massilia Gym Cup. This, the thirtieth occasion of the Cup, lived up to all its promise.
Octavian Belu is a big fan of the Massilia Gym Cup; for eight years he's been attending the event, each time with the best Romanian gymnasts of the day. This year Andreea Raducan, the team leader, was accompanied by her two next-in-command, Sabina Cojocar and Silvia Stroescu - young, blossoming talents still in the shadow of the older Raducan, but for how long? If the audiences remain enthralled, their fellow competitors are slightly less so, as the top spots at this event are invariably occupied by the Romanians. The 2001 competition was no exception, and it was only logical that Romania successfully defended their title with a lead of almost one point over their nearest rivals, the Russians.
It was a Russian team that was never able to threaten the Romanian automatons, despite the talent of its best representative Ludmila Ezhova (silver medallist on beam at Ghent), the charisma of the fair-haired Kovalyova and the enthusiasm of the young Pavlova.
The Dutch girls, already fourth in this event last year, have bridged the gap and are now competing with the best. After a shaky start on beam they recovered remarkably well, and finished in bronze medal position ahead of Brazil, who were the revelation of the Ghent World Championships. Led by the dynamic Daniele Hypolito, the real darling of the Marseille public, the Brazilian girls had no margin for error. In a team competition with three gymnasts per team, where only the two best scores count, they were in fact deprived of the support of the third gymnast who had broken her foot in training.
Just slotting into fifth medal position was France's senior team, a very young group which included the two girls from St. Etienne, Maud Collas and Nelly Soupe, who managed an excellent 12th and 15th place respectively. Also included was the Marseille girl Mélanie Nunes (18th). Falling victim to falls on bars and other, numerous little mistakes, the French girls tried their hardest but did not have high enough start values to pose a threat to the leading contenders. They did however beat an out-of-form Ukrainian team that performed well beneath the level we have been accustomed to seeing from them in previous years. Although they were finalists in Ghent, Tatiana Yarosh (counting a fall on floor and on bars) and Alona Kvasha did not produce noteworthy performances.
The Belgian team from the Charleroi club were strengthened by the experience of their team captain and most mature gymnast, Caroline Debras (23), and deservedly finished in seventh place. For these young girls Marseille was a step on the road to the semi-finals of the European Cup for clubs, for which they were invited two weeks later.

Page (c) Caroline and Bernard for   Kostiskal
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