Artistic gymnastics is the sports discipline where, throughout the
years, Romanian athletes won the greatest number of medals. We recall Romanian gymnasts stepped onto the first step of the podium 25 times in Olympic
competitions. They won the silver medals 20 times and bronze, 26. Romanian gymnastics'
most recent Olympic medals were won in the 2012 London Olympics. Back
then Sandra Isbasa walked away with gold in the vault event, Catalina Ponor also
walked home with gold in the floor event, while the team stepped onto the third
step of the podium.
Notwithstanding, Romanian gymnastics has seen a downturn in
recent years. The men's and women's national teams wasted the opportunity to
qualify to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and to the 2020 edition of the Olympic
Games in Tokyo. 2020 was also the year when the most recent notable results
occurred at the European Championships held in Mersin, Turkey, but back then Europe's
strongest teams did not take part in the competition.
Pundits provided an explanation for Romanian gymnastics'
poor run in recent years, in that the grassroots selection procedure in the case
of children and juniors has seen a dramatic decrease. In a bid to stave off the
phenomenon, Romanian women's gymnastics' most distinguished head-coaches, Octavian
Bellu and Mariana Bitang, initiated the program themed Our country is in
dire need of champions. The program got the support of Romanian Gymnastics
Federation. Also, it received funding from a great power supply company,
therefore results were quick to appear, also at international
level. Three of the gymnasts who belong to the generation that was selected and
funded via the aforementioned program these days have represented Romania at
the European Youth's Olympic Festival, hosted by the city of Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. They were Amalia Puflea,
Amalia Ghigoarță and Sabrina Voinea. The Romanian delegation's medal tally in
Baska Bystrica was made of four medals: gold in the nations' competition, in
the apparatus pieces final and in the floor and beam events, both medals being won Amalia
Puflea. It was also Puflea who won silver in the all-around event.
Puflea, Ghigoarță and Voinea did not have that much time to enjoy the results in Slovakia. Their intense training continues as next week the European
Juniors' and Seniors' Championships start in Munich, Germany. According to the
Romanian Gymnastics Federation's webpage, the award-winning gymnasts in Banska Bystrica will compete in the juniors' events. The
competition begins on August 9, with the seniors' floor training, while the
juniors' training session is scheduled on August 10. The competition draws to a
close on Sunday, August 14, with the apparatus pieces finals, in the juniors' as
well as in the seniors' version of the championships. (EN)