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By Bernard.

More about the 2002 French gymnasts.
The today French female senior team seems atypical. Composed by 'old' gymnasts like Magali Hars -22 years old!- , strong girls like Delphine Regease who belatedly entered the gym elite level -in fact in 1998 -, girls recovering from injuries like Marlene Peron and Marion Mourier. Marlene was the first hope of the team two years ago, she performed a gorgeous 1999 year, national steady results and good junior international meets ones too. Today, we don't know if she can confirm such level with the senior team.
Magali Hars joined the French team at the retirement age for other gymnasts! Strange history, the today gymnastics allows the oldest girls to stay in gymnastics (Khorkina for instance), and of course others can get their best level some years after the 'usual' age. Good gymnast from the city of Dunkerque, she participated in the French cups as her last competition and the national coach Yves Kieffer (famous coach from the Insep center in paris, coach of Isabelle Séverino fom 93 to 97) asked her to joined the Insep center and the French team!
In February 2002 was managed a meet between France, Switzerland and Netherlands in the city of Saint-Etienne. The team of Monique Nuijten, Renske Endel, Gabriella Wammes, Laura Van Leeuwen and Rikst Valentijn won the senior meet. The senior French team finished 2nd with the following team: Estelle Courivaud, Mélanie Nunes, Aurélie hédouin, Clélia Coutzac and Nelly Soupe.
The young French girls won the junior meet: Coralie Chacon, Marine Debauve, Magali Carosso, Gaelle Richard and Emilie Lepennec.
Four of the girls composing the team who defeated The Netherlands in Saint-Etienne got the fourth first places of the National Championships held in Metz in March, confirming their good level.
1st was Emilie Lepennec with 35.050 pts, Gaelle Richard finished 2nd with 34.275 pts (both girls are from the U.S. Creteil gym Club), Third was Marine Debauve from Dijon (33.675 pts), Coralie Chacon 4th is coming from the Saint-Giniez Gym club of Marseille. The fifth team member of the Saint-Etienne meet, Magali Carosso got the 6th place. The first two gymnasts seem to own a real international potential.
The challenge for Kieffer and the national coaches is to create the right conditions to allow the good juniors to become good seniors. The French girls often failed on this point. He did with Séverino and we are sure he can do it with the today juniors. The future of France is in the young girls hands. The transition team of Magali, Delphine, Estelle, ... is useful to allow these young gymnasts to be ready to become a new Isabelle, a new Elvire or a new Ludivine.
The today gymnasts who are going to lead the team on - after 2004 - are Estelle Courivaud and Mélanie Nunes.
Who is Mélanie Nunes?
Born: august 19th 1686. 1m63 and 49 kg.
She began gymnastics at the age of 6.
First gym club: Alsatia Thann, today at the famous Saint-Giniez of Marseille (the club of Canqueteau, Gely, Soulié...).
Coaches: Nelu Pop (he coached Ludivine Furnon!), and Véronique Legras. Her choreographer is the famous Adriana Pop. So a good and talented set of coaches for mélanie!
Best apparatus: Vault, she was the national champion in 2001 on this apparatus.

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