Romania’s gymnasts returned from the European Championship held in Turkey with 14 medals, 8 of which gold
Once a great power in European and world competitions, Romanian gymnastics has seen a decline in recent years. This is why the joy brought by Romanian athletes to gymnastics fans late last week can be translated into the hope that Romanian gymnasts will return to top places in international competitions, as it had been the case ever since 1976, when Nadia Comăneci got the first 10 in the history of this sport, at the Montreal Olympics.
This past weekend for the first time in 6 years, the national women’s gymnastics team went to the podium at the 33rd edition of the European Championship.
On Saturday in Mersin, Turkey, the team made up of Larisa Iordache, Daniela Trică, Antonia Duţă, Silviana Sfiringu and Ioana Stănciulescu won the silver. First came Ukraine, and third--Hungary.
The competition continued on Sunday with the apparatus finals for both juniors and seniors, and medals continued to come. The leader of the senior team, Larisa Iordache (24) won the gold in the beam and floor finals and the silver in vault. Her performance is particularly outstanding as it comes after a 3-year break, during which the athlete underwent surgery. In an Instagram post at the end of the competition in Turkey, the several-times European and world champion Larisa Iordache said “it is never too late to follow your dream… all you need is an impulse for the strength within you to surface.” And we should not forget the beam final, where Silviana Sfiringu won the silver as well.
Adding to the seniors’ performance are the medals won by the juniors: 6 gold medals in all the events (team, all-around and apparatus), 2 silver medals for Maria Ceplinschi in the all-around and floor final, and one bronze for Andreea Preda on beam.
But the rising star at the Mersin championship was junior Ana Bărbosu, who won 6 gold medals—with the team, in the all-around and all the apparatus finals, a record for Romania’s participation in the European Gymnastics Championships.
However, we should keep in mind that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes from only 14 countries attended this 33rd edition, with European gymnastics powerhouses like Russia, France, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands skipping this year’s championship. (tr. A.M. Popescu)