This week saw a world cup event in Doha, Qatar. The field wasn’t exactly A-list: China were the only top WAG team in attendance. With Euros being less than a week away, most European athletes chose to stay away and concentrate on that, even though Qatar would not be much of a journey for many of them. And the US didn’t go. Nor did Lauren Mitchell. I had thought it was illegal to have a world cup event without her in attendance, but perhaps not.
There’s been a lot of snidery about the quality of the field, but the whingers are missing the point. The Arab world is not exactly a hotbed of gymnastics, and far too many women from the region are still denied the opportunity to participate in sports. As such, any sporting event in the region which allows female participation is unequivocally something to celebrate. If said event happens to include women from local countries and they actually qualify for some finals too, even better!
(On a tangent, South Africa got banned from the Olympics for racial apartheid. Saudi Arabia, which practices gender apartheid and has NEVER SENT EVEN ONE WOMAN TO THE OLYMPICS has no sanction taken against it. But anyway, I digress…)
This competition offered an opportunity to see lesser known gymnasts take the stage. We saw veteran Hypolito, who I love because she’s even older than I am. There were appearances by China’s up and coming new seniors, Christine Lee tentatively venturing back out onto the international scene and we saw Egyptian WAGs qualify for 3 of the 4 finals. What’s not to like?
The best thing there imho was Christine Lee’s beam.
She fell twice, but I don’t give a fuck. Flairs, aerial cartwheel to loso, a running punch front with no hesitation before it and even some choreography! The falls were on a barani, which is stupidly hard, and a double tuck dismount that she took right into the rafters, so we can forgive her for that.
Egyptian WAGs in vault finals:
Here at Stoi!, we give shout outs to our sisters who are participating in high level sports in societies where it isn’t the norm for women to do that. It’s unquestionably harder for them than for gymnasts who train at WOGA, Lilleshall or Deva. So please place this piked Tsuk and FTY in the proper context.
Zou Kai’s filthy new routine.
You had all better get used to seeing this, because it’s got a 7.7 D score and he’s going to bore his way to yet another world title. He’s a really nice man- donated one of his Olympic gold medals to relief efforts after the terrible Chinese earthquake. But being a great human being does not make you a watchable gymnast.
New senior Yao Jinnan of China, fresh from a strong Cottbus showing, also did well:
Her tumbling isn’t the most difficult, but the height and control she shows is excellent. Funky legs aside, I just loved the stuck triple twist mount. This one surely has to be a candidate for the worlds team.
Tan Sixin, who charmed us all with her stunning performance to take the beam title at YOG last year, was also there. She fell again. I’m not including that.
Stoi! readers, are there any you think I should’ve included?